Welcome to BestNursingDegree.com, where we can help you locate and compare the top online and campus-based Master's in Nursing programs in Illinois. With the growth of several reputable online programs, there are more options than ever for students wanting to pursue graduate nursing degrees.
Whether you are looking for RN to MSN programs in the state, or traditional MSN programs in Illinois, you can find them here. Take some time to read about what you can do with your Master's degree in nursing, then request materials from the accredited nursing programs in Illinois that interest you. It's a good idea to request information from multiple programs, obtaining enough information to choose the right program to meet your needs.
Most advanced practice nurses (APRNs) today have master's degrees, and the number of advanced practice nurses in Illinois has increased dramatically in recent years. Between May 2001 and June 2012, the number of Illinois APNs increased by 287 percent, from 1,976 to a total of 7,434 advanced practice nurses, according to a January 2013 report by the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group
Illinois advanced practice nurses, overall, are extremely satisfied with their careers. According to a recent survey of Illinois nurses, APRNs were more likely than RNs to say that they are "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with work. Compared to RNs, advanced practice nurses typically possess a larger degree of professional autonomy. Additional education gives you the ability to work in fields of your choosing, and to practice nursing to its fullest extent. Illinois requires advanced practice nurses to work in collaboration with state physicians, but most APRNs are able to work relatively independently on a day-to-day basis.
Increasingly, Illinois nurses are pursuing master's degrees relatively early in their careers, rather than waiting until mid-career or later. Nursing schools in Illinois are responding by offering several options for study in the state, and nurses are increasingly taking advantage of these programs early in their careers. The average age of the state's advanced practice nurses is actually younger than the average age of the state's RNs and LPNs, which is encouraging news for the nursing profession in Illinois.
Professional organizations for advanced practice nurses in Illinois include the Illinois Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the Ohio League for Nursing (which includes the state of Illinois), the Illinois Nurses Association and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing.
Below, BestNursingDegree.com speaks with Dr. Caroline Mallory, coordinator for graduate programs in nursing for Illinois State University. In the video, Dr. Mallory discusses the graduate options available at the Mennonite College of Nursing as well as what to look for in a master's degree nursing program.
Curriculum of Masters in Nursing Programs
Illinois is one of the several states still working toward the expansion of the authority of nurse practitioners due to the shortage of primary care doctors. Nurse practitioners in IL handle primary and acute health care patient needs, and they can prescribe medicine providing they have a collaborating MD to delegate prescriptive authority. There are several Master's in Nursing programs that offer the Nurse Practitioner route, some even offering RN to MSN programs in Illinois. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation requires certification to become a NP by passing a certification exam after completing one of the accredited nursing programs in Illinois that offer NP education.
There are numerous educational opportunities for nurse practitioners once you focus on your area of specialty. Adult areas for nurse practitioners include family practice, adult care, acute care, women's care, emergency and geriatric care. Other areas for nurse practitioners include: neonatal, pediatric, oncology and occupational practice. A geriatric NP often administers care in long-term care facilities or in a patient's home.
Dual degrees are offered in a MSN/MBA program, which is designed to provide you with a strong preparation in business and in nursing administration. There are often management jobs in the field of nursing that can provide you with additional options when choosing a course of study. Nursing schools in Illinois can prepare you to become a significant role model and leader in the state through these MSN programs.
While the majority of students enrolling in MSN programs are BSNs, there are programs for bachelors prepared students that have not been nurses. These students enter the generalist entry master's (GEM) program with the goal of becoming a clinical nurse leader (CNL), and they will become RN clinicians focusing of clinical leadership. After graduation the CNLs can provide care at a high level of inpatient settings, or they can follow an outpatient or community tract.
You can also attend an RN to MSN program in Illinois, which will allow you progress directly from an RN to a Master's prepared nurse without completing a full BSN program before hand. These bridge programs allow you to obtain your Bachelor's education along side your MSN, providing a seamless route to graduate nursing degrees.
Careers for Masters in Nursing graduates in Illinois
The market in Illinois for advanced practice nurses is solid, and is expected to continuing growing. According to an article published by CBS Chicago in February of 2013, demand for Illinois nurses is expected to grow by more than 16 percent through 2020. That means now is not only a great time to become a nurse, but also to advance your nursing education and stand out from the rest of the pack.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Family Nurse Practitioners in the state of Illinois earn a median annual income of $81,400 a year, and Illinois has one of the lowest concentrations of NP's in the United States, which means demand for educated NPs is high. There are several advanced nursing careers available to you after earning your MSN in Illinois, including teaching, research, direct patient care and healthcare policy. Take some time to investigate your options, and then request more information from the schools on our page.
MSN programs for Illinois nurses include:
- DePaul University. DePaul offers a Master's Entry into Nursing Practice program for college grads who wish to become nurses, as well as nurse practitioner education and a nurse anesthesia program. Nurse anesthesia applicants must have completed at least one year of employment in an ICU.
- Northern Illinois University. MSN students at Northern Illinois University can pursue graduate education as clinical nurse specialists, nurse educators or nurse practitioners. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis option; the thesis option is generally chosen by students who plan to go on to a career in research or academia.