How to Choose a Nursing College near Winthrop Harbor Illinois
Selecting the best nursing college near Winthrop Harbor IL may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you don’t know what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, 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 measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many prospective students base their decision solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to look into before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, such as Winthrop Harbor IL hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to support doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Winthrop Harbor IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program made available by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus 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. Further requirements for licensing can 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 basically two scholastic accreditations available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it should 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 effectively 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 attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at Winthrop Harbor IL area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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 period of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many Winthrop Harbor IL students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Winthrop Harbor IL or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Winthrop Harbor 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Winthrop Harbor 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 considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Winthrop Harbor IL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Winthrop Harbor IL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Winthrop Harbor IL?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Winthrop Harbor 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.
Winthrop Harbor, Illinois
Winthrop Harbor is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,742 at the 2010 census. It is located along the northern border of Illinois and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Winthrop Harbor is known for its North Point Marina, and is a warning demarcation point for the National Weather Service's marine warnings for Lake Michigan. With moorage over 1,500 boats, it is the largest marina on the Great Lakes. Nearly one million visitors take advantage of the marina, its associated beaches and other recreational facilities every summer.
According to the 2010 census, Winthrop Harbor has a total area of 4.761 square miles (12.33 km2), of which 4.67 square miles (12.10 km2) (or 98.09%) is land and 0.091 square miles (0.24 km2) (or 1.91%) is water.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,742 people residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 90.94% White, 1.44% Black or African American, 2.31% Asian, 0.39% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.03% of some other race and 2.88% of two or more races. 7.64% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
Select the Right Nursing Degree near Winthrop Harbor IL
Deciding on the ideal nursing program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select 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 Winthrop Harbor IL.
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