How to Pick a Nursing College near Decatur Illinois
Selecting the right nursing school near Decatur IL may feel like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their selection exclusively on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly program or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional considerations to check out before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as Decatur IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Decatur IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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 vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Illinois board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, typically about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should 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.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at Decatur IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential 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 tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Decatur IL or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Decatur 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent 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 services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Decatur 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Decatur 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 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Decatur IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend classes for some Decatur IL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Decatur IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Decatur 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.
Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2017, the city's estimated population was 72,124.
The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.
Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228). Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.
Select the Right Nursing College near Decatur IL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Decatur IL.
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