How to Choose a Nursing School near Edwards Illinois
Selecting the best nursing program near Edwards IL may feel like a complicated endeavor, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each college you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the best way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional aspects to check into before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, such as Edwards IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to help doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing 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 accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
There is more than one degree option offered 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 as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Edwards IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally 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 afterwards achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might want to advance 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 obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice 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 providing a higher credential and more comprehensive 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Edwards IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Edwards IL or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Edwards IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Edwards 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Edwards IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Edwards IL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for some Edwards IL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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. And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Edwards IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Edwards 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.
Edwards County, Illinois
Edwards County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,721. Its county seat is Albion. It is located in the southern portion known locally as "Little Egypt".
Edwards County is subdivided into "Road Districts", rather than "Townships" as in most Illinois counties. Pursuant to the Land Ordinance of 1785, the Northwest Territory (including Illinois) was surveyed and mostly organized into townships that are six miles square; but Edwards County was settled prior to that survey, and its pre-existing Road Districts do not generally correspond with the survey's townships.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 223 square miles (580 km2), of which 222 square miles (570 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (0.1%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in Illinois by area.
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Edwards IL
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Edwards IL.
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