Becoming a nurse is not for the faint of heart. The field of nursing is competitive; school is challenging from the moment you start the admission process to the moment you sit in for the NCLEX exam. And the current pandemic isn’t making it any easier for aspiring nurses who want to pursue an education in the field.
Most nursing education has moved online, which has affected students and institutions alike. While for some schools, such as Nightingale College, the switch to virtual learning has been instead a natural transition due to the extensive experience with online teaching the academic institutions have found it harder to cope with the challenges of moving everything – from lectures to clinicals online.
But even without the current constraints imposed on nursing education, studying to become a nurse is a tedious, time consuming, and plainly speaking, hard process. Before you decide to enroll in a Registered Nurse Program, you should know exactly what to expect. How hard is it going to be to get in? How difficult is it going to get once you are already in nursing school? Is it really that hard to pass nursing school? Will it get any easier once you graduate?
Keep on reading to find the answers to these questions and decide for yourself if nursing is the right career track for you.
There’s no debate about it: nursing is a rewarding career. You are on the frontline of fighting disease and your contribution to the healthcare system literally saves lives.
At the same time, it is a stable and fairly well-paid job. And the need for nurses is at an all-time high, so, by becoming a nurse, not only will you help individual patients during some of their most challenging times, you would be helping the entire healthcare system.
So far, nursing sounds amazing. And then you remember that there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with this profession, the demanding tasks, and the emotional side of the job. You count all of these various factors in and you find yourself asking:
Should I really become a nurse?
Regardless if you are just choosing a career path, if you want to switch to nursing because you no longer find meaning and satisfaction in your current job, or if you felt inspired by the tremendous courage and selflessness nurses display in this time of pandemic – we, at Nightingale College, are here to answer some of your most pressing questions about becoming a nurse.
The good, the bad, the in-between – this guide will discuss all the facets of nursing, so by the end of this piece you will be better equipped to make an informed and critical decision whether nursing is truly the path for you.
Do You Have What It Takes? Must-Have Qualities for a Nurse
Good nurses have a well-rounded set of skills that make them successful in their field and are crucial to their ability to save lives. Before we dive into what really makes nursing a good career choice, let’s take a minute and explore some of the skills and qualities all great nurses have in common.
You don’t necessarily need to check all the boxes, but if you’re considering a career in nursing you must work to nurture and improve these qualities.
Being patient is a valuable skill for nurses. The environment in which they’re working is defined by its fast-moving nature, so not only do nurses have to keep up with it, they must do so in a calm, composed manner. They might have to carry out multiple doctors’ orders or they might have to deal with stressed staff, noncompliant patients, demanding families – but in midst of tasks piling one on top of the other and pressures adding up, nurses must keep their composure and calmly solve things one by one. Sometimes, as a nurse, you have to patiently take a step back and ensure you never lose track of your main priority: taking care of patients with the highest level of professionalism.
The ability to adapt to change is one of the most important skills for nursing. The healthcare environment is constantly changing, shifting, improving, or quite the opposite – undergoing major crises. Policies change. Workflows change (take, for instance, the current pandemic situation: workflows have increased dramatically and nurses need to know how to deal with this in order to avoid burnout.) Even a patient’s state can change – someone who was in a stable condition a few minutes ago could be fighting for their life now.
In nursing, change is not linear and organized, so nurses must always be prepared to face the unexpected. Meanwhile, they must make sure this constant change isn’t taking a toll on their mental wellbeing.
According to a Nightingale College graduate who started her practice right when Covid-19 struck, flexibility is one of the most important qualities for a nurse. Find out more of her professional story in the video below.
The 5 Cs (Commitment, Conscience, Competence, Compassion, Confidence)
Nursing is more than just a career. It’s one’s way of being. Becoming a nurse means you should be ready to go above and beyond when needed, it means you are committed to upholding strong values and, above all, it means you are dedicated to caring for your patients. Commitment also applies to life-long learning, because, in nursing, the only way for you to keep delivering the highest quality care is if you never stop learning.
