How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Riverside Illinois
Searching for the right nursing school near Riverside IL may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Riverside IL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Riverside IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Riverside IL. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Riverside IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Riverside IL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option 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 offering 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 pursue, it should be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some 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 Riverside IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial 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 suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make certain that the education is state approved. 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 Programs
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Riverside IL home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Riverside IL along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, 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 in addition to 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Riverside IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) 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 essential that the Riverside IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Riverside 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 programs you are looking at 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Riverside IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Riverside IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Riverside IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each 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 choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Riverside IL.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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