If your life or career is at a standstill, it’s a good time to consider going to college. Whether you are attending college for the first time or going back to school, college can help you gain valuable skills to improve your life.
Once you have decided to go to school, you need to determine what to study. Nurses are currently in high demand, and there is a lot of opportunity for growth and advancement within the industry. But before you enroll in a program, you not only need to find an for you, you should also make sure you pick the right school.
Due to the high industry demand, new nursing students have several options for pursuing their education. You can attend an on-site program at a career college, or attend a hospital-sponsored program. Some students even have the option to attend an online nursing degree program. Here are some things to consider when choosing a nursing school:
Location is important because it will determine your ability to attend classes. When looking for a school, you first need to determine if you want to stay in town or move away. Once you determine where you want to live, you need to find out if there are any nursing programs in the area. If you are staying in town, you also need to determine if you need to live on campus, or if you are willing to commute. And, if you’re commuting, how far you are willing to drive, and do you have reliable transportation.
Nursing has several specialty areas, like pediatric nursing or psychiatric nursing. All nursing schools should offer basic nursing training, but not all offer specialty training. Keep in mind that you can always start of in general nursing, work for a few years, then go back to pick up a specialty. But if you want to do it all at once, then you need to make sure the program you pick offers training in your preferred specialty.
There are RNs, and BSNs. RNs have completed the coursework and training to become qualified nurses. BSNs, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, get the same RN training, but they have also completed standard college coursework. Both types of nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings so the choice depends on what you want to do in the future. Some nursing specialties, like OR nursing, or pediatric nursing, might require a BSN.
Make sure the school has been accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and Education. Accreditation means that the school has met the educational standards set by the accrediting organization. Generally organizations set these standards to make sure that, no matter where you go, you will get the education you need to pass the certification exams and do your job properly.
Tuition, Financial Aid
Finding the perfect school is great, but you still have to pay for it. A lot of schools will give you a basic idea of how much it will cost to attend, including the cost of supplies and books. Some schools offer private and/or federal student loans, as well as grants and scholarships. Before you fill out the application, contact the school’s Financial Aid office to determine what programs they have available.
Some nursing schools have set classes that you have to attend during specific times of day. Other programs have more flexible scheduling. If you have a job, you might need to consider a more flexible program or an . The same goes for the clinical rotation -- if you have a job, you need to determine if the clinical part of the program is set, or if you have some flexibility with your current work situation.
Nursing can be a rewarding career with plenty of room for advancement. Making sure you pick the right school will go a long way toward ensuring your future success.
Written by guest blogger Samantha Peters who enjoys blogging on career and HR sites covering topics of particular interest to women in the workplace.