How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Ottawa Illinois
Searching for the best nursing school near Ottawa IL may seem like a complex undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Ottawa IL medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Ottawa IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Ottawa IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible 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 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 normally a two year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Ottawa IL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Ottawa IL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about one year, 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 option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Ottawa IL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets 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 training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Ottawa IL home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Ottawa IL and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
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 confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Ottawa IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Ottawa IL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Ottawa 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 programs 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 Ottawa IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Ottawa IL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Course near Ottawa IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Ottawa IL.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing 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 interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Illinois