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Nursing School Degree Programs Juneau Alaska

How to Enroll In the Best RN School near Juneau AK

Juneau AK RN with Physician and PatientSearching for the right nursing college near Juneau AK may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are various important additional factors to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered together with what the jobs of nurses are in our medical care system.

Registered Nurse Job Activities

Juneau AK Nurse taking blood pressure of patient

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

  • Providing medications
  • Monitoring patients
  • Conducting physical examinations
  • Coordinating care
  • Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
  • Informing patients and their families
  • Taking care of health records and charts

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

Nursing Degree Options

Juneau Alaska Registered Nurse assisting surgeon

There is more than one degree option offered to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must attend an accredited school and program. A nursing student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief 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 generally a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
  • Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 usually a 2 year program after attaining 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 attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.

Online Nursing Degrees

Juneau AK woman attending nursing school onlineAttending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many Juneau AK students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask Nursing Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus near Juneau AK or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Alaska for non-accredited schools.
  • Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm 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 attain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with Juneau AK area hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Enroll in the Best Juneau AK Nursing School

Juneau Alaska RN holding medical chartChoosing the ideal nursing program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when selecting a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a nursing college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community.  By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Juneau AK.