Known as the last frontier, Alaska offers boundless opportunities for those who live and work there. This is especially true for registered nurses, since there is currently a great need for nursing professionals in the 49th state.
Alaska’s health care industry has grown steadily during the past 20 years, and that trend is expected to continue. Continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the state's expansion of Medicaid coverage to more low-income Alaskans in 2015 is contributing to the growing need for providers. Even in Alaska’s smallest rural communities, where jobs are often scarce, health care offers year-round employment opportunities.1
The current shortage is largely driven by the aging baby boomer population which is expected to increase by more than 125 percent by 2034.1 In addition, the state’s hospitals and clinics are continually expanding and new technologies are being adopted, meaning more qualified professionals are needed.
What do registered nurses (RNs) do? Briefly, they provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and give advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.
As an RN, your typical duties may include the following:
• Record patients' medical histories and symptoms
• Give patients medicines and treatments
• Set up plans for patient care or contribute to existing plans
• Observe patients and record the observations
• Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals
• Operate and monitor medical equipment
• Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results
• Teach patients and their families how to manage their illnesses or injuries
• Explain what to do at home after treatment
Registered nurses sometimes work to promote general health by educating the public on warning signs and symptoms of disease. They might also run health screenings or immunization clinics, blood drives, or other outreach programs. Some nurses are nursing educators or have other responsibilities in which they do not work directly with patients, but still must have an active registered nurse license.
RNs work in hospitals, physicians' offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. They are also employed in correctional facilities, schools, summer camps, and with the military.
How do you become an RN? You can take one of three education paths: a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses must also become licensed by passing a national licensing examination.
In all nursing education programs, students take courses in nursing, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. All programs include supervised clinical experience in hospital departments such as pediatrics, psychiatry, maternity, and surgery.
The nursing school
in Anchorage was developed to help meet the growing demand for registered nurses in Alaska. The 19-month program is offered on a year-round schedule and is intended to prepare students to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCELX)
for Registered Nurses. In fact, our first two graduating classes had a 100% pass rate for the NCLEX.
Alaska provides great opportunities for a rewarding career in a setting that combines modern-age conveniences with the freedom and excitement of living on the edge of a vast, unspoiled wilderness. As Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage offers arts, culture, recreation, adventure, and sophistication, along with relatively mild winters and beautiful summers. If you’re interested in being a registered nurse, Alaska may be just the place for you!