How to Find the Right Nursing School near Chicago Illinois
Locating the best nursing program near Chicago IL may feel like a complex endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your residence is undoubtedly not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are several crucial additional things to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Chicago IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an 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.
Nursing Degree Options
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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 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 Chicago IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive 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 past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 usually a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, 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 attests 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 attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Chicago IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every 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 additionally those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Chicago IL or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines 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 decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Chicago IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Chicago 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 programs you are considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Chicago IL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Chicago IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Chicago IL students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Chicago IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Chicago 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 (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ ( listen), locally also /-ˈkɔː-/), officially the City of Chicago, on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan in Illinois, is the third most populous city in the United States after New York and Los Angeles. As of the 2017 census-estimate, Chicago has a population of 2,716,450, and is the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the entire Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the US. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The metropolitan area has nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the U.S. Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper, and considered the most influential architectural city of the 20th century. In finance, the city saw the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade; which today is the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures.
Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900 Chicago was one of the five largest cities in the world. During this period, Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, which included creating new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Positioned along Lake Michigan, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, and the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index. Chicago has the fourth-largest gross metropolitan product in the world — generating about $670.5 billion according to September 2017 estimates — ranking it after the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ranking ahead of number five London and number six Paris. Chicago has one of the world's largest and most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Enroll in the Right Nursing Degree near Chicago IL
Selecting the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various variables that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Chicago IL.
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