Anyone have helpful pointers for getting into nursing in Chicago?


Thank you for reading my first thread. My question is about how to get started thinking about nursing school in Chicago. I am a 29 year old married guy and have a bachelors degree in business. Since leaving college I've been working at the same job for 5 years as an office manager. I live in the UIC/ Pilsen area, close to public transportation and the highways. So, I feel like any school in the city would be an alright commute.

Nursing appeals to me because I would like to work with a lot of different people in a meaningful, fulfilling job. I'm a hard worker and the idea of a job that's both mental and physical appeals to me greatly. Where do I start? I think that eventually I would like to become an RN but don't think I could get into a competitive program based on my college grades (overall 2.95). Would it be wise to first become an LPN and then go to school part time to become an RN? But how do I get an LPN? As far as a CNA degree, I'm not very keen on that because I feel like I would make less (significantly enough) than I do now. Which, however, I would also perhaps make less as an LPN but it probably wouldn't be much of a difference. I have very little debt from college and could borrow more for school. My job now is flexible enough that I could work different hours or go down to part time.

Hope this wasn't too long. Any help including directions to resources or other websites would be much appreciated. Should I go to talk to a school adviser? Workshops?

Thank you for your time.

netglow, ASN, RN

4,412 Posts

You are best served by getting your college transcripts reviewed by several colleges in the area. See what will transfer for a BSN or an ADN. This way you will know what really is on your "to do" list for prerequisites. BSN or ADN you will need a lot of the same stuff (chem, bio, micro, Anatomy, physiology, etc.) These are universal.

ADN is quite a lot cheaper than BSN, but is more competitive to gain acceptance (due to the money thing) than to BSN. You can easily get accepted into practically any BSN program. Many I knew while taking my prereqs were denied acceptance to my ADN college and were easily accepted to BSN, but sadly a heck of a lot of money to lay down especially since you've been the bachelor route already once. So, while doing your prereqs please do try to 4.0 GPA if you can, and you are shooting for ADN. (I am also a second career RN).

Some will say go get an accelerated BSN or even a direct entry MSN. If you do that, you really will be laying out some decent cash. Know, that the direct entry MSN folks are not always readily accepted into the nursing world. Thing there is that you have an advanced degree and are totally green. So it's cart before the horse in medicine. Bad news for you with no hands on body experience. It's not like going and getting your CPA. Going far and high before you have actual hands on experience in nursing can be a bad move.

LPN, will be very fast and inexpensive, however you probably will not work. Very few facilities even use them anymore. I think in IL you can sit for your LPN after the first semester or year? of RN college.

CNA is not a degree. Its a quickie course that gives you a certificate upon passing a test at the end. You then will be listed on a website for employers wanting to check if your certified. You can work as a CNA on nursing floors (sometimes called tech) for about 10-15 per hour dependent on where you work. Others might say, hey, get your EMT - but that's kinda nowhere as you might not be allowed to apply to hospitals with an EMT.

Do not fall for the "promise" that if you work as a CNA/tech in a hospital that, once you get your RN, you will be offered an RN position at said hospital system. Only rarely is this true anymore. Although it does happen, that is usually combined with having very tight connections eg family member or best pal in close with the hiring folks. Most those who did this while in school when I was in school, did not get jobs in this way. Just don't get screwed like they did.

Now to the will or won't you ever get a job. You just might not. The economy is horrible and there are thousands of unemployed new nurses out there. This is an unfortunate fact. You'd have to be prepared to find a way to pay your loans back while unemployed. Can you do that, or can you do this thing all on a cash basis? Things to heavily consider.


2 Posts

Thank you netglow. You brought up a lot of good points.


69 Posts


netglow had some good pointers, but got one thing wrong- getting into BSN programs is not easy or guaranteed. The program I was in had >900 apps for about 100 4-yr BSN spots, and about 450 apps for 65 ABSNs; and that was in 2006 before the economy tanked and everyone started wanting to go into nursing.

My suggestions: definitely go straight for an RN. Start by looking into nearby schools' (websites) and figure out the pre-reqs - most will overlap. Start taking those classes at a community college, get all A's (not too hard at a cc), and volunteer or work in a medical environment.

I don't know much about specific community colleges, but I highly recommend getting an ASN to save a lot on cost; CCs are also generally very open to visitors and often have readily available info about their programs.

If you want an accelerated or direct-MSN... Rush and DePaul have direct MSNs, UIC has a BSN (not accelerated), and Loyola has an ABSN. All of these programs will prepare you to start as an entry-level RN.


19 Posts

If you're married but no kids and have 5 years of managerial experience, I'll go for a BSN. Look for a fast track program like Chamberlain College of Nursing. You can leverage your business skills and experience. Otherwise, you're just another RN.