Going to a nursing school is a big decision. You have to be certain and confident with the program that you’re going into because pre-med programs require extreme determination and motivation to pass and succeed. Moreover, if you’re already decided, you need to find the nursing school that is right for you.
There are a ton of different factors to picking the perfect nursing schools. You can choose to study in a different city, or choose one that’s near you. However, if studying out of your city isn’t an option as there are things that you need to tend to at home, you can still choose to study in your city. Don’t worry as this article will guide you to finding the perfect nursing program near you.
Listed below are the tips on how you can find the perfect fit nursing school near you:
- Determine What Kind of Nurse You’d Like to Be
Before picking up a nursing program, decide which type of nurse you want to be as there are three types to choose from.
- You can choose to be a Certified Nurse Aid/Assistant (CNA). To become a CNA, you only need to finish between four to 12 weeks of training to apply for employment. A CNA is responsible for:
- Gathering medical supplies
- Turning or moving patients
- Bathing patients
- Grooming patients (brushing patient’s hair and teeth)
- Feeding patients while documenting their consumption
- Answer patient calls
- Checking of vital signs
- You can also choose to be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). You can be an LPN by studying at a community college or trade school for a year. As an LPN, you’ll be in charge of:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medication
- Collecting samples
- Guaranteeing patient’s comfort
- Reporting the status of the patient to the assigned nurses.
- On the other hand, if you’d prefer a complete nursing program, you can choose to become a Registered Nurse (RN). To become an RN, you need to finish a four-year bachelor’s degree course. Listed below are the responsibilities of an RN:
- Administer medications and treatments
- Carry out skin and wound care
- Collect blood
- Answer patient’s queries
- Design patient care plans
- Aid with procedures
- Track and record the vital signs and progress of a patient
However, if you’ve already taken some courses for an unrelated degree, you can have them credited to reduce your course load while taking the program. Along with this, you can also choose to earn your master’s degree after you’ve completed your bachelor’s. Earning a master’s usually takes two to three years.
- Identify Any Specialties Offered
If you’ve already decided on where you want your nursing career to go to, you should consider schools that offers extra classes in your chosen specialty to help you advance your career. Specializations are available for students who’d like to eventually earn a master’s degree with their nursing degree.
Furthermore, if you still haven’t decided which specialty you’d like to take, choosing a nursing school that offers a wide range of choices would be the perfect option. You can take your time and explore your options before deciding on which specialty you’d like to pursue.
- Know the Social and Recreational Options
When you’re pursuing a nursing program, expect that it’ll be difficult and you’re going to spend most of your days reading books and other learning materials to pass every exam. With that in mind, you also need to live up a little and improve your social interaction with your fellow students.
Aside from looking into a school’s reputation, you should also look into their social and recreational offerings that allow students to have a little fun and take their mind off the stress of academic work.
Identify if the school has:
- Intramural sports team
- Fraternities or sororities
- Gym or fitness center
- Open park or green spaces
- Fairs and festivals
- Interest-related organizations
- Student theater
- Student committee
- Nearby entertainment choices
These activities will have an enjoyable and fruitful school and social life. However, if you’re attending a school with so many entertainment choices nearby, be careful and learn to limit yourself. Some students get addicted to these activities and focus on them instead of going to their classes.
- Consider Nursing School Rankings
If you’d like to be a student of a top nursing school, check the current nursing school rankings. Nursing school rankings can be worldwide, country-wide, or city-wide. If you’re looking into finding a nursing school near you, look into the city-wide rankings and start from there.
Just remember that great rankings don’t define a great campus life experience. Rankings are based on the data and statistics of the students as a whole and are not taken individually.
- See If There Are Nearby Work Opportunities
If you need to work while you study to meet your financial needs, check if there are any work opportunities near your school campus so you wouldn’t have to travel back and forth, wasting time that could be used for studying.
On the other hand, some campuses offer on-campus employment and work-study placement for students. However, those spots are reserved for students who really need financial aid.
As a nursing student, you may want to look for job opportunities that’s related to your profession as it can help to boost your resume, giving you an edge over your fellow applicants. Consider working in a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facilities that have job openings for nursing students.
- Learn the School’s Clinical Rotation
Clinical rotation is an important part of any nursing program as it provides students a hands-on experience in the nursing field. All nursing students need to go through clinical rotation to pass their degree.
Some nursing schools offer rotations in a specific facility. If the school’s facility isn’t in the field that you wish to pursue, you may want to widen your options.
