Tips for choosing your nursing programJune 22, 2016
Starting nursing school is a big deal, and you want to start it off on the right foot. One factor that can contribute to your success as a nursing student is choosing a program that is right for you. So how do you know which nursing program is a good match?
Factors to Take into Consideration
When it comes to choosing the best program, there is usually not only one thing to consider. Instead, it’s important to take several factors into consideration. For example, one of the most important things about a nursing program is whether it is nationally or regionally accredited.
It’s also essential to consider your learning style. Are you someone who thrives in large classes or do you prefer smaller classes and individual attention? Are you looking for a program that offers at least some of their classes online or do you want a traditional learning atmosphere? Keep in mind, there is no right or wrong learning style. But it’s helpful to determine what type of environment you would do best in.
Another factor to consider is what your career goals are. Both associate degree and bachelor degree programs are available. Nurses who think they may want to become managers, educators, supervisors or nurse practitioners will need a four-year degree. Although an associate degree is a faster path to start working in the field, it would mean you would need to return to school if you have certain career goals.
Of course, it’s also important to consider practical matters including cost and location. When considering cost, it’s not just tuition that you have to think about. The cost of supplies, transportation to school and clinical sites, as well as living arrangements, needs to be thought out.
The cost of nursing programs can vary greatly, and you don’t want to get in over your head. One program is not necessarily better than another because it costs more. You also don’t want to be unable to pay for school halfway through your program. If you are taking out student loans, think about how much debt you’re willing to incur. Remember, you’ll have to pay that money back.
The location also matters. If you’re unhappy in a certain city or moving away from your family, it may affect how well you do in your program. Consider how far you’re willing to move before applying to a nursing program.
Questions to Ask
Once you have a few nursing programs that sound like a good fit, if possible, consider a tour of the school. Walking around campus and seeing the school firsthand may help you decide if it feels right.
It’s also a good idea to meet with an admission’s representative from the nursing program and ask several questions including the following:
- What is the admission process like? Is there a lottery system or do students get in based on merit?
- What is the school’s NCLEX pass rates?
- What is the typical class size?
- Does the school offer career placement?
- How are clinical rotations structured?
It’s important to know as much as you possibly can about your chosen college before you take the plunge.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.