How to Choose a Nursing Program in Stockton Illinois
Locating the right nursing college near Stockton IL may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Stockton IL medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing 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 advanced 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 provide primary or specialty care services in Stockton IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Stockton IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 typically a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Stockton IL or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stockton IL. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stockton IL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Stockton IL home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and 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 probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Stockton IL and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Stockton 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) as well as 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 Stockton IL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Stockton 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Stockton IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Stockton IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right RN College near Stockton IL
Choosing the right registered nursing school is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Stockton IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but additionally what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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