How to Pick a Nursing Program in Alexander Illinois
Locating the right nursing school near Alexander IL may seem like a difficult undertaking, especially if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many key additional factors to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Alexander IL medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Alexander IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Alexander IL. 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 just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want 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 commonly a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Alexander 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Alexander IL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it needs to be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively 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 obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Alexander IL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Illinois. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online in your Alexander IL home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Alexander IL and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Alexander IL.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Alexander IL area school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Alexander 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Alexander IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all Alexander IL area nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Degree near Alexander IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Alexander IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Some Other Cities in Illinois