How to Choose a Nursing School near Darien Illinois
Choosing the right nursing college near Darien 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 already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Selecting the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is no doubt not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to look into before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Darien IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Darien IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 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 may desire 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 achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Illinois approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at Darien IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus near Darien IL or online, you can use the following pointers 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 essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Darien 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 needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Darien 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 colleges you are looking at 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 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 Darien IL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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. Ask if the schools have associations with Darien IL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some Darien IL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Darien IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Darien 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.
The first people to settle in Darien came from New England via the Erie Canal and Great Lakes. Among the first to arrive was the Andres Neiman family. They settled along an old stagecoach line in 1835. Andres served as Justice of the Peace, Town Clerk, Assessor, Dog Catcher, and County Commissioner. He also established the Andres Inn, near what is currently the intersection of Lemont Road and I-55; the inn served the 15 stagecoaches that traveled the stagecoach line, and included a tavern and a post office. Andres named the area "Cass."
Andres and Father Beggs built the First Cass Church, which was a log cabin design. The church's cemetery, located west of where the church stood (west of Bailey Road and north of Frontage Road), can still be seen today. The church was also used as a school house.
Elisha and Eliza Smart settled in Darien in 1838 with their 10 children. Elisha joined the Gold Rush and left for California, returning seven years later as a very rich man. He bought more land and donated it, on which a new Cass Church was built in 1870.
Enroll in the Right Nursing School near Darien IL
Choosing the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Darien IL.
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