Conscience ensures nurses have a strong sense of moral responsibility and work ethically to represent the concerns of their patients. Conscious nurses display high levels of empathy, being able to put themselves in the patients’ shoes, which, in the long run, helps them be better professionals.
As a nurse, you must be the epitome of competence. Even the small details matter, such as arriving to work on time and presenting yourself in a professional manner. Nurses must hold themselves to a high standard of excellence and complete daily tasks to the best of their ability. Also, competence entails a need to continually develop your skills and knowledge as learning is a lifelong process in nursing.
Being understanding, empathetic, and considerate in nursing is of vital importance. Compassion helps nurses provide kind and attentive treatment at all times. It also helps them build nurse-patient relationships and find a deeper sense of meaning in their work.
“The number one thing that I always do is just reflect back on why I even went into nursing, and that was because I truly enjoy helping people. I want them to heal, I want them to know that I’m compassionate towards them and that I really care about their total outcome as a human being, not just as a patient.” Tayler Allen, RN.
This kind of selfless compassion should be at the heart of nursing because this is what’s going to make you a great nurse.
When going to a hospital, patients must be sure they will receive the highest quality care. Therefore, a nurse who isn’t confident will raise concerns among patients about their health and safety. Having confidence in their skills, education, and experiences will ensure nurses keep putting their best foot forward. This ability leads to positive outcomes in patient care.
Being able to put yourself in another person’s situation, recognize and appreciate their perspective, and think beyond your own concerns. That’s what empathy is. Basically, it’s the difference between feeling bad for someone and feeling bad with someone.
Empathy builds connections, so nurses must realize they are there for some of the most challenging days in the life of a person, hence they have a unique ability to provide powerful support. With empathetic nurses, patients feel heard, supported, cared for, and validated to a whole new level, which is important to their healing process. As a nurse, being empathetic should be integrated into your everyday practice.
Among the skills a nurse should have, communication is an important one. Nurses are usually the unifying link between physicians, caregivers, patients, and families, so they must know how to communicate with all of them accordingly.
According to a 2014 research paper – Communication in Nursing Practice, nurses who display courtesy, kindness, and sincerity (both through their words and actions) are more successful at establishing a good rapport with their patients. Good communication between nurses and patients is essential for the nurses’ ability to provide individualized care for each patient. Communication is imperative in all areas of nursing, from prevention, treatment, therapy, rehabilitation to education, and health promotion.
Working as a nurse requires you to be reliable. People need to know they can count on you, from patients to your fellow nurses and doctors. Providing healthcare is a team endeavor and you must be willing and dedicated to play your part and make your indispensable contribution to helping people.
To a certain extent, all nurses are leaders. Their unique position in the healthcare ecosystem allows them to guide patients towards wellness, help out new co-workers, and even help doctors expand their knowledge/information about their patients’ situations. All of these require leadership skills.
Willingness to Learn
Healthcare is an environment that’s ever-changing and nurses must keep up with the pace by always being up to date with new techniques, procedures, and equipment. Continuous education has become the center-stone of the profession. Many hospitals require nurses to complete a certain level of continuing education every few years to keep the validity of their license. Also, of course, if you want to advance in your career, you must be willing to learn and advance your education by getting a BSN and/or an MSN.
What Are the Benefits of a Nursing Career?
With great responsibility come great benefits and nursing is surely a career that is rich with those. The road to becoming a nurse might be challenging, but in the end, the benefits make the investments of time, money, and energy worth it.
Great Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. That is largely because of the national nursing shortage, caused by (among other factors) an aging population and insufficiency of nursing faculty.
Because the healthcare system is in such distress and the need for nurses is spiking, the job outlook for the profession is great. According to a survey by the AACN75% of new BSN graduates and 75% of MSN graduates had a job offer at the time of graduation. The same survey found that within 4 to 6 months from graduation 94% of both BSN and MSN graduates had a job offer. So, when going into nursing school you’ll have a high level of confidence that you should be able to secure a job shortly after graduation.
