How to Select a Nursing School in Crystal Lake Iowa
Choosing the best nursing college near Crystal Lake IA may seem like a difficult endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly program or the one that is nearest to your house is probably not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Crystal Lake IA medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level 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 administer primary or specialty care services in Crystal Lake IA, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Crystal Lake IA. 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 as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Iowa community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Crystal Lake IA or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Crystal Lake IA. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn 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, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Iowa approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately 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 have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Crystal Lake IA area. The length of the training program 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Iowa to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Iowa. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online in your Crystal Lake IA home, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Crystal Lake IA and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Crystal Lake IA.
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 certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Crystal Lake IA area school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Iowa school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Crystal Lake IA 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 schools you are considering 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 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 Crystal Lake IA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Crystal Lake IA area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Crystal Lake IA
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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 licensed registered nurse in Crystal Lake IA.
Why Did You Want to Become a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Iowa