How to Pick a Nursing College in Crystal Lake Illinois
Searching for the best nursing program near Crystal Lake IL may seem like a complex undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is local to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Crystal Lake IL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Crystal Lake IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Crystal Lake IL. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Illinois community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Crystal Lake 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Crystal Lake IL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to 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 type 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 attests that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Crystal Lake 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 required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree in Illinois. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Crystal Lake IL home, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Crystal Lake IL and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. 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 other programs.
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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Crystal Lake IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Crystal Lake IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Crystal Lake IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Crystal Lake IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Crystal Lake IL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Crystal Lake IL
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Crystal Lake IL.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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