Earning Your Nursing Diploma
Earning your nursing diploma is not as difficult as you may perceive. In fact, many colleges and universities readily accept candidates into their nursing diploma program as long as they meet the entry requirements. Other factors that may help you gain entry would be experience in working or volunteering in a nursing home or a hospital.
Entry requirements and duration of study for a diploma in nursing in the US vary from school to school. Usually a three-year program, nursing diploma courses are often conducted in conjunction with a hospital or local community college. A high school diploma with coursework in biology, chemistry and algebra may also necessary. In the event that you do not possess this background, it is still possible for you to obtain these prerequisites through a course of study at your local community college.
Diploma or Degree?
One question you might ponder on is the difference between a nursing diploma and a degree. If you are looking into getting an entry-level nursing job, then there is not much difference between the two. However, a degree might prove to be useful further down your career path. For example, a CRNA requires BSN degree before the certification can be considered.
Nonetheless, a diploma is sufficient to become an RN, and frequently, having only a diploma is not a barrier to advancement. Many head nurses or charge nurses are only equipped with diplomas. This is likely due to the fact that diploma courses incur lower course fees, and also take a shorter time to complete as compared to a degree.
The downside to this is that you would need a degree should you decide to continue your studies. Otherwise, you would need to complete various courses to make up for the extra credits that your colleagues with a BSN or ADN would already possess. Degree courses also provide greater emphasis on leadership and research aspects of the program.
Regardless of the difference, a nursing diploma is the way to go if you want to acquire hands on experience early on. After all, if you decide to pursue a degree later on, that choice will always be available to you.
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