Researching Nursing Schools: What To Consider
There are many factors to take into account when researching and eventually applying for nursing schools. Here are some suggestions to make sure that you are completely confident that the nursing school you choose is a perfect fit.
Physical learning is important while attending nursing school, and if you need to drive many miles to get hands-on academic support or to attend clinical, you’ll want to reconsider your options. Ideally, you’ll want to find a school located near your home or with multiple satellite campuses around your area. This allows you to allocate time to studying rather than driving.
Additionally, if you live in a rural area where most schools longer than an hour-long drive, you could to consider an online program—take, for instance, the Rasmussen College RN to BSN program. Programs like this allow students already equipped with an RN degree to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in nursing fully online through interactive coursework.
Class Schedules and Sizes
Does the college offer a variety of clinical and classroom learning styles? Are residential or online classes best for your learning style? Is there an opportunity to take classes in both modalities?
Two other questions you’ll want to consider is “What is the average class size for the nursing students?” and “What is the ratio of students to faculty?” This important information is often a reflection of how much one-on-one attention you could get if needed/wanted. There is no right answer to any of these questions—just make sure that you do enough background to make an informed decision.
Some colleges offer clinical rotations while attending the correlating class; while some have required hours set up at the end of the course work. What will work best for your learning and life style? Does the college offer a variety of options for clinical learning?
For instance, many colleges offer clinical sites at hospitals or long term care facilities but how many will get you into seeing what a career in forensic nursing is like? What about prison nursing? Nursing politics?”
“Where do you see your career heading?” are questions everyone should ask while researching nursing schools. Often a variety of clinical experiences allows students to see the nursing career in a different light.
NCLEX Exam Pass Rates
The percentage of students who pass the NCLEX exam the first time and not have to retake the exam over and over is a sign of quality education. Ask your prospective school pass rates of the school in past years as well. What is their track record? Compare the college’s NCLEX pass rates to the national average—this will speak a lot to the overall academic quality of the nursing school.
Approachability of Academic Leadership
How often do you have access to the Dean of Nursing or other academic leadership? How quickly do they respond to the needs of a student? This often overlooked aspect of college is not to be dismissed. You never know when you could use the assistance of leadership to ask about an academic concern, discuss professional growth, or career ideas.
Will your prospective college support you post-graduation? Will they offer free services (resume building, interview skills seminars, mock interviews) in order for you to successfully compete with others searching for that optimal job? Ideally, you will want to seek a college that provides both NCLEX training and career placement services.
This list is not all encompassing, however; it is a good start of what questions to ask or consider so that you are a confident nursing program student and have the best learning experience possible.