Illinois Center for Nursing
  nursing.illinois.gov
Skip to Content
Governor Pat Quinn
Committed to the Nursing Profession
888-NURSE07 [888-687-7307]
 
Skip to Search Skip to State Links


[Search Tips]
 
 

Nursing In Illinois

 
 
What is a nurse?
How do I become a nurse?
What are the types of nurses?
If I study to be a nurse, what are my career choices?
If I study to become a nurse, how is my job outlook?


What is a nurse?


Nurses are an integral part of the team of health care professionals responsible for the treatment, safety, and recovery of moderately, acutely, chronically ill or injured people, health maintenance of the healthy, and treatment of life-threatening emergencies in a wide range of health care settings. Nurses may also be involved in medical and nursing research and education, and perform a wide range of non-clinical functions necessary to the delivery of health care.

Top of Page

How do I become a nurse?

To become a nurse, you will need to apply to a nursing program. Each program is different in its requirements for application. Since nursing is a science based program, you will need to consider the following essential coursework in your undergraduate studies: chemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nutrition and statistics, lifespan development, and other general courses which could include English composition, sociology and psychology. The number and types of courses you will be required to take will depend on the type of degree that you are seeking.

If you would like more information about nursing programs in Illinois visit our education opportunities page.

If you would like more information about what a nurse is and/or becoming a nurse, click on the following link for Nursing: The Ultimate Adventure Download PDF Reader - The information found in this link will be provided in a new browser window. or “Is Nursing For YouDownload PDF Reader - The information found in this link will be provided in a new browser window. from the National Student Nurses Association. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Top of Page

What are the types of nurses?

There are three types of nurses specifically educated and trained to provide nursing care in Illinois. They are classified as follows:

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

An LPN is a person who is specifically prepared in the techniques of nursing, who is a graduate of an accredited school of practical nursing and whose qualifications have been examined by a state board of nursing, and who has been legally authorized to practice as a licensed practical nurse must have the basic nursing knowledge, judgment, and skill acquired by means of completion of an approved practical nursing education program. Practical nursing includes assisting in the nursing process as delegated by and under the direction of a registered professional nurse. The practical nurse may work under the direction of a licensed physician, dentist, podiatrist, or other health care professional.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A RN is specifically prepared and promotes health and the prevention of disease, and helps patients cope with illness. When providing direct patient care they observe, assess and record symptoms, reactions and progress, assist physicians during surgery, treatments, and examinations, administer medications and help in the convalescence and rehabilitation of patients.

Advanced Practice Nurse(APN)

An APN is licensed as a registered professional nurse and meets the requirements for licensure as an advanced practice nurse. An APN cares for patients by using advanced diagnostic skills, the results of diagnostic tests and procedures ordered by the advanced practice nurse, a physician assistant, a dentist, a podiatrist, or a physician, and professional judgment to initiate and coordinate the care of patient. An APN can also order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and drugs, and administer medications and drugs. Categories include certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified nurse practitioner (CNP), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and certified clinical nurse specialist (CNS).

Top of Page

If I study to be a nurse, what are my career choices?

Nurses are an important part of the healthcare environment, providing care in many different settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, private homes, long-term residential centers and corporations. There are many wide and varied rewards and challenges to becoming a nurse.

Typical job opportunities for a nurse might include:

RN, Hospital Nurse, Office Nurse, Nursing Care Facility Nurse, Home Health Nurse, Public Health Nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Head Nurse/Nurse Supervisor, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator/Faculty

For more information about nursing career choices, click on
http://www.discovernursing.com/outside.aspx or
http://www.nursesource.org/description.html.

Top of Page

If I study to become a nurse, how is my job outlook?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.4 million jobs
  • about 3 out of 5 jobs are in hospitals
  • the three major educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree and a diploma from an approved nursing program
  • registered nurses are projected to create the second largest number of new jobs among all occupations; job opportunities in most specialties and employment settings are expected to be excellent, with some employers reporting difficulty attracting and retaining enough RNs

Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $52,330 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $43,370 and $63,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,760. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of registered nurses in May 2004 were as follows:

Employment services Median Annual Earnings

Employment services

$63,170

General medical and surgical hospitals

53,450

Home health care services

48,990

Offices of physicians

48,250

Nursing care facilities

48,220


Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits, and bonuses.

For more information about job outlook for nurses, click on the link to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos083.htm or go to “The Future of Nursing Education: Ten Trends to Watch” from the National League for Nursing at http://www.nln.org/nlnjournal/infotrends.htm