According to an article in The Atlantic, the healthcare industry is the biggest employer in the U.S. Not only that, but healthcare is a stable industry and the need for nurses is only growing, so you can rest assured that not only will you find a job, you will keep it, as nursing is generally a recession-proof job.
Bureau of Labor Statistics projections indicates there will be about 210,400 openings for registered nurses each year, on average, over the decade. The need for nurses will only be further accentuated by the retirement of seasoned nurses, with over one million nurses expected to retire by 2030. With the need for nurses only growing in numbers, now is the time to join the ranks, both for the sake of a safe, stable career and for the sake of your country.
Nurses are also compensated fairly well. Per the BLS, the average salary of a registered nurse in 2019 was $77,460. If you choose to advance your education, you will enjoy significantly larger paychecks, as careers that require MSN pay (sometimes a lot) better. For instance, nurse anesthetists make around $181,040, nurse practitioners – $111,840 and nurse midwives – $108,810.
Nursing generally gets high ratings in the job satisfaction department. 83% of nurses in the AMN Healthcare 2017 Survey of registered nurses declared they were satisfied with their choice of nursing as a career. This view was consistent with younger nurses, as well as with the older generations of RNs.
Numerous Career Opportunities
The nursing field is, in fact, tremendously varied. You can pursue careers in both hospital and non-hospital environments; certain career paths will give you more control over your schedule, or you could even choose a career that combines nursing with one of your other biggest passions. Some of the numerous career opportunities that a degree in nursing bring are:
Primary patient care. If you want to work hands-on with patients, if you like the dynamism and the unexpectedness of the job, consider a job in an emergency room. Working in an ER you’ll always be right in the heart of the action.
Work in private practice. Generally, you’ll enjoy more independence, but you will have to specialize in a certain area of nursing (depending on the specialization of the doctor you’re working with)
Hospice care nurses. As baby-boomer population numbers are reaching an all-time high, there is an increased need for geriatric care. So, you could choose to treat older patients in assisted living facilities.
Nurse educators. This is a career path that is typically less stressful than that of a typical RN. You might find employment both in hospital settings and non-clinical, such as colleges and universities If you love teaching and care for the future of the healthcare system, becoming a nurse educator might be for you. Find out more about how and why you should become a nurse educator.
Nurse-midwives. If contributing to the miracle of life is a particularly powerful incentive for you and you enjoy working with mothers-to-be and newborns, you could consider midwifery.
If you’re interested in technology, you could be a nurse informaticist.
You can take your leadership skills to the next level and pursue a career in nursing leadership. If responsibility doesn’t scare you, you could manage whole nursing departments, as well as facilities and budgets.
These are only a few of the possible career paths you might embark on as a nurse. But depending on what you like and what you seek to get out of the job, you could find a nursing career that is absolutely perfect for you.
The Possibility of Pursuing an Online Education
Nursing allows for the possibility of (at least partially) studying online. Should you consider getting your BSN in nursing, you could opt for the blended distance format which allows learners to engage in online didactic instruction with on the ground experiential learning. Online learning options are more flexible and career friendly – you can still learn while working full time; they’re not limited by geographic boundaries and allow you to assimilate information in your own time.
Things to Consider Before Becoming a Nurse
As rewarding as this field is, it does come with its own set of challenges. Nursing is a demanding profession, both physically and psychologically. If you’re leaning towards a profession in the nursing field, these are some of the main things you must take into consideration.
Depending on your work environment, your shifts could be lengthier and more demanding. Nurses who work in private doctor’s offices might work 8-hour shifts for 5 days a week, but since hospitals are working around the clock, the typical 8 to 5 shift is not really a possibility for RNs working in hospitals. Instead, they might end up working three 12-hour shifts, followed by roughly two to five days off.
