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Nursing School Degree Programs Juneau Alaska

How to Find the Best Nursing Course near Juneau AK

Juneau AK Registered Nurse with Doctor and PatientFinding the right nursing college near Juneau AK may seem like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you don't know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the roles of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Juneau AK RN taking blood pressure of patient

Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, namely Juneau AK hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:

  • Administering medications
  • Observing patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Instructing patients and their families
  • Managing health records and charts

Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.

Nursing Degrees Available

Juneau Alaska Nurse assisting surgeon

There are several degree options to choose from to become a nurse. And to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Juneau Alaska area.

  • Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
  • Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

When a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.

Nursing Online Degrees

Juneau AK woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Juneau AK students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.

Why Choose Nursing as a Career?

Nurses are an indispensable component of a Juneau AK medical team, and for a large number of patients, their primary care providers. A career in nursing opens doors to many opportunities, including research, health care education and specialty areas of practice. Nurses go into the profession for several reasons, among the most notable are its practical and personal rewards. Nurses provide personal, one-on-one care to patients. Most patients in a medical facility or home care setting spend more time with nurses than with physicians. Nurses commonly choose the profession out of a passion to administer to the needs of patients, including in situations of short-term treatment of illness and extended care of chronic ailments. This humanistic side of the health profession, rather than the research or analytical related aspects, is attractive to many who elect to pursue a career in nursing. Nurses have a wide range of applicable skills and can choose from a number of work settings, such as home care facilities, doctor's offices, health clinics, community centers and hospitals. Also, nurses can advance into a number of specialties, including addictions, critical care, neonatology and genetics. Although many nurses deliver direct patient care, others opt to be educators, policy advisers and pharmaceutical representatives.

Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs

what to ask Juneau AK nursing degree collegesOnce you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Alaska for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Juneau AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Juneau AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Juneau AK area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Juneau AK Nursing School

Juneau AK pediatric nurse holding newbornPicking the ideal nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must think about when picking a nursing college. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community.  By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Juneau AK.