What to look for in a Nursing School

You’ve made the decision. You are going to pursue a career in nursing. The next step is to find a nursing school that works for you. You need to know what to look for in a nursing school There are requirements for being accepted into any nursing school, but once accepted, there are some things a student can do to make the experience more enjoyable and successful.

Education Requirements

A diploma from an accredited high school is necessary upon applying to a nursing school or college program that offers a nursing degree program. Any aspiring nurse can go on to earn an associate, bachelor (BSN) or master (MSN) degree depending on individual career goals.

A high school student who looking for a nursing school should complete necessary high school courses in biology, chemistry, psychology, English, and physics.

Once in college, core subjects such as biology, must be mastered in order to gain entrance into a nursing program. Often, nursing programs ask potential students to take, and pass, a pre-entrance exam and a background check. Once a student has successfully completed these steps, the program prepares a graduate for general practice with clinical experiences with different age groups of patients and illnesses. During the last year of a program it may be possible to have an elective clinical course to focus on a specific area of nursing.

Career Options: What you can do with Nursing Degree

When you are looking for nursing schools, you will find there are many career options. Here are a few.

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

A student, wanting to begin working in the nursing field while in school, may become eligible for CNA certification after completing basic nursing courses and clinical. In many schools, the basic nursing courses meet the requirements for CNA certification. It’s a good idea to check with the school. CNA duties will include bathing, feeding, moving patients from bed to a chair, and transporting patients within a health care setting. Many CNA’s work in the health care field while completing training or continuing education for the next level of nursing.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

This field will take about one year to complete and students must pass the NCLEX-PN exam to be licensed in their state of residency. Duties will include direct patient care such as bathing, monitoring a patient’s vital signs and administering medications.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A RN license is a good choice for students wanting a successful career in nursing. RNs earn a diploma or degree in nursing. This position requires the nurse to assist doctors with procedures and work closely with patients. Successful completion of the NCLEX-RN exam is required before being licensed by the state of residency.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A nurse practitioner position requires a graduate degree in nursing (MSN) and certification. NPs work in different types of practice settings. An NP may have a supervising physician or may work independently and be able to prescribe medications. The scope of practice for NPs is regulated by each state board of nursing.

What to Consider if you Pursue Career in Nursing

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment for nurses in general to grow 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, “faster than the average for all occupations.” According to the BLS, the typical registered nurse earned $64,690 in 2010. A registered nurse who completes additional training and holds an advanced degree can expect even higher wages. For example, some postoperative nurses earn $87,000.