Once you have decided that you want to become a nurse, the next step is to figure out which nursing program will fit your needs and what school will work best for you. There are many things to consider, and much depends on your current life situation and your education goals. Education is expensive, and it is important that you get the most out of it. Here are some items to consider when searching for your school.
Keep your current situation in mind.
While many have made their mind up to pursue a career in nursing right out of high school, this is not always the case. If you are moving directly from high school into nursing school, then a traditional college is likely your best choice. However, if you have been out of high school for some time, are currently in the workforce and nursing school is a career change for you, then you might have different needs. There are night school programs and some online programs that can enable you to get your education while still working at your current career. Choosing a school that will fit your particular situation and lifestyle is very important.
What kind of nurse do you want to be?
While a Registered Nurse (RN) program is very popular, you can choose to specialize as part of your degree. Some choose to be a particular type of nurse, such as an emergency room nurse, an intensive care nurse, a surgical nurse or a home health care nurse. Others may pursue a graduate degree and become a nurse practitioner. If you are interested in a particular specialization, then you will want to make sure that the schools you are researching offer that specialization. You’ll also want to make sure that the school has a good reputation for that particular degree program. You also want to be open to the fact that many students make changes to their major throughout their college career; so be sure that the school offers a variety of nursing programs, not just the one that you are interested in right now.
Do you need to go to work right away?
While a bachelor degree is required for many nursing positions, there are positions available for those with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). If you are changing careers and trying to work and go to college at the same time, you may want to get an associate degree first, start your career in the nursing field, and continue your education while working as a nurse.
What level of education do you want?
A bachelor degree is highly recommended as a minimum level of education. If, however, you plan to continue on to a graduate degree, then you will want to research the qualifications needed for a graduate program in your preferred nursing discipline. Then you can check your perspective school to make sure that you will meet these qualifications as part of your undergraduate degree.