How to Select a Nursing School in Mackinaw Illinois
Choosing the right nursing program near Mackinaw IL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your residence is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are several important additional considerations to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Mackinaw IL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Mackinaw IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in Mackinaw IL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Mackinaw IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Mackinaw IL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Mackinaw IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Mackinaw IL home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Mackinaw IL and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Mackinaw IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 essential that the Mackinaw IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Mackinaw 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Mackinaw IL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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. Almost all Mackinaw IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN College near Mackinaw IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Mackinaw IL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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