From the time you made the decision to pursue a career in nursing you’ve no doubt focused on your education. You’ve done your best to excel in the courses you’ll need to even be considered a candidate for nursing school. After all you want to get into the very best program available. In fact, you may even be stressing out a bit hoping that you will get into your chosen nursing school. But, have you given thought to what you want and need from your nursing education? How do you know if a nursing school suits you?
In order to find the ideal nursing school for your needs you need to do some research. Don’t simply seek out the most popular, or the closest, and/or most affordable nursing school. Look for a program to accommodate a many of your needs as possible. Pre-qualify the school as they pre-qualify you.
10 Points to Ponder When Selecting The Right Nursing School
1. Location, Location, Location-Just as in real estate, you’ll need to give the biggest consideration to the school’s location. Are you going to live at home and attend classes? Will you be looking for affordable housing options near campus? Does the school offer classes that mesh with your schedule? The location of your nursing school is a primary consideration.
2. Your Career Path-Finding a school that suits your chosen career path is just as important as the location of the campus. There are schools that offer only 2 year degrees for nursing assistants and those who will continue your education all the way to a doctorate. You need to be clear about where you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years and beyond. If you want to grow your education at some point, look for a nursing school that offers the two year certification program and will apply that program to your prerequisites should you decide to go for a 4 year degree or more later on.
3. Online Class Presence– Do you want the option of completing some of your coursework online, from the convenience of your home?
4. Advanced Standing or Credit for Healthcare Workers– If you’re currently employed as a healthcare worker find out if the nursing school you’re considering offers advanced standing, or fulfillment of credit, for some courses based on your work experience.
5. Is Your Specialty Their Specialty-If you already have a specialty in mind, such as pediatrics, geriatric care, or med-surg, look for a school that centers curriculum around your chosen specialty. Some nursing schools will have a focused curriculum and may not fit your chosen career path.
6. Clinical Rotations-Considered the most valuable part of your nursing education, clinical rotations should mimic the career path you’ve chosen. Does the nursing school work in conjunction with a teaching hospital? Is it in a large city? Will you be exposed to several kinds of specialties? This is where you’ll gain the most nursing school experience. Choose wisely.
7. Accreditation-Make absolutely certain that your school is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) and/or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These committees ensure that schools comply with rules and guidelines governing instructors, curriculum, school policies, financial standing, and board of trustees. Should your chosen nursing school not hold an accreditation from at least one of these delegations, the courses you take may not transfer should you decide o pursue a higher degree at some point. Should the school fail to meet or exceed the standards set by these agencies you may not even qualify for certification to practice nursing. This is an extremely important consideration when determining the right nursing school for you.
8. Testing Required for Acceptance-Nursing schools will typically require you to take a test for admission to the program. The most common test for admittance is given by the National League of Nurses, however, some schools require other tests. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the tests required by the school you consider.
9. Affordability-Of course tuition is a big point to ponder when choosing a school. Don’t sign anything until you’ve thoroughly examined all fees and monies required by the nursing school. Also, it’s worth it to visit the school’s financial aid office or website to find out if you are eligible for any aid that can offset the costs of tuition.
10. NCLEX Exam Pass/Failure Rate-Upon completion of your degree your state will require you to take the NCLEX exam before you’re licensed to practice nursing. When seeking out a suitable nursing school for your degree find out the last ten years pass rate for the NCLEX exam. Also, ask how the school helps prepare nursing students to take the licensing exam.
Do everything you can to ensure your acceptance into nursing school, but remember you have requirements the school must meet as well. The key to finding the right nursing school for you is persistence. The more you investigate the ins-and-outs of the schools on your list, the better equipped you’ll be to find the very best nursing school for you.