Programs to Become an RN in Alaska
The choice to enter the field of medicine and become a nurse is admirable, challenging and rewarding. Providing patients with the best care possible is what nursing is all about, whether care is rendered in a nursing home, hospital, assisted care facility or home care.
The Alaska Board of Nursing (ABON) regulates the field of nursing including the licensing of nurses. ABON approves nursing programs and sets policies to assure patients receive the best care possible utilizing state of the art methods, techniques, technology and medicines. Nurses are required to be licensed in order to practice nursing and after completing a nursing program approved by the ABON and take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
RNs are required to complete a nursing program approved by the ABON and leading to an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and there is only one school in the state that offers such nursing programs, but the school has formed partnerships with 13 other schools to offer nursing programs in what is called Distance Learning.
The difference between earning an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree is a nurse with a Bachelor’s degree will find more nursing opportunities, slightly better pay and positions with more responsibility. Some nurses who earn an Associate’s degree will take the NCLEX-RN and then continue their studies towards a Bachelor’s degree while working as a nurse. Another possible route to becoming an RN is to complete a nursing program in licensed practical nursing (LPN), take the NCLEX-PN and work as an LPN while pursuing an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and working toward becoming an RN.
After the educational component is completed, the graduate submits an application to the ABON to take the NCLEX-RN. The application includes a criminal background check and a fingerprint card. The graduate is also required to register with the administrator of the exam, Pearson VUE. The nursing board will review the application and when approved will issue the student an authorization to test (ATT). With the ATT, the graduate is free to schedule the exam. When the exam is passed, the ABON will issue the graduate an RN license number. The graduate can apply for a temporary license that will be valid for 6 months. This will allow the grad to work while in the exam process. If the grad fails the exam, the temporary license automatically expires.
Alaska RN licenses expire on 30 November on even years. RNs are required to renew their license every two years and must meet one of three requirements for renewal. RNs must complete 30 hours of professional nursing activities, 30 contact hours or 320 hours of nursing employment.
The average salary for an RN in Alaska is $82,080. The starting salary for an entry level RN is $48,000 and the high end of the RN salary scale is $110,000. The actual starting salary and salary offers for experienced RNs will vary according to geographic location, level of responsibility, area of specialty, years of experience and level of education.
RNs will find employment in a variety of facilities including nursing homes, hospitals, occupational health facilities, visiting nurse and hospice organizations and clinics. Nurses perform a wide variety of duties including dispensing medication, establishing patient care plans, dressing wounds and changing dressings, monitor vital signs, perform diagnostic tests and track results.
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