How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Stronghurst Illinois
Choosing the right nursing college near Stronghurst IL may feel like a challenging project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and measure the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are various key additional aspects to look into 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 healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Stronghurst IL medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 Stronghurst IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Stronghurst IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to earn 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 typically a 2 year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 generally a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Stronghurst IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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 change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stronghurst IL. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stronghurst IL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with 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.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Stronghurst IL home, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school relative to Stronghurst IL and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Stronghurst IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Stronghurst IL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Stronghurst 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 colleges 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 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 good reputation within the Stronghurst IL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 environment. Essentially all Stronghurst IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Stronghurst IL
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Stronghurst IL.
Why Did You Choose to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must organize some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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