How to Pick a Nursing College in Woodridge Illinois
Locating the best nursing college near Woodridge IL may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are many important additional factors to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Woodridge IL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Woodridge IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse in Woodridge IL. And 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 advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 may wish 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Woodridge IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Woodridge IL. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. 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. 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Woodridge IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the education 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 Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified 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 Woodridge IL home, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many 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 household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Woodridge IL along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Woodridge IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Woodridge IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Woodridge 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 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 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 Woodridge IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Woodridge IL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN School near Woodridge IL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Woodridge IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing candidates is "What made you select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
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