Quickest HealthCare Degrees
How to Choose a Nursing School
One of the biggest decisions when starting a nursing career is the choice of a nursing school. The medical field is evolving, and nursing is changing along with it. This makes this choice more crucial than ever.  


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How To Get Into Nursing School
  Nursing school is an advanced course usually completed after high school. Since the student must be admitted to a college or university, maintaining good grades is also extremely crucial. The competition to enter the nursing major is filled with many excellent applicants.

The nursing curriculum is a combination of the art of nursing, science and social sciences. The requirements to get into nursing school focus on these areas. The most helpful science courses are those that focus on the biology of human beings. This will be a key area of the curriculum. Nursing classes cover human development, psychology, cultural behaviors during illness and the effect society has on health care. Prerequisites for nursing include courses in psychology, sociology and human development. An enormous help is to volunteer at a hospital or take a course in basic nursing care if one is offered by the occupational training associated with your high school.
Choosing Your Nursing School
  There are several main factors to keep in mind when selecting your school. These are type of school, percentage of students who pass the state nursing boards, membership with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC or nlnac accredited), and admission policies. Choosing the wrong school can derail your career before it begins. Simply going with the closest or cheapest school is not always the best choice. Let's look at the factors in depth.  
Types of Nursing Schools
  All nursing schools are not at the same. There are three types of nursing schools that train students to be a Registered Nurse (RN). These are diploma or three-year schools, two-year schools and four-year courses. Diploma schools often provide the most direct care experience for a graduate but are becoming largely extinct due to their need to be associated with a working hospital. Diploma nurses work for the hospital and attend classes to complete their training. The hospital work is year round instead of limited to quarters or semesters. This is why diploma nurses have more practical experience.

Two-year courses for the RN are found at community colleges and feature A.A. degrees. These courses prepare students to pass the nursing boards as an entry-level nurse. Graduates are ready to start work on a general hospital floor after graduation.

Four-year courses also prepare the student to pass the RN boards but they offer the student additional training and background to move beyond the basic nursing and include a B.S. degree. Administration, nurse practitioner positions, nurse anesthetists and midwifes all require a four-year degree to apply for the additional training needed for these advanced positions. Many two-year students find that they need to go back to school and complete the four-year degree to further their career.

Other schools provide year long courses to train students to be a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), an assistant nurse to the RN, or a six month course to be a Nursing Assistant. A nursing assistant gives care but does not perform other duties that the LVN and RN are licensed to carry out. These types of courses are at community colleges, adult schools or high school occupational training classes. Some community colleges offer both LVN and RN courses.

The newest type of schools are nursing distance learning programs. These schools handle the classroom work on line and arrange times for students to come in and do the hands-on part of the program. Students who are already working in the field often use their job hours to qualify for part of these programs. This type of school is usually not recommended for someone with no experience in nursing, but some students with no nursing background have made a success of it.
Percentage Passing the State Nursing Board and Accreditation
  It is essential to choose a school that has a high percentage of students that pass the state nursing boards each year. The usual average to look for is about 85%. Each state nursing board can tell you where your intended school stands. This information is often available online. A school that fails to meet this standard each year goes on probation and can lose its accreditation with both the state, the NLNAC and CCNE. The NLNAC is a national organization that accredits nursing schools of all levels. A school must be currently accredited when a student graduates in order to sit for the state boards. You don't want your nursing department to close down during your course, so start at a school in good standing in the first place. Four-year and masters programs are also accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE or ccne accredited), a national organization supported by the United States Department of Education. The CCNE is needed for a school to received federal money for their students. The school’s accreditation with CCNE should be checked for four-year nursing programs.  
Admission Policies at Your Nursing School
  Often nursing students face a double admission situation, especially at state and community colleges. First a student must be admitted to their school or college just like any other new student. Then a student has to apply for admission to the nursing major, often including a nursing school essay similar to those required for most college and university admission applications. Nursing programs are impacted, or simply, they have too many students applying for positions. To solve this, the schools set up an additional application process. This means a student needs to fulfill one to two years of classes and then apply for the two or four year program. Yes, this means you. You will be spending this additional time in school. So, plan your money to allow for this additional time. Some schools, usually expensive private ones, combine admissions. If you can work out the expense this is a less stressful way to study nursing. However, the reality is most students will be dealing with impaction. Other policies to look at are pregnancy and medical leaves, absence and personal leave options, and how the school deals with classes that are failed or incomplete.  
Other Considerations for Nursing School
  Transportation will be needed. The student will have to travel not only to school but to various clinical areas and sometimes both on the same day. It is not easy to do this with public transportation. A working vehicle is an enormous help.
Working while in nursing school can be extremely difficult to do. The course load is heavy, the hours are long and start early. Many students are able to take their nursing boards now before graduation and this helps out with finances. Try to plan not to work if possible. Even as a student nurse there is a responsibility to protect the lives of patients. You need to be at your best, not coming off of a late night from a job.
  Nursing is an exciting career but like most things requires careful planning to succeed. This extends to your choice of a school. Doing the proper research and using patience will no doubt result in selection of a fantastic school to accomplish your goals.  
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