How to Pick a Nursing Program near Elmwood Illinois
Searching for the best nursing school near Elmwood IL may feel like a complicated undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your residence is probably not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional considerations to check into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the job of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Elmwood IL hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to assist doctors in the treatment 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 portion of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Elmwood IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 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 may 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 generally a two year program after obtaining 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 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. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
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 period of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Elmwood IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 other prerequisites as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Elmwood IL or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered in Elmwood IL for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Elmwood 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 schools 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 Elmwood IL healthcare 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 environment. Virtually 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. Check if the schools have associations with Elmwood IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many Elmwood IL students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward 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 Elmwood IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Elmwood 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.
Elmwood is a city in Peoria County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,945 at the 2000 census. Elmwood is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. Growth in the city of Peoria is extending towards Elmwood, in addition to the village of Dunlap.
On the night of June 5, 2010, an elephant trunk tornado touched down in Elmwood, destroying city hall and other area buildings, bringing down limbs and power lines, and damaging the roof of a theater. There are plans to rebuild some of their most treasured buildings, such as the community center and city hall. Although Elmwood suffered a great deal from the tornado, many town businesses re-opened.
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 1,945 people, 772 households, and 565 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,577.1 people per square mile (610.5/km²). There were 806 housing units at an average density of 653.5 per square mile (253.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.71% White, 0.15% African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.05% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Elmwood IL
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Elmwood IL.
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