While there is no one perfect nursing school, there are several factors which you should research and consider prior to choosing which nursing school to attend. Decisions include whether to be an LPN or an RN and then whether to attend an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.
The first and most important step in choosing a registered nursing program is to verify that it is an accredited nursing program. This will ensure that you will receive the required training to become a licensed registered nurse and be able to take the NCLEX-RN exam. An accredited program must meet specific regulations and maintain them overtime which is required to ensure the highest quality of instruction is provided to the students to best prepare them to become registered nurses.
Cost of Nursing School
The cost of nursing programs varies a great deal. Many believe that the more you pay, the better your education, and the more likely you are to be hired. This is not an absolute. As with anything, the amount of effort you put into something will directly impact the end result. While some employers may be impressed with the program you attended, most are looking for a well rounded individual who can speak to the positive attributes and contributions he or she will bring to the unit. For example, if you have presented your nursing school research at a national conference, worked part time as a nursing assistant or volunteered on a medical mission trip, you are a better candidate then someone who only went to a big name school. Get involved in your school and the surrounding community, searching out opportunities that will make you stand out as the ideal candidate.
Location of Nursing School
It is important to not only consider the location of the school, but also the clinical rotation sites. You will need to be sure you have adequate transportation and funds to get to and from the sites in a timely fashion. Remember to always take a practice trip to determine how long it will take and if you need to park where that will be. Always arrive to your classes and clinical sites early; first impressions are very important. If you are interested in working at any of the hospitals you visit during school, try and make a connection with some of the nurses or the manager, you can never start to early. Where I work, we often accept nursing students during their final rotation because this gives us the opportunity to see if they are a good fit for our team. Remember, that as a student someone is always watching so stay positive and be helpful at all times.
So you have decided which school you plan to attend and you apply. You should really apply to a few programs. Acceptance into nursing programs has become very competitive and you want to increase your chances of achieving your goal of becoming a registered nurse. Hopefully you get accepted to your first choice, but if not do not become discouraged. Perhaps you will get in at your second choice or wait listed, either way stay focused and push forward. Those that are determined will succeed.