How to Select a Nursing College in Atlanta Illinois
Searching for the right nursing program near Atlanta IL may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your home is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Atlanta IL medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Atlanta IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Atlanta IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire 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 two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Atlanta IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Atlanta IL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Atlanta IL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Atlanta IL home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. 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 manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Atlanta IL and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Atlanta IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together 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 imperative that the Atlanta IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Atlanta IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Atlanta IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Atlanta 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 also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN School near Atlanta IL
Selecting the right registered nursing college is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Atlanta IL.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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