Aside from the facility, you should also find out if your school offers part-time clinical rotation, especially if you’re a working student. Check whether the school allows flexible options, or if they have special considerations for working students.
- Know The Classroom Structure Of Your Program
Typically, the classroom structure of your nursing program may have a significant impact your education. For example, some students may find it best to study and learn in large lecture settings while seated with the rest of their classmates. However, there are other students who may want to take online classes or opt for small classes.
That’s why whatever classroom setting you want, make sure to check the number of students accepted per class in the nursing program. If possible, you may want to consider observing a certain class while you’re visiting a school. By doing this, you’ll get a feel for which classroom structure may work best for your needs.
- Tour Your Area
Take the time to tour the school yourself to identify how far the campus is and what the traffic is like when you’re travelling back and forth. This will also help you determine if living on-campus is the better option for you.
Aside from knowing the travel time from your home to school, you should also try to do a campus visit to know if you can see yourself walking around from one building to another to take your classes. Along with this, you can also meet with staff and faculty members and raise any questions you may have. You can also choose to talk to different students and ask about the campus life and how they’re enjoying the school.
Moreover, when visiting your prospective nursing school, it’s also best to pay attention to the tools and equipment being used in the classrooms, libraries, and more importantly, the laboratories. These technologies include more than the computers being used in the school. These can also refer to any high-tech simulations in the laboratories that enable students to hone the clinical skills necessary to succeed in any nursing program.
- Consider the Education Costs
Unless money isn’t an issue on your end, you should always consider the tuition cost. Pre-med programs can be quite expensive, and you need to make sure that you have enough budget for that. Some schools offer exclusive fees, while others offer affordable ones. Make sure that you choose a nursing school that fits your budget.
Fortunately, most schools offer federal financial aid, work-study programs, and numerous scholarships you could apply for. In this way, you can cut back on your tuition fees and also be motivated to study harder.
- Validate School Accreditation
It’s vital that you look for a nursing program that’s accredited. An accredited school means that the campus’ policies, curriculum, and other factors have met the criteria of the state, guaranteeing that that school provides rightful education for the students.
If you study in an unaccredited school, it’ll be difficult for you to get financial aid or transfer credits to your master’s degree. It may even limit your possibilities for employment as most medical institutions look for students who have graduated from an accredited school.
- Check the School’s NCLEX Pass Rates
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a prerequisite for all aspiring nurses. You need to check if the school’s NCLEX pass rate is high. With a high passing rate, you’re more confident that the school prepares their students well.
How to Prepare for a Nursing Career
As you’re looking into taking the nursing path, you should prepare yourself so that you can be ready with the challenges that await you, plus gain an edge for your classes. Ideally, you should try to learn as early as possible to further hone your skills.
One way to get an early exposure with the medical field is through volunteering during your free time. You can choose to volunteer at a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility to care for the elderly, or any other medical setting that helps you learn more about the nursing profession.
Volunteering will help you decide if nursing the perfect fit for you. You can even get in touch with nurses from different fields, so you can see which specialization sparks your interest.
- Learn CPR/First Aid
If you’re entering the medical field, you need to know how to perform CPR and first aid during an emergency. This will allow you to help people experiencing physical injuries or wounds that needs to be taken care of immediately before heading to the emergency room, reducing any complications and additional damage.
CPR and emergency first aid are necessary for everyone to learn, however in the medical field, it’s almost a requirement as it’s a basic part of saving lives.
- Improve Your School Performance
If you’re still a high school student looking into taking a nursing program, you should boost your school performance to increase your chances of getting into a good nursing school.
A student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) matters when applying for a nursing school as it helps to determine if they have the capacity to thrive in a pre-med course. If the student holds a leadership position, it can also create a good impression with the nursing school.
Aside from your academic performance, nursing schools also look at other aspects of your student life. They might check see your attendance record to help them determine if you’ll be having attendance issues as one of their students. Nursing schools may also ask for a good moral certificate.
Remember, discipline is critical in the field of nursing. Your hands could change a person’s life so it’s important for schools to know that you’re planning to take nursing school seriously.
Finding a nursing program near you can be difficult due to location constraints and other related issues. However, if you’re considering a face-to-face class setting, then, choosing a nearby school allows you to save a lot of money by reducing housing or relocation expenses, plus you get to spend more time with your family.
If you want to make sure you’re picking the right nursing program that meets your needs, keep the tips mentioned above in mind and it’ll be much easier for you to make a great choice.