12-hour shifts, while indeed exhausting, have their benefits: they provide better continuity (patients are under the care of a different nurse only twice a day), the shortened work-week is generally appealing to nurses, as it can translate in better work-life balance, more flexibility and more time spent with the family. However, you must also keep in mind that you might be required to work night, weekend, and even holiday shifts.
It’s a Challenging Environment
Nurses often need to work long hours under stressful conditions, which can result in fatigue, injury, and job dissatisfaction. There are also other factors that make the healthcare environment particularly stressful. There is physical labor involved – from lifting patients and equipment to being on your feet all day long with little break.
Also, there’s a higher risk of exposure to work-related dangers, such as exposure to infectious diseases. The current COVID-19 pandemic is making it increasingly evident how challenging nursing can be. Nurses have to deal with understaffing, equipment shortages, longer shifts, and various other pressures. In addition to all of these, because they’re on the frontline of defense, nurses are also extremely vulnerable to contracting the virus.
We’ve mentioned this before, but there is really no way to downsize the importance of continuous learning in nursing. Even if you’ve already completed your studies, hospitals might require you to follow training in areas such as clinical management, pain management, recognizing child or domestic abuse, or ethics.
According to AACN, 43.2% of hospitals and other healthcare settings are requiring new hires to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while 82.1% of employers are expressing a strong preference for BSN program graduates. So, even if you have a valid nursing license from your ADN degree, you might want to consider an RN-to-BSN program in order to obtain your bachelor’s degree in nursing and become more competitive on the job market.
How Can You Actually Become a Nurse?
If you’ve read through all of the above and, in retrospect, you’ve discovered you have the qualities of a good nurse and the benefits of a nursing career outweigh the challenges, you might find yourself wondering… how do you actually become a nurse?
If that’s the case, keep on reading and you’ll find everything you need to know in order to start your career in healthcare.
Get your high school diploma or your GED diploma. Before starting your formal nursing education, you must have a certain level of knowledge in elementary subjects such as Math, English, and Science.
Earn a degree in nursing. Earning a degree in nursing is the first step towards getting into this profession. The most common and sought after is a BSN. However, some positions are also available to candidates with an ADN degree, while others are exclusively available for MSN trained nurses. Explore some of the available nursing degrees and decide which one is the best fit for you.
Associate Degree in Nursing. By earning an ADN you will get you the foundational knowledge and skills needed for nursing practice. ADN learners are prepared for entry-level practice as a nurse to work in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care clinics, and long term care.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing.More and more nurses are opting for BSN degrees, not only because it is expected that a BSN will become a mandatory qualification in the field (IOM has asked for an increase in the number of BSN prepared nurses in the workforce to 80%), but also because holding a BSN opens the door for significantly more career opportunities tailored more precisely to your needs and preferences. You should make sure the college you choose to attend is accredited to avoid challenges during job interviews. Find out everything you need to know about national and regional accreditation and ensure that the institution you choose is properly accredited.
Master of Science in Nursing. Should you want to advance your nursing career even further, earning an MSN is the next step. An MSN degree is an advanced, post-graduate degree that will provide the skills and advanced training for more specialized roles, such as nurse educator, nurse practitioner, or nurse-midwife. Naturally, the higher you climb on the educational ladder, the better the benefits: higher compensation, more flexible schedules, less stressful work environments.
Apply for RN licensure and take the NCLEX-RN® exam. Aside from simply applying to a program, you must actually complete its requirements, which will lead you to the next step: applying for RN licensure and taking the NCLEX-RN® exam.
Start your nursing practice. Upon completion of a nursing program and passing the NCLEX-RN® exam, you can start looking for a job. Fortunately, nursing jobs are widely available, the growth of the field being almost double in nursing compared to other jobs. However, keep in mind that certain locations and specialties might be more competitive.
