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Why to Pursue a BSN in Alaska: RN to BSN Programs in Alaska

As a professional nurse, you can enter the field with an ADN, and there will be healthcare institutions that will be very glad to have you. There are still good reasons to consider taking your education to the next level, though. Why earn a BSN? BSN nurses are better prepared to practice semi-autonomously in areas like public and community health. The geography of Alaska requires nurses who can practice with both a high level of skill and a high level of independence.

The need for baccalaureate prepared nurses is not limited to just these frontier areas, however. Healthcare organizations have argued that the number of BSN level nurses needs to be increased in order to meet patient care needs across the nation. The AACN has cited a number of studies that have found better patient outcomes at facilities with more BSN nurses -- including fewer deaths and failures to rescue. There is a need for nurses at all levels of practice, but their roles shouldn’t be quite the same. AONE (the American Organization of Nurse Executives) and NOADN (the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing) joined forces with the AACN back in the 90’s to put together standards for differentiated practice.

Much of the nursing coursework in your BSN completion program is designed to help you become better at direct patient care. You can expect classes in health assessment, nursing therapeutics, and the handling of complex health problems. You can also expect a foundation in informatics, nursing research, and management. You may have the opportunity to take nursing electives in areas that will inform your practice. There will likely be additional general education requirements, though you may have the opportunity to test out of some.

BSN Career Mobility

The baccalaureate degree can take you outside the hospital or doctor’s office and into the larger community. In Alaska, public health nurses must hold a BSN degree. This can be the ticket to an exciting and challenging career. Some public health nurses work in a centralized location, while others travel to the far reaches of the state. At the entry level, public health nurses provide direct care to individuals and families and also provide health education. Duties may include diagnosing and assessing pregnant women, identifying children who might have handicapping conditions, and carrying out various screening tests. At the most advanced levels, the nurse may manage a health center, analyzing data, carrying out audits, and identifying unmet needs.

Some of the state’s more prestigious clinical facilities require the BSN as well. The state has one magnet hospital, Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Magnet facilities are known for their selectivity in hiring nurses. They’re not the only ones, though. The Alaska Native Health Consortium requires a baccalaureate for most positions. Opportunities include inpatient positions, traveling nursing positions, and lower level management positions such as clinical nurse manager.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

If you live in a rural part of Alaska, this shouldn’t be an obstacle to completing your BSN. RN to BSN programs are offered through distance learning. If you enroll through the University of Alaska, you will be required to take three classes with clinical requirements. However, you may put in your clinical hours in your own community.

A program with clinical hours can be expected to offer the most comprehensive education, but if you have difficulty fitting this requirement into your schedule, you may want to look into online programs offered through out-of-state institutions. You’ll want to make sure that your school is accredited and well-respected. There are accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as one year. If you want to stretch your education out over a longer period of time, this is an option as well.

RN to BSN Programs in Alaska

University of Alaska - Anchorage uaa.alaska.edu/schoolofnursing/registeredprofessionalnurse.cfm

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