How to Pick a Nursing School near Nikiski Alaska
Choosing the best nursing program near Nikiski AK may feel like a complex project, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is closest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing school. There are a number of key additional aspects to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Nikiski AK medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Nikiski AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Nikiski AK students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges in the Nikiski AK area and throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Nikiski AK, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Nikiski AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN programs 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 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 superb reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Nikiski AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Nikiski AK?
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 76.2 square miles (197 km2), of which, 69.6 square miles (180 km2) of it is land and 6.6 square miles (17 km2) of it (8.66%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,327 people, 1,514 households, and 1,130 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 62.2 people per square mile (24.0/km²). There were 1,766 housing units at an average density of 25.4/sq mi (9.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 87.15% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 7.56% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.51% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 3.12% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,514 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.31.
Pick the Right RN School near Nikiski AK
Choosing the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Nikiski AK.
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