How to Choose a Nursing Program near Chicago Ridge Illinois
Locating the best nursing college near Chicago Ridge IL may feel like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least costly college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Chicago Ridge IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, 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 basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Chicago Ridge IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It readies 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 later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at 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 may 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 two 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.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are principally two academic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 attests that the course of study 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 other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at Chicago Ridge IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Chicago Ridge IL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided in Chicago Ridge IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers 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. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Chicago Ridge 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 schools you are looking at 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 Chicago Ridge IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with Chicago Ridge IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many Chicago Ridge IL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like 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, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Chicago Ridge IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Chicago Ridge 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.
Chicago Ridge, Illinois
Incorporated on October 17, 1914, the village has an area of approximately 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) and is located in the southwestern portion of Cook County, Illinois, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Chicago.
The path of Stony Creek arcs through the village. It is not only an old creek but also the remnants of a feeder canal for the Illinois & Michigan Canal that reached from the Little Calumet River westward through the Saganash-kee Slough. Although the work on the feeder canal brought some settlers in the 1840s, German and Dutch farmers arrived after the 1850s.
Settlement increased with the coming of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad in 1882. Later, the Wabash would be crossed in the middle of Chicago Ridge by the Chicago and Calumet Terminal Railway, which also established rail yards in the village.
Choose the Right Nursing Degree near Chicago Ridge IL
Picking the right registered nursing school is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Chicago Ridge IL.
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