How to Choose a Nursing School in New Lenox Illinois
Finding the best nursing school near New Lenox IL may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is no doubt not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are several important additional aspects to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the New Lenox IL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function 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 in addition to where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in New Lenox IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse in New Lenox IL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Illinois community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 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 may wish 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in New Lenox 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in New Lenox IL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, 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 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the New Lenox IL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one 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 instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your New Lenox IL home, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with 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 probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to New Lenox IL along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near New Lenox IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the New Lenox IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local New Lenox 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the New Lenox IL healthcare 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. Virtually all New Lenox IL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near New Lenox IL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in New Lenox IL.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a RN, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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