How to Find the Nursing School or Program that’s Right for You
If you’re just starting out on the road to becoming a nurse, or if you’re a registered nurse (RN) or licensed professional nurse (LPN) looking to advance your career with an advanced degree, there are hundreds of nursing programs from which to choose. And, with the nursing shortage reaching critical levels, more and more nursing schools are practically bending over backwards to accommodate your needs.
For example, if you’re a working RN looking to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, you may want to look into the many online nursing programs most nursing schools and colleges that offer the BSN now offer. An online program will allow you to continue working as a nurse while earning your BSN. You’ll be able to take your classes at a time that is convenient for you, your family and any professional demands upon you. Many RN to BSN programs require that you do some work in a medical setting with a preceptor but, again, you’ll be able to perform this work while still on the job.
If you’ve just graduated from high school, check out the many colleges and universities that offer a four-year BSN program. Some of them have accelerated programs that will allow you to graduate with your degree in three years or so. You’ll then be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination, which will award you your RN designation.
If you’ve already graduated college and now are thinking of becoming a nurse, there are many accelerated nursing programs that will allow you to study to become a registered nurse in less than two years!
As you research nursing programs, you’ll want to find out if the school is accredited by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), which accredits nursing programs at all levels (ASN, hospital diploma, BSN, MSN, etc.) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which accredits nursing programs at the BSN or MSN level. Attending an accredited school is important because you will know that the program has passed a stringent set of requirements set by the accrediting bodies. You also will be eligible for federal financial aid programs if you attend an accredited school.
You’ll also want to see if you can sit in a class or two or, at the least, visit campus and speak with current students. You also may want to ask the school’s admission office if you could contact graduates of the program so that you can hear what they think of their alma mater.
Research your choice of nursing schools well. You are about to embark on a life-changing journey, so you need to be sure you will be receiving the best nursing education for you. After all, your patients will be counting on it.