Keep on learning. Nursing is an ever-evolving field so you must make sure you are always on top of your game in order to offer the best possible care for your patients.
What Type of Program Should You Choose?
When it comes to nursing education, luckily, you have lots of options. From online to on-campus or hybrid programs – you just need to choose the best fit for you.
On-campus BSN programs are probably the best option if you’re starting nursing from scratch. This is a good option if you don’t have to divide time with other important responsibilities, such as work or family.
Blended-distance BSN programs. They are great if you have no prior nursing experience, but you’d like to enjoy the benefits of online education. You will engage in online coursework which is combined with learning activities close to home or in your community. This type of program takes as few as 32 months to complete. However, you also have the option of studying at an accelerated pace and completing the program faster.
Online RN-to-BSN programs. This is a program dedicated to RNs who are already working in the field. It takes up to 12 months to graduate, but you can also opt for an online RN-to-BSN program with an accelerated timeline, which can be completed in just 8 months.
Keep in mind that getting your BSN fully online is not possible as most online programs have an offline component that requires you to complete labs and clinicals in order to get hands-on experience.
Nursing is a wonderful career for everyone. In healthcare, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, young or old. All that matters is a strong passion for helping others. If you’re dedicated, empathetic and your main drive in saving lives and making a difference, then nursing IS the right career for you. Do you have the courage to follow your calling?
Education takes time, especially in the medical and nursing fields. Sometimes it takes longer than expected. Currently, due to nursing faculty shortages, nursing shortages, and brick-and-mortar limits, many nursing schools experience far greater demand than supply, resulting in waitlists. But what’s the average nursing program waitlist time?
In this blog, we’ll discuss average waitlists times by program and what’s better: sacrificing a bit of extra dough for a private program with no waitlist, or waiting longer for a seat in a cheaper public program. Is it worth it to invest more than expected in your education, in a different college than you expected, to become an RN earlier? Let’s take a look.
The average waitlist time for a nursing program
Public schools are the ones that attract potential nursing learners the most. The low cost of their programs is attractive to learners who don’t want to go into debt for their education. This section will cover public schools’ waiting times as almost all private nursing schools, like ours, Nightingale College, have no waitlists for their programs.
Factor in your area
All waitlists vary by area. The more schools an area has, the lower the demand for education will be and therefore, the waitlists will be shorter. The waitlists often vary by state, due to approval and licensing issues. California, for example, is notorious for long waitlists. Areas that have more schools often have shorter waitlists.
Factor in your program
Waitlist time also varies by program of study: ADN, BSN, or RN-to-BSN. Let’s go over each of these individually.
Average waitlist times for ADN Programs Associate degree nursing programs have the longest average waitlist time due to being the highest demand program. “The Future of Nursing,” a book by the Institute of Medicine, reads, “At present, the most common way to become an RN is to pursue an ADN at a community college.” With that being the case, it makes sense that community colleges have the longest wait time for ADNs, so it may be cheaper to pursue a degree in another avenue. In some areas, you can expect to wait up to three years for a community college program. At a public or private university, the wait can vary from one semester to four. Learn more about Nightingale College’s ADN Program, which has no waitlist.
Average waitlist times for BSN Programs Average waiting times for Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree programs are slightly less than the ADN counterparts in the same city. However, the waitlist time varies by area, with those areas that have large numbers of schools (usually urban areas) usually having shorter waits. Waits can still average from one to four semesters. Learn more about Nightingale College’s BSN Program, which has no waitlist.
Average waitlist times for RN-to-BSN Programs Many RN-to-BSN programs are online and, as a result of this, it is rare to find an RN-to-BSN program with a waitlist. If your program of interest has a waitlist, look into other comparable options to see if something else might work. Learn more about Nightingale College’s RN-to-BSN Program, which has no waitlist.
Will completing pre-reqs for a nursing program help me get in faster?
One of the biggest traps that nursing learners fall into is completing pre-reqs for a school’s nursing program before being accepted. Many learners will do all the necessary prerequisites with a school before they have been guaranteed a start date for the nursing courses. This is a BIG mistake, because even though you’ve completed some courses with the institution, they are not required to admit you to the program, and you may not get as much credit for your work at another school. So when you complete those courses, they may simply put you on a waitlist for another four semesters – when you might’ve completed an entire nursing degree in the same amount of time at another school! Which brings us to our next point.
Is it worth it to wait?
Should you wait around for a slot in a nursing program to open up? Or should you pay extra and get into a program that will admit you right away? Here’s your answer: compute the opportunity cost.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculate whether or not waiting for a nursing program seat will be more advantageous for you in the long run:
Call a program you are interested in that has a waitlist, and ask what the LONGEST waitlist time could be for someone wanting to enroll (just to be safe.) Ask this program what their tuition is per semester. Call any additional programs that you may be researching and interested in applying to and ask the same questions.
Call a program that has no waitlist and ask what their tuition is per semester.
Compare what you could be making as an RN with the difference in cost.
Here’s a video that outlines the process of calculating opportunity cost:
As discussed in this video, a private college’s program may end up being cheaper than a public one due to the long waitlist times at public universities. If both programs are of similar caliber, you could become an RN faster with a private college. In summary, in most cases it is NOT worth it to wait for spot to become available, as the opportunity cost of a nurse’s salary is higher than the difference in tuition!
Should you consider an LPN first?
Another option you have is to become an LPN first, then complete an LPN to RN program. We don’t recommend this option as it is far more expensive than the other options.
Don’t let the price stop you!
Although the price of some nursing programs may be daunting, nursing school is an investment. Once you graduate, you will be working as an RN and the payments that seemed so astronomical before may seem a little more within reach. Calculate the opportunity cost of a waitlist so you don’t end up paying more money in the long run! Many schools also offerfinancial aid help, orscholarships to lessen the financial burden. So, instead of waiting in a waitlist to start pursuing your dream career, make an investment in your future!
Everyone wants to be helpful, compassionate and trusted, but does everyone want to do that for a profession? This article talks about different attributes of nursing, and hopefully it will help you answer the question “Is nursing right for me?”.
If saving lives is your lifetime dream
Having the opportunity to save someone’s life is not a daily occurrence … unless you work in a hospital. All nurses have a wild spectrum of skills, but one of them is being CPR certified. As you all know, that is a very crucial skill to have in times of when someone is choking, not breathing, or entering cardiac arrest. This, along with many other skills that you will utilize in the hospital, will LITERALLY save lives. Major things like CPR, codes, or other intense moments such as that can happen often, but making patients comfortable, easing their pain, and being their voice when they have none also saves lives. Spending an extra five or 10 minutes with a patient just to see how they’re doing or feeling can flip their day rightside up.
If you have inexhaustible amounts of sympathy and empathy
Are you a sympathetic and compassionate person? Sympathy and empathy are HUGE traits that are important for nurses to exemplify. When a nurse feels and shows sympathy to a patient, it shows that they care, and caring is your main responsibility as a nurse. Are you willing to put yourself in your patient’s shoes and treat them with respect, even when they are being frustrating or you’re at the end of your rope?
If you want a flexible schedule
Being a nurse has the benefit of having a flexible schedule that accommodates a busy lifestyle, whether you are a night owl or an early bird. Nurses are needed at ALL times of the day regardless of location.
If you crave an active workspace
Not everybody wants a desk job. If you’re looking for something other than a desk job – quite the opposite, in fact – nursing is the true epitome of that. Be prepared to clock in more than a few miles on your FitBit with each shift, because you’ll be rounding and picking up those steps!
As a nurse you will rarely get bored. There are always so many places to be and so many things to do. Instead of sitting at a desk waiting for or making phone calls all day, you can be out and about constantly being productive and proactive. That proactivity pays off, because in the end of the