How to Enroll In a Nursing Program near Elmhurst Illinois
Searching for the best nursing college near Elmhurst IL may seem like a challenging undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each program you are thinking about before enrolling in your final selection. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is local to your residence is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to decide on a nursing program. There are many essential additional considerations to check into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including Elmhurst IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary role is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific 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:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide 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 attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Elmhurst IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards 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 four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving 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 attained 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum effectively 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 instruction can be acquired at Elmhurst IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 amount of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure 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 might 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 Elmhurst IL or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Illinois and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Elmhurst IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Elmhurst 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Elmhurst IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Elmhurst IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for many Elmhurst IL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Elmhurst IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Elmhurst 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.
Elmhurst is a city mostly in DuPage County and overlapping into Cook County in the U.S. state of Illinois, and a western suburb of Chicago. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 44,121. 
Members of the Potawatomi Native American people, who settled along Salt Creek just south of where the city would develop, are the earliest known settlers of the Elmhurst area. Around 1836, European-American immigrants settled on tracts of land along the same creek. At what would become Elmhurst City Centre, a native of Ohio named Gerry Bates established a community on a tract of "treeless land" in 1842.
The following year, Hill Cottage Tavern opened where St. Charles Road and Cottage Hill Avenue presently intersect. In 1845, the community was officially named Cottage Hill when a post office was established. Four years later the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was given right-of-way through Cottage Hill giving farmers easier access to Chicago. The community changed its name to Elmhurst in 1869. In 1871, Elmhurst College was organized and currently has 3,500 undergraduates and about 300 graduate students. Elmhurst was incorporated as a village in 1882, with a population between 723 and 1,050, and legal boundaries of St. Charles Road to North Avenue, and one half mile west and one quarter mile east of York Street. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital was founded in 1926 as the first hospital in DuPage County.
Select the Right Nursing School near Elmhurst IL
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Elmhurst IL.
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