How to Find the Right Nursing College in Oak Lawn Illinois
Selecting the right nursing college in Oak Lawn IL may feel like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently 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 essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your residence is most likely not the most reliable way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system in Oak Lawn IL. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses in Oak Lawn IL with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in Oak Lawn IL.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Oak Lawn IL medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Oak Lawn IL 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 wish 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Oak Lawn IL board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be Oak Lawn IL approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 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 own requirements. So it’s crucial 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 tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Oak Lawn IL to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local Oak Lawn IL healthcare facility. 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 school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Oak Lawn IL and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Oak Lawn IL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with 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 school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Oak Lawn 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Oak Lawn IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Oak Lawn IL clinical setting. Almost 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 also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Course in Oak Lawn IL
Picking the right registered nursing school is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional 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 right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Oak Lawn IL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a RN, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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