Jun 29 2014
Considering a career as a nurse? The field is growing every day, but unfortunately, that also means an upswing in the number of nursing schools in the U.S., and that means more choices and indecision for you. How can you be sure you’re picking the best nursing school for your future career? Here are five tips.
1: Decide Your Specialty
There’s a large variety of nursing programs out there, and different schools offer different focuses both academically and in terms of internships and post-graduate employment opportunities. You’ll need to have some kind of career plan, even a vague one, before you pick a school.
2: Find Something Centrally Located
Not only will it affect your commute, but nursing schools with a close proximity to hospitals often have bigger and more developed programs than rural ones without the same kind of resources. It may be worth a lengthy drive in order to enjoy the best possible courses and clinical rotations in your region.
3: Consider Class Size
Are you looking for a school with a small teacher-to-student ratio so you’ll receive individualized attention? Or are you more comfortable in large classes where you won’t be singled out? While it’s a myth that class size alone determines the quality of a school, it might not be a bad idea to keep your preferences in mind while creating a shortlist.
4: Comb Their Reputation
You’ll want to look into their accreditation, of course, but that shouldn’t be your only point of consideration. Think about their acceptance and graduation rates as well. Look into the average scores of their students on NCLEX exams. You might also want to talk to previous alumni or even current students to get real, on-the-ground feedback about what the facilities are like.
5: Have A Backup Plan
It isn’t uncommon for nursing students to change their minds about their specialties once they’re elbow-deep in the realities of their field. For example, some nursing students opt to become administrative healthcare professionals instead. If you can find a school like the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which offers a multidisciplinary curriculum, you won’t have to put all your eggs in a single basket.
These are just five steps to choosing a good nursing school. You’ve picked a commendable career, but nobility alone isn’t enough to help you make such an important decision. Use these tips to receive the best education possible before you go out into the world as a healer.