How to Choose a Nursing College near Unalaska Alaska
Choosing the best nursing program near Unalaska AK may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regretably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different Unalaska AK medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help 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 as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Unalaska AK area.
- Associates. 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 healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she 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 contact the Alaska board of nursing for any state mandates.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Unalaska AK students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Unalaska AK area and throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans in Unalaska AK, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit 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. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Unalaska 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Unalaska 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Unalaska AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Unalaska AK?
Unalaska (Aleut: Iluulux̂) is the largest city of the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.
The Aleut or Unangan people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it "Ounalashka", meaning "near the peninsula". The regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation. The Russian fur trade reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1, 1759. Natives, Russians and their descendants comprised most of the community's population until the mid-20th century, when the involvement of the United States in World War II led to a large-scale influx of people and construction of buildings all along the strategically located Aleutians.
Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch". It is the largest fisheries port in the U.S. by volume caught. It includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge. Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the city's population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area.
Choose the Right RN Program near Unalaska AK
Choosing the right registered nursing program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Unalaska AK.
More Fabulous Cities in Alaska