What Should I Look For In A Nursing Program?
If you have always wanted a career that would enable you to engage in meaningful work and render service to those who are suffering, a career as a nurse gives you the opportunity to do so. Before you can enter this profession, however, you will need to go to nursing school to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to become a nurse. The educational preparation you will undertake will also prepare you to take and pass the difficult exam that will make you a registered nurse and practice the profession.
However, there are many schools all over the country that have nursing programs that it’s easy to become overwhelmed at their sheer number. In the end, choosing the right nursing program that would best suit you becomes difficult. To clear up some of the questions in your head regarding the things you should look for in a nursing program, here are some pointers that will guide you through the process. Hopefully, you will be able to narrow down your list of potential nursing schools by keeping the following guidelines in mind.
One of the first things that you should consider is if the school offers the nursing program you are interested to enroll in. There are different types of nursing degrees—a bachelor’s degree program in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing or a nursing diploma. If the school does not offer the degree you seek then you may need to look for other schools. This step already presupposes that you have already thought long and hard about the nursing degree you want to obtain. While shorter programs may enable you to start working sooner, many employers still prefer someone with a BSN.
The next thing you should look for in a nursing program is accreditation. You want a program that has gone through the lens of an accrediting body like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). It should also be given final approval by the state nursing board. By attending a school that is accredited, you are assured that you are learning the concepts that need to be learned.
The kind of faculty that will be teaching the students should also be something you want to check out. As much as possible, you are looking for a nursing program with a good number of fulltime faculty members. They should also hold postgraduate degrees and must come from different specialties to give students a varied sampling of each subfield.
Another benchmark that will also reveal the quality of the nursing school you plan on attending is its passing rate in the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN. This is a test that you need to pass to be able to obtain your license and become a registered nurse. Ask for the percentage passing rate of the school in this exam for the past five to ten years. A consistently high passing rate will indicate that the school prepares its students well for this test and generally becomes an indicator of quality nursing education.
You should also look for a program that has good ties with different hospitals where you will be doing your clinical rotation. This is an important aspect of your training as a nurse since this is where you will be gaining valuable hands-on practical experience that will prepare you for a nursing career.
Finally, you should look for a nursing program that is affordable. You may be able to save substantially on college costs by attending a public school in the state where you are a resident in since these institutions typically give discounts on tuition fee to in-state students. Moreover, attending a local college will also give you the opportunity to live with your parents while you’re still working towards getting your degree. This arrangement will enable you to save a lot on housing costs and food. No matter where you obtain your nursing degree, however, you should inquire about financial aid options like scholarships and grants that you might be eligible for since these will greatly offset your overall college costs.