How to Choose a Nursing Program in Plano Illinois
Choosing the best nursing college near Plano IL may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Plano IL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Plano IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Plano IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Plano IL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Plano IL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Plano IL area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Plano IL home, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Plano IL as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Plano IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Plano IL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Plano IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Plano IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Plano IL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN Program near Plano IL
Deciding on the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Plano IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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