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BSN Programs in Chicago

If you are planning a career in healthcare, Chicago can be a great place to start. The Windy City’s  healthcare industry has experienced a robust growth in recent years. Due to an ageing population, changes in healthcare dynamics, and new health insurance laws, Chicago’s health system has become overburdened and requires more nurses. In fact, a survey conducted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reveals that a nursing shortage is looming in the near future.

Reasons to become a nurse in Chicago:

  • Chicago is home to many private and public healthcare institutions which hire qualified nurses
  • Increased healthcare needs has increased the demand for nursing professionals
  • Positive employment outlook – The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has stated that the growth rate for nurses is faster than average
  • Becoming a nurse means helping patients and families on a daily basis

Why get a BSN degree?

Although an associate level degree can help you start a career as a nurse, it doesn't offer the same benefits as a baccalaureate degree. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you can explore a wide variety of nursing careers. There are a number of BSN schools in Chicago you can choose from.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), BSN degree holders get more job opportunities and are likely to secure employment within 4-6 months after graduation. AACN also revealed that 43.7% of hospitals, and 78.6% of employers prefer hiring nurses who have attained at least a baccalaureate degree.

BSN programs in Chicago

A BSN program is designed to help students develop nursing skills and acquire knowledge to succeed in the healthcare field. The program will focus on natural and health sciences, technology in healthcare, and the professional dynamics of nursing.

Throughout the program, students will study a range of theory and practice-based courses that highlight different aspects of nursing. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of the various societal factors that are affecting health care systems. Emphasis is laid on hands-on training as well as theoretical development. BSN students will learn how to conduct different clinical tasks through hands-on training in laboratories.

Here are a few courses that may be covered in the program:

  • Conceptual foundations of nursing and trends – In this course, students will explore the history of nursing and current trends in the field. Topics such as the following are typically covered in this course: Ethics and professionalism, philosophy, nursing education, and regulatory matters.
  • Pathophysiology – In this course, students will learn about pathophysiological concepts, disease and injury, and how the human body responds to both.
  • Health and human development across the lifespan – This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of development across the lifespan. Students will learn how the cognitive, social, and physical domains change over time.
  • Pharmacology – Students will cover the basic principles of pharmacology and medications in this course. Topics such as medication administration and drug safety will be covered.
  • Basic concepts of nursing care – This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of nursing and its role in health promotion. Students will learn about the basic nursing processes and concepts that are applied in healthcare settings.

How long does it take to complete a BSN degree?

A BSN program typically takes 4 years to complete. However, students who pursue accelerated BSN programs in Chicago may earn the degree in less than 2 years. The degree is awarded to students who earn a minimum number of credits that usually range between 120 and 130.

Admission criteria

The admission requirements will vary from college to college. General requirements are:

  • Completion of high school
  • SAT scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Completion of nursing prerequisites

Online BSN programs

Colleges are now offering online BSN programs. Students who live in remote areas or do not have the time to attend classes on campus can opt for distance learning. Online education has made higher education more accessible and flexible for students. The coursework is completed online via videos and conferencing. Most colleges offering online BSN programs require students to attend a few classes at the campus for practical training.

How to select the right nursing school

With so many BSN schools in Chicago, selecting the right school can be tough. However, the following tips can help you with your selection:

  • Make sure the college is accredited by a recognized agency or board
  • Check the student reviews and college rankings
  • Compare costs and availability of financial aid
  • Get information on the faculty and their qualifications

Nursing license

Before you can begin your career as a nurse, you must be licensed by your state. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is responsible for licensing all nurses in the state. Applicants are required to pass the NCLEX-RN examination conducted by the IDFPR. The main requirements for the application for examination or licensure are:

  • Proof of completion of an accredited nursing program
  • Fingerprint verification
  • Submission of an application
  • Payment of examination fee

Career prospects

With a BSN degree in Chicago and a nursing license, you can apply for nursing jobs at various  healthcare institutions. The job duties and income level will basically depend on your skills and job position. As a registered nurse, you will be required to administer medication, look after patients, assist physicians, etc. According to BLS, registered nurses in Illinois were making a mean annual income of $68,030 in 2014. You can enhance your employment prospects with the help of continuing education programs and nursing certifications.


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