nursing school choices

How To Choose A Nursing School

nursing school choicesThere are a lot of really good nursing schools and choosing them can be quite the task. If you are going to pick the best nursing school, or the one that best meets your needs, there are many factors to consider.

Word of mouth and online research are good ways to start tour quest for finding the best nursing school that suits you. Everyone has different tastes. Whether it be culture, location, price, percentage of students graduated, and career counseling programs, these are some of the things that one must consider when searching for their “best” choice.

Anyone can say a certain school is better than another, or this one is the best, but ultimately it comes down to what the student feels is the best school for them.

Whether a school offers financial aide is another factor that one would also have to consider. The qualities of the teaching staff as well as the quality of the facilities in which they’ll attend classes are also a factor in determining which school may be the best.

What hospitals or clinics they’ll do their clinical trials in are also at play. Do these hospitals and clinics have student friendly staff and atmospheres? Do they have the latest high tech equipment? These are valid questions that the student must also consider in their search.

Another factor could involve the local economy. How far from home will a student have to travel for school also should be included in a student’s quest for the perfect school.

The quality and competency of the teaching staff also is a major factor that students need to look at. Almost all nursing schools follow the same standard curriculum. But some schools go further in-depth with their teaching and that is one of the keys to look at when selecting the perfect school. How well a school teaches its students is key to the school selection process.

Does the student want to attend a school in the city, suburbs or country? Is the student willing to move a large distance away from home to attend the best school for them?

There are over 700 baccalaureate programs in the United States alone for prospective students to consider, so doing your research is paramount in deciding which is the best school to ensure that you graduate and have a rewarding career in nursing.

nursing school classesConsider your personal needs when considering various nursing schools. Do you want to work in a large health care system such as a health maintenance organization or medical center? Would you prefer a large and more heavily structured environment or a school that offers more flexibility in terms of, say, being able to integrate a part time work schedule into your class studies? Or do you prefer smaller, community based operation?

If you do not have any healthcare experience, it would be best to gain some insight into the industry by volunteering or working part-time in a care facility such as a hospital or an outpatient clinic. Talking to nurse professionals about their work will also help you determine how your attributes may apply to the nursing field.

You should ask yourself some of these questions during your search:

  • How involved is the faculty of the nursing program in developing students for today’s healthcare industry?
  • How strong is the school of nursing’s affiliation with clinics and hospitals?
  • Is there assurance that a student of the nursing college will gain an up-to-date educational experience for the current job market?
  • Are a variety of care settings available?
  • How much time in clinics is required for graduation from the nursing college?
  • What are the nursing program’s resources in terms of computer and science laboratories?
  • Does the nursing school work with hospitals and community-based centers to provide healthcare?
  • How available is the faculty of the school of nursing to oversee a student’s curriculum?
  • What kind of student support is available in terms of study groups and audiovisual aids?
  • What kind of counseling from faculty members and administrators is available to help students develop well-rounded, effective progress through the program?
  • What are the specialties that a particular nursing school program offers?

Visiting several schools and talking to their program’s guidance counselors will give you a better understanding of how a particular nursing program or nursing school will fit your needs. By visiting these potential schools, you can get a closer look at the facilities, the faculty, its staff members’ credentials, and the focus of the program. It also allows you to take a good look at what each program and school can offer in terms of job placement after graduation.

Take notes during each visit and make a list of the pros and cons of each school to help you narrow down your final choice. If need be, re-visit the schools that are on your short list and in doing so, you may find things that you missed on your first visit that may or may not be positive.

One more important thing to consider before making you final selection is the teacher to class size ratio. If the class size is too large, then in most cases the teacher has more on his or her plate than a school with a lower class to teacher ratio. Smaller classes mean that the teacher is able to spend more time with individual students or on a particular topic to give a more through teaching of the subject matter.

In summary, picking the best nursing school to match your needs is not an easy thing to do. What’s most important is to make sure that you do your homework. You want to research as much as you possibly can, get all of the answers to every question you have, speak to as many people as possible, and then start narrowing your choices down. Once you get the list down to 2 or 3 schools, seek further help from people that you trust to make the final decision. Once you make that final decision, know 100% in your heart that you have made the right choice for you. Nursing school is hard, but if you find the right one for you it will be a lot easier!

If you have any thoughts or questions on the subject, we would love to hear from you.


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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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