How to Enroll In a Nursing School in Jacksonville Illinois
Locating the right nursing school near Jacksonville IL may seem like a complicated endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their determination exclusively on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many important additional things to investigate before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the role of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Jacksonville IL healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. 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 in Jacksonville IL, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Jacksonville IL. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by Illinois community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Illinois 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 might want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Jacksonville IL or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Jacksonville IL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should 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 core curriculum properly 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 obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Jacksonville IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Illinois. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Jacksonville IL home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for some 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 may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Jacksonville IL and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Jacksonville 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Jacksonville IL area 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. Check online rating companies 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, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Jacksonville 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Jacksonville IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Jacksonville IL area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Jacksonville IL
Deciding on the right registered nursing program is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Jacksonville IL.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
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