The nursing school that you choose to attend can have more impact than just the quality of education that you receive. Graduating from a well-known and well-respected facility can add credibility to your resume as the reputation of your nursing program can speak volumes. The benefits can be realized in a higher salary and better opportunities for advancement. Choosing nursing schools that are associated with prestigious hospitals for your practice work can give you an advantage in competing for positions or may even expose you to specialties that you would have never previously considered.
The Importance of Location
There is a nursing training program accessible to nearly every locality. The most frequent consideration of many when choosing a location is how far away from home they are willing to be. However, locations that serve major metropolitan hospitals will provide training experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Conversely, smaller local training centers can offer more personalized instruction and usually have lower student to instructor ratios. There are even online nursing programs for those who wish to complete part of their education online.
Area of Study
Areas of study that are provided by training centers are another consideration when choosing a nursing school. Are you interested in research? Do you want to practice in highly specialized areas such as immunology or oncology? Check the course listing of the training centers that you are considering to determine what educational opportunities in your chosen areas you will receive. Also inquire about clinical rotations to find out how much time will be spent in hands on experience and in what disciplines. More time spent in clinical rotation correlates with improved work capabilities and performance.
The training center that you choose should be accredited by one of two certifying bodies, either The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission or The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. There are also separate accrediting bodies for Nurse Anesthesia and Nurse Midwife so be sure to verify those credentials in you are planning on entering either of these specialties.
While most schools must be approved by a state board of nursing, that is not the same as being an accredited program of study. State board approval will allow you to take the licensing examination (called the NCLEX exam), the credits that you receive will not transfer into another learning college or university unless those credits come from an accredited institution. This would prevent you from receiving an advanced degree such as a bachelor’s, a master’s, or doctorate degree in nursing.
One vitally important consideration when choosing a nursing school is the rate of state board passage by graduates of the program. Make sure that you ask for data regarding your state board passage rate and ask for several years worth of data for a better evaluation of the school’s performance over time. You want to choose schools that have high state board passage rates.
Nursing School Costs
Also important to many when choosing a school is the cost of the tuition. However, don’t forget that there are many ways to finance a college education through grants, scholarships, financial aid, and work study programs. However, be prepared to be proactive in investigating these programs and doing your research. Local hospitals and community clubs and organizations can be additional sources of scholarship monies.
By keeping in mind these considerations, you will receive the best education for your money and at the same time set yourself up with the best potential for success beyond school and into the work force.