As Illinois joins other states with legislation proposing that 80 percent of RNs have a BSN by 2020, many nurses are advancing their degrees through RN to BSN programs in Illinois. Coursework in RN to BSN programs build upon your prior learning and nursing experience, and provide opportunities for individualized study in your area of interest. Healthcare reform, increasingly complex medical technology and computerized healthcare have raised the bar for nurses, making an advanced education in nursing a very valuable asset.
Nursing schools in Illinois have responded to the call for more BSN prepared nurses by designing bridge programs, like the RN to BSN option, that are available at nursing schools across the state. Part of this plan includes offering classes on-site at hospitals and increasing the number of online education programs. Online RN to BSN programs in Illinois have expanded, and you may be able to earn your Bachelor's by taking distance education courses over the computer and completing clinical hours close to home.
To help recruit RNs and curb its projected nursing shortage, the state of Illinois has developed a comprehensive website to address individual nurse's needs and questions. The Illinois Center for Nursing provides information on nursing rules and regulations, licensure requirements and continuing education.
At BestNursingDegree.com, we believe in the power of education to improve the profession of nursing, thereby improving health in our nation. We have taken the time to compile a list of all the accredited nursing schools in Illinois that offer the RN to BSN option. You can weigh your options for earning your BSN, whether you want to enroll in a traditional or online program, by comparing schools. Once you have an idea of the programs that might work for you, gather RN-BSN program materials by submitting a request for information.
The Transitional RN to BSN Program
BSN nursing programs in Illinois offer experiences in an array of hospital and outpatient settings, can enhance advanced nursing practice and may provide a foundation for leadership roles. Nursing science, theory and advanced practice courses provide enhanced critical thinking skills for clinical reasoning, diagnostics and evidence-based practice.
Nursing courses commonly included in BSN programs may include the following:
- Leadership, management and professional roles in nursing
- Advanced practice studies in your choice of areas or concentration
- Cultural aspects of healthcare for individuals, families and populations
- Care of patients with chronic conditions and disease
- Advancements in medical technology, computer literacy and informatics
- Statistics in healthcare and research
- Policy considerations in healthcare
- Growth and development across the lifespan
Online RN to BSN programs in Illinois, as well as those offered on campus, usually take approximately 18 months for completion. Prerequisites are applied to the total amount of your degree credits. Most BSN degrees in Illinois require 125 credits for graduation, with credits previously earned being applied. The length of the clinical practicum is usually 14 to 16 weeks and is the equivalent of a complete semester.
Opportunities for the RN, BSN in Illinois
Registered Nurses that are Baccalaureate prepared are highly sought after by prospective employers and are often offered a wider range of career choices. Hospital and non-hospital positions in Illinois for nurses with BSNs include some of the following:
- Due to the increase in RNs seeking BSNs, Illinois is seeking RN educators for faculty, academic advising and clinical preceptors
- Northwestern Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Physician Group requires RNs to have or be in the process of completing a BSN for labor and delivery, intensive care and OBGYN
- Central DuPage Hospital only accepts BSN for applications in their intervention catheter labs, emergency department and PACU
- Several physician groups and offices require a BSN for specialty medicine services in plastic surgery, outpatient surgical interventions and complex medical technology
- Nurse executives and administrators for most premiere hospitals require an advanced nursing education for promotion in management
- Home health positions provide a lucrative and independent career for nurses who prefer a mobile workplace
The Outlook for Baccalaureate Prepared Nurses in Illinois
Nurses in Illinois are experiencing changes from the recent legislation proposed to require RNs to complete a BSN within 10 years of graduation. In addition, the complexity of care for an increasingly older and chronically ill population requires advanced training for effective nursing care. Nurses in Illinois earn an average salary of $66,730 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013).
Spotlight on Illinois RN-BSN Programs
Loyola University. Loyola is a private university and one of the nation's largest Jesuit, Catholic universities. Located in downtown Chicago, its RN-to-BSN program can be completed in three semesters and online. Students can earn up to 25 credits toward degree completion by submitting a professional nursing portfolio.
Northern Illinois University (NIU). NIU, the second largest university in Illinois, offers a combined online and in-classroom RN-to-BSN program. Students have several locations to choose from for classes. NIU makes its home in DeKalb.
University of Illinois - Chicago. UIC's RN-to-BSN program consists of 30-credits completed online. The public university is located in the heart of Chicago.
Places to Work
Methodist Medical Center. Located in Peoria, the oldest city in Illinois, Methodist Medical Center delivers patient- and family-centered care and has been designated as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing services. This facility is located about 160 miles from Chicago.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. This academic medical center located in Chicago is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University.