How to Select a Nursing Program in Chicago Heights Illinois
Choosing the right nursing college in Chicago Heights IL may feel like a difficult project, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are several essential additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Chicago Heights IL. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to support 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 as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Chicago Heights IL with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Chicago Heights IL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in Chicago Heights IL medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Chicago Heights IL 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 desire to progress 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Chicago Heights IL board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Chicago Heights IL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively 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 earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Chicago Heights IL to make certain that the education 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 might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local Chicago Heights IL healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Chicago Heights IL and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools in Chicago Heights IL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to 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 school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies 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 considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Chicago Heights 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 finish 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Chicago Heights IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Chicago Heights IL clinical environment. Virtually all Illinois nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College in Chicago Heights IL
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Chicago Heights IL.
Why Did You Desire to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a RN, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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