Access to health care is improving all over the United States, with new legislation helping millions of citizens get health insurance for the first time in their lives. However, this has led to a great shortage of care providers and longer wait times for patients. If you have a Bachelor's degree in nursing and you're looking for a way to use your skills to help bridge the gap between patients and providers, it may be time to look into nurse practitioner programs in Illinois.
Becoming a nurse practitioner doesn't mean just seeing patients and providing primary care. It may also give you the opportunity to participate in community-based health outreach programs that can improve the overall health of your city. The Herald Review reports on WISE, a Chicago-based program that puts women in contact with nurse practitioners to make sure they are fully informed about their health.
As a nurse practitioner, your skills may be used to ensure that the millions of people living in Illinois can access the care they deserve. The Sun Times reports on the doctor shortage in the United States and how it affects Illinois residents. The Pantagraph notes that nurse practitioners are helping to fill this gap.
Per the Illinois Department of Employment Security, you may enjoy a good job outlook if you become a nurse practitioner. They predict a significant increase in nurse practitioner job openings through 2022. Take advantage of this opportunity by contacting Illinois nursing schools that offer Nurse Practitioner programs today.
To enroll in a nurse practitioner program in Illinois, you have to meet a certain set of qualifications. Of course, you must have successfully completed a Bachelor's degree in nursing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Furthermore, you must meet work requirements that vary from school to school. Often, schools in Illinois require approximately one to two years of full-time experience in registered nursing.
Getting accepted to an Illinois nursing school is the first step to getting a nurse practitioner degree. You can then begin applying for different types of financial aid, including scholarships, loans, and grants. The American Nurses Association of Illinois funds scholarships like the Sonne Scholarship and the Mother Bickerdyke Award. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists awards scholarships specifically to nurse anesthetists. Those who are willing to work in a rural part of Illinois after graduation may find financial aid through the Illinois Center for Rural Health.
You may find that your NP curriculum is challenging and multifaceted, much like the career itself. You may begin by taking core courses that are required of all advanced nursing students, including Nursing Concepts and Theories, Research for Health Professionals, and Ethics for Health Professionals. Some of the more advanced courses you may take include Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Health Assessment. Clinical work is also part of this degree; plan on spending about 600 hours in a clinical setting.
After completing your Master's degree in nursing, the next step is getting licensed as a nurse practitioner. This process goes through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. They may look at your transcript and diploma to ensure that you graduated from an accredited school. In addition, you need to pass a rigorous test. After meeting these requirements, you can apply to upgrade your registered nursing license to an advanced practice license.
In Illinois, you may find a promising job outlook for nurse practitioners. O*Net hopes to see a 25 percent increase in job openings for nurse practitioners through 2022. The average salary for a nurse practitioner in Illinois is $86,500 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Going into advanced practice may give you more responsibility and make you an asset to health care employers across Illinois. Get started today by contacting nurse practitioner schools in Illinois near you.