If you are considering a career in nursing and are preparing to apply to various nursing schools, or if you are already a registered nurse and want to go back to nursing school to earn a bachelor’s degree or beyond, there are several things that you should consider first.
Nurses in general are very motivated to become lifelong learners since there is a certain amount of continuing education involved in the nursing field. This is important for nurses to stay current on all the latest advances in science and technology to assist them with dealing with the patients they are in charge of taking care of at their jobs.
Read on for 5 things you should consider before you go back to nursing school or head to nursing school in the first place.
1. Do You Have the Passion and Reasoning Skills for Nursing School?
You should definitely have a passion for taking care of others when it comes to their medical and physical needs. Before you embark on a career in nursing, you should be prepared for the stress that being a nursing student can bring yet love what you are doing and learning. If you are heading back to nursing school to earn your Bachelor of Science in nursing degree or a Master of Science in nursing degree, it’s imperative that you ensure that you are very passionate about furthering your education. Not only is nursing school stressful, but it is a time in your life when you could be pushed to your limits. If you are not enthusiastic about a career in nursing or about furthering your nursing education, there’s a great chance that you will not enjoy your time in nursing school to earn the degree you are aiming for in your career.
2. Do You Have the Time It Takes?
Either starting nursing school or going back to nursing school can be extremely time-consuming. Not only must you show up for all of your classes so that you do not miss important lectures from your nursing instructors, but you will need to attend several clinicals and labs throughout your nursing school endeavor. In the labs, you will learn hands-on skills that you will then practice on real people who are your patients in an actual hospital or clinic setting. It is important that you attend all of these that you can so that you gain the knowledge that you need from the practicums and clinical rotations to be able to do your job correctly once you enter the workforce as a nurse or as a nurse with an advanced degree. You will have very little free time to spend with family and friends while you were attending nursing school, so you need to be prepared for that also. Many nursing students have to work full or part-time jobs while attending classes which can be even more of a challenge when it comes to managing your time. You will need to be prepared for this so that you can stay organized and keep on track to finishing your nursing degree.
3. Consider the Money You Must Spend
Tuition payments when it comes to nursing school are not cheap. Before you head to nursing school, you need to ensure that you are set up financially to be able to handle the costs associated with nursing school. You will also need to consider the additional costs that come along with your degree program, such as textbooks, gasoline for commuting to and from nursing school, a laptop computer, and school supplies. These extra costs can add up quickly, so you need to be prepared for those along with your tuition. Keep in mind that there is financial aid available if you qualify and there are many scholarship programs you can work towards to help offset the costs of nursing school.
4. Make Sure the Program is a Good Fit
When you are considering different nursing schools to apply to, there are many things that you need to take into consideration. You’ll need to do your research on each program to find out what the teacher-to-student ratios are so if you need extra help, it will be there. You also need to find out if the nursing school faculty will be available at times outside the normal class times since you may need extra help when you are not actually in class. When it comes to the time commitment, you should possibly consider online nursing school programs or hybrid classes where you are in person for some classes but can take other coursework online. This is especially important if you intend to work full or part-time while attending nursing school because it can help you in the fact that you can study late at night if needed. You should also consider the course requirements as well as the number of clinical hours that you will have to fulfill for your degree program. If you are heading back to nursing school for a Master of Science degree in nursing, you will need to consider which special program concentration areas are available at each school that you apply to become a student. You will need to choose a program that closely matches your career needs as well as your learning style and personal goals.
5. Reach Out to Others
It is important to reach out to other nurses who have gone back to school to further their education or how many nurses felt about a particular school or program that they attended initially to be able to earn their degree in nursing as well as pass the state licensure test to be able to work as a nurse. You should have very candid discussions with these nurses so that you can find out about any hardships that they may have gone through while they were in nursing school. This practical and honest advice can help you in determining which nursing school will be the best fit for you and your situation. You can also ask your peers what worked best for them when it came to paying for nursing school, commuting to nursing school, if they took their courses online or through hybrid education instead of traditional methods, and many other things that you will need to consider before applying to nursing school.