How to Select a Nursing School in Westville Illinois
Searching for the best nursing college near Westville IL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least expensive school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Westville IL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Westville IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Westville 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 as little as 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 available.
- 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 job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four 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 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 typically a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Westville IL or concentrate 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Westville IL. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice 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 complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 course of study properly 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Westville IL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in 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 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 prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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 is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Westville IL home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Westville IL and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
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. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Westville IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Westville IL area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Westville 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Westville IL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Westville IL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Westville IL
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 nurse in Westville IL.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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