Important Considerations for Choosing a Nursing Program

Important Considerations for Choosing a Nursing Program

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If you are drawn towards a career in healthcare, and you really want to get up close and personal with patients, the field of nursing will probably be a great fit. Not only is it a very fulfilling career, it is intellectually stimulating, and no day is ever the exact same. Choosing the right nursing school is paramount to receiving the proper training, and getting you started on the path to an in-demand career with lots of room for growth.

What are Your Goals and Objectives?

There are many different types of nursing opportunities, as well as a wide array of environments in which nurses work. The first thing you need to think about is what area of nursing you want to enter, and where you would like to work—do you see yourself in a major metropolitan hospital, treating patients in an underserved area, or working with a doctor in private practice? Over the long-term, do you think you would want to get a more advanced degree or get training in a particular specialty? Do you want to work in a more hands-on environment or would you rather handle a research role? Hospitals, pharmacological companies, and health care systems are looking for those with higher knowledge in nursing to oversee their research departments and integrate the findings into practice. If this interests you, working on an advanced degree might be a good move to make.

Location

Location is an important consideration. Do you want, or need, to stay close to home? Are you interested in experiencing a new area? If you are interested in maximizing opportunities for training and landing a job after you graduate, you might want to look to this website in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas where health care facilities are abundant.. You might also consider earning your degree online to minimize your expenses, since you won’t have to relocate during school. This also gives you more options when choosing a school because you won’t have to worry about geographical restraints.

Accreditation

Proper accreditation is a must, and don’t make any assumptions about a particular program. The school and the nursing program in particular should have proper accreditation. Schools in general should have regional accreditation, as well as accreditation by institutions such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Nursing programs in particular should be accredited by the CCNE or the NLNAC. Going to a school without the proper accreditation could significantly restrict employment opportunities. Make sure schools have accreditation by the organizations that matter—many types of accreditation may mean very little.

Preceptorships

Does the nursing school require you obtain a preceptorship, also referred to as clinical experience in order to graduate? Any school that doesn’t is probably not the best option. So, chances are, you will have to do one. The next order of business is finding out whether the school offers assistance in finding sites where you can complete this requirement. It would seem like this would be a given, but it isn’t. Not all schools do, so make sure you confirm this. If a school does not provide a service to match its students with preceptors, you may be looking at a lot of time spent finding one on your own.

NCLEX Examination Pass Rates

In order to get your nursing license, you must pass the NCLEX exam, and when considering the best nursing school, it is important to get information on the pass rates of former students. Look back over the last five to 10 years. This is a strong indicator of how well the school prepares its students for the exam and the profession in general.

Other Considerations

Carefully consider the teacher to student ratio in classes. You want smaller classes so you can get the individualized attention needed to maximize your learning. How involved is the faculty in preparing students for the current healthcare industry, and overseeing the curriculum of its students? Is the school strongly affiliated with local clinics and hospitals?

Is the program up-to-date to adequately prepare you for the current job market? What sort of resources are available, in terms of computers and science laboratories, and are they of high-quality? Does the school work with local health care hospitals and centers to provide services? What kind of student support can you expect during your time at the school? What kind of counseling services are available from administrators and faculty?

Do you want a smaller school with a more intimate experience, or the stimulation of a large campus? If you are considering an online program, make sure you do your research to ensure it will properly prepare you. When it comes to matters of money, schools can vary greatly in tuition prices. It is important you are up to speed on the variety of financial aid available from a particular institution.

If you take these aforementioned tips into consideration, you are well on your way to successfully evaluating your nursing school options, and choosing the right school for your needs.

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Categories: Career Planning