How to Select a Nursing College near Cortland Illinois
Searching for the right nursing college near Cortland IL may feel like a formidable project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to check out before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree choices that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Cortland IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically 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 Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Cortland IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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 get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Cortland IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Cortland IL or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. 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 pick compares 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Cortland IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 Cortland 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Cortland IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Cortland IL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many Cortland IL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very 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 hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Cortland IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Cortland 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.
Cortland is an incorporated town in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,270 at the 2010 census, up from 2,066 in 2000. Because of its status as an incorporated town, Cortland has adopted the slogan, "The Third Largest Town in Illinois". Only the towns of Cicero and Normal are larger, in terms of population.
According to the 2010 census, Cortland has a total area of 3.638 square miles (9.42 km2), of which 3.63 square miles (9.40 km2) (or 99.78%) is land and 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.22%) is water. The town is located immediately east of the city of DeKalb and just south of the city of Sycamore.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,066 people, 701 households, and 553 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,176.3 people per square mile (453.2/km²). There were 723 housing units at an average density of 411.6 per square mile (158.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.11% White, 1.21% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.97% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.40% of the population.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Cortland IL
Picking the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Cortland IL.
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