Finding a Nursing School
If you’re looking to go to nursing school, you’ll want to do a little more research with this decision. The school that you choose now will directly affect the type and quality of training you will receive to handle patient care. You need to be sure that the school that you go to is training you and preparing you for all of the rewards and trials of nursing.
If location is a concern for you, then you may want to start with that decision factor. This is especially true when you need to maintain a current job or you have children and a family that is not easily moved to another state or city. Your local phone book or an Internet search can easily yield the possibilities for you. And if you’re looking for an associate’s degree program, be sure to look at your local community college as well.
When location is not a concern for you, the options are much more overwhelming, but here are a few tips on how to narrow the field. First of all, if you’ve already decided on the kind of nursing that you want to study, you should look for schools that specialize in that field. Of course, it’s not necessary to have a clear idea of what you want to do, but it can help in your decision making.
The size of your nursing school may also play into your overall decision. When you want personal attention, you will want to choose a school with a smaller overall student population. This will allow fewer students to be assigned to each teacher, thus giving you the opportunity to ask questions and learn more. On the other hand, if you want to have a more social experience, a larger school can be just the stimulus that you need. The overall need to single yourself out in a larger school can provide you with all of the motivation to succeed.
Along the same lines is the class size. By talking to the admission department you can easily find out the average student to teacher ratio within each class. The lower this ratio is, the better chance you will have of getting to know your teachers a little better. This can also allow students to have a more personal learning experience, rather than the large and anonymous lecture hall style. When you’re in your clinicals and your initial nursing classes, you may need that personal and undivided attention.
A school’s status of accreditation is another good thing to consider when you are looking for a nursing school. When a school is accredited, it means that it has passed or surpassed a set of nationally recognized standards for its teaching process. While it’s not necessary to attend a nursing school that is accredited, you will want to note that many employers are more apt to hire nurses from an accredited school. And if you ever want to continue your education, a degree from an accredited school can be transferred to a RN to BSN program, for example.
The overall NCLEX pass rate is another vital number to look at when choosing a nursing school to attend. A school with a higher pass rate generally means that they are teaching the students the information that they will need to pass this important state exam in order to become certified. Students that are well-prepared by their school will generally pass. Of course, you will want to compare pass rates for the last decade to get a more comprehensive picture.
For some students, the decision of a nursing school is based primarily on whether or not they can afford the tuition. Thankfully, there are many more payment options to choose from if you don’t have the money at the moment. Many students qualify for scholarships, grants, and federal loans that can all help cover the costs. And if these aren’t enough, personal loans can also be utilized to cover basic expenses.
If you’re planning on going to school without having a job, you will also need to factor in the money that you can receive to cover your living expenses. A lot of students don’t realize that doing their clinicals is going to be their job, so they will not be able to make consistent money during their off hours.
Speaking of clinicals, the final thing that you should consider when choosing a nursing school is the overall clinical rotation time. Since you will eventually be working with real patients on your own, you want to choose a school that gives you enough time to learn the skills that you need to master. Look over the time that is allotted for clinicals and how much time is allotted to each specialty. Checking with current or previous students is a good way to determine if the clinical times are long enough to facilitate learning.
The best way to make that final decision about a nursing school is to know what you want. But you should also realize that you should be looking at the details of your nursing school as hard as they will be looking at your application for enrollment.
To find a nursing school near you or online, use our search tool below: