How to Choose a Nursing School in Thornton Illinois
Finding the right nursing school near Thornton IL may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various essential additional considerations to look into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Thornton IL medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Thornton IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in Thornton 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 advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by Illinois community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 advance 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Thornton 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) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Thornton IL. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Thornton IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with 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 Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Illinois. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Thornton IL home, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Thornton IL along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Thornton IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Thornton IL area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Thornton IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Thornton IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Thornton IL area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Thornton IL
Picking the right registered nursing degree program is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you pick an RN school 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 shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Thornton IL.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Some Other Cities in Illinois