How to Find the Right Nursing College near East Alton Illinois
Selecting the best nursing program near East Alton IL may seem like a formidable endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of essential additional factors to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as East Alton IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to support doctors in the care 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 portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly 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.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available 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 just 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the East Alton IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn 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 previous 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 typically a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are basically two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable 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 another 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.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at East Alton IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near East Alton IL or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in East Alton IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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 specific 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 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. Look at 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. Also, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some East Alton IL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the East Alton IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with East Alton IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many East Alton IL students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 job and household commitments have left you with limited 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 East Alton IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater East Alton 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.
East Alton, Illinois
Like many Riverbend communities, the town dates back to when European settlers came to the area in the early 19th century. And it wasn’t always East Alton — the community was known as Emerald, Milton Settlement and Alton Junction. Alton Junction was also known as Wann Junction, famous locally for being the site of a horrific rail disaster.
According to the 2010 census, East Alton has a total area of 5.564 square miles (14.41 km2), of which 5.33 square miles (13.80 km2) (or 95.79%) is land and 0.234 square miles (0.61 km2) (or 4.21%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,830 people, 2,965 households, and 1,787 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,241.3 people per square mile (479.5/km²). There were 3,171 housing units at an average density of 576.3 per square mile (222.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 96.72% White, 0.94% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
Enroll in the Right Nursing College near East Alton IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in East Alton IL.
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