How to Choose a Nursing Program near Des Plaines Illinois
Finding the best nursing program near Des Plaines IL may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their determination exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Des Plaines IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent 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
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. 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, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Des Plaines IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies 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 may wish to progress 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 instance 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) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic accreditations offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most 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 Des Plaines IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure 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 certain 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.
Questions to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Des Plaines IL or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Des Plaines IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 Des Plaines 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Des Plaines IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with Des Plaines IL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Enrolling in nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some Des Plaines IL students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Des Plaines IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Des Plaines 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.
Des Plaines, Illinois
Des Plaines /dɪs ˈpleɪnz/ is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 58,364 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Chicago and is located just north of O'Hare International Airport. It is situated on and is named after the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area.
Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (English translation: "River of the Plane Tree") as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane trees. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and '50s. In the 1850s, the land in this area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.
In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul, and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill on the Des Plaines river, where a small business section had grown up. The railroad platted the prospective town of Rand at the site. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, giving the train station the name "Des Plaines". In 1869, the Rand subdivision's name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was then incorporated.
Select the Right Nursing School near Des Plaines IL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Des Plaines IL.
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