You’ve decided you want to become a nurse—congratulations! You’ve already taken the critical first step toward a successful and rewarding career. Now you have to choose a nursing school. . . where to begin? The options can be overwhelming, but answering a few basic questions will put you in a better position to find the right program for you.
Will a BSN be my first bachelor’s degree or my second?
If you don’t currently hold a bachelor’s degree, you’ll likely need to consider a traditional campus-based nursing school that combines general education with a professional nursing curriculum. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field—even one unrelated to nursing—you may be eligible for a second-degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Program. For example, Roseman University’s accelerated nursing program in Nevada is designed specifically for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. It uses a combination of online theory courses and hands-on clinical experience to prepare students to pass the nursing licensure exam and become an RN in just 16 months.
How quickly do I want to become a nurse?
If you’re looking to get started on your nursing career as quickly as possible, your best bet is an accelerated nursing program rather than the four years typical of traditional nursing school. Accelerated programs enable you to begin earning a return on your educational investment much sooner. You may also want to target programs that have multiple start dates per year and no wait list. This is especially important for those of you in California where nursing school wait lists are the rule instead of the exception. Roseman’s ABSN program takes just 16 months to complete, and we start new classes in February, July and October. Better yet, there no wait lists!
How far do I plan to advance in the field?
While many RNs hold associate’s degrees, more and more healthcare organizations are listing a BSN as a minimum requirement for new nurse hires. Recent studies have shown a strong link between the number of baccalaureate-educated nurses and successful patient outcomes. In fact, many hospitals with Magnet® status will only hire nurses with a BSN. Some popular nursing specialties such as nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives require a BSN and a master’s degree. So when deciding on a degree program, think about where you want your nursing career to take you.
Which aspects of an accelerated program are most important to me?
You may not be 100% sure which characteristics you’re looking for, but at a minimum, you’ll want to make sure your nursing program is accredited. Regional accreditations are the most highly valued since the requirements are the most stringent. Nursing programs usually have to be accredited by the state’s Board of Nursing as well. Other important factors include how many prerequisite courses you need to complete before you start the program and the clinical/experiential portion of the program—where do the clinical rotations take place? Will you gain a sufficient variety of patient experiences?
What’s my preferred learning style?
If you learn best in a traditional classroom setting, you may not be the right fit for a program that includes online courses. On the other hand, the flexibility offered by online courses could be a plus if you can only study or attend lectures at odd hours. If you’re on the fence about online learning, try taking an online nursing prerequisite course to test the waters. Roseman has a partnership with Marian University in Indianapolis, which offers the majority of the prereqs required for our ABSN program online. Click here to learn more about nursing prerequisites.
Once you’ve narrowed down your criteria, it’s time to begin identifying potential programs. The Internet is a good place to start—check school websites, nursing industry and information websites, online forums and blogs about nursing, and social media networks. Talk to existing nurses and current nursing students about their own programs. Read a few nursing-related publications. Talk to hospital personnel about where their nurses come from, and keep your ears open for program Open Houses, information sessions or events in the local community that cater to prospective nursing students. You can attend an Open House for Roseman’s ABSN program on Saturday, December 7! Click here to learn more and sign up.
Do you want to earn your BSN from one of the best nursing schools in Las Vegas? Learn more about Roseman University’s 16-month ABSN program by calling 877.885.8399 or downloading our ABSN roadmap for free.