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Alaska, AK - RN to BSN Nursing School Programs

RN to BSN degrees in Alaska target currently employed Registered Nurses—usually nurses with an ADN—who want to improve their training while still remaining in their current job. They are unique in that many of them allow RNs to pursue their BSN while still continuing to work through night classes and online degrees. Another benefit is that they allow for advanced placement via NLN Nursing Acceleration Challenge Exams, which test knowledge in nursing processes and skills, medical and surgical processes and knowledge, pediatrics, mental health and maternal newborn care, and place currently working nurses for accelerated education. Essentially, they test current knowledge and skills to determine the educational development of accepted RNs and allow them to move to higher level courses based on previously acquired knowledge. As a result, coursework is targeted at a nurse’s needs and RN to BSNs can be completed in just a year in some cases.

Entry requirements are similar to other nursing school requirements, such as a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. And like an ADN, admission to general studies is required before applying to a nursing school. Once accepted to the respective college of nursing, students take courses in research, leadership, family and community health, community assessment and upper level electives that allow for further specialization of knowledge during an RN to BSN. A diverse array of topics may be studied as well, from upper level abnormal psychology to health law and philosophy of health.

Graduating is based on grades, and a C average is a normal requirement. Upon graduation, many opportunities for career advancement become a possibility. Research and critical thinking skills, a broader scope of knowledge, and further leadership training can lead to both public and private sector research positions and community health programming beyond a hospital or clinical setting. Leadership and management skills offer the opportunity for advancement in current occupational settings as well. With an average Registered Nurse’s salary sitting around $77,000 (according to BLS.gov) in Alaska, this can also mean that graduates of an RSN to BSN program have the opportunity to move to the higher end of the nursing salary scale, which in some cases can reach six figures.

RN With A BSN in Alaska

The longer route to becoming a Registered Nurse in Alaska is through a Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN) program. Although it takes twice as long as an ADN, close to half of RNs hold a BSN. Why? Because a BSN gives a nurse in training time to pursue a wider breadth of topics at a more advanced level and can lead to diverse and interesting career opportunities both within direct care setting such as hospitals, and in the greater community.

The first two years of a BSN are pretty much the same as an ADN. However, in the final two years, courses go beyond the skills and theories learned during the first two years to focus on such specialized topics as community health, elder care, advanced nursing theory, pharmaceutical research and more. During a BSN, students also gain work experience as part of a built-in practicum in a supervised environment. This ensures that they gain hands-on experience as well as technical knowledge while exposing them to different environments so students get a better idea of where they would like to specialize.

In order to gain entry into a BSN program, a student must first enter general studies at their school of choice and take perquisite courses in the arts and sciences. Once prerequisites are complete, students then apply to a nursing program. BSNs typically have fairly high standards for entry—after all, they produce RNs with the highest level of training fresh out of college. Students then take numerous specialized courses which move beyond the technical knowledge required to practice as a nurse and allow students to take their critical thinking skills to the next level, preparing them for a leadership role in a health care setting. They also include a practicum as part of the curriculum, in which students gain real-world nursing experience. Therefore, during a BSN, a prospective nurse gains experience, makes professional connections, and gains a wide variety of in-depth knowledge in areas of their own choosing, which can help to open doors towards a more dynamic career than what is available to ADN equipped Registered Nurses—something worth thinking about when deciding whether to pursue an ADN or a BSN.