How to Pick a Nursing College near Chatham Illinois
Finding the right nursing college near Chatham IL may feel like a difficult endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the most reliable way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to investigate before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover 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 medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Chatham IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chatham IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice 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 finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, 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 syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Chatham IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Chatham IL or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Chatham IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chatham IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Chatham IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Chatham IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some Chatham IL students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Chatham IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Chatham Illinois area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Chatham is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. It is located 2.8 miles south of Springfield and has a retail trade area that extends into four other municipalities, including Springfield. The population was 11,500 as of the 2010 census and estimated to be 11,946 as of 2012. The village lies along the original alignment of historic U.S. Route 66 (Illinois Route 4).
Chatham is located at 39°40′22″N 89°41′54″W / 39.67278°N 89.69833°W / 39.67278; -89.69833 (39.672899, -89.698385). According to the 2010 census, Chatham has a total area of 5.722 square miles (14.82 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.81 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, the racial makeup of the village was 93.57% White, 2.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.85% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.
Select the Right Nursing College near Chatham IL
Selecting the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Chatham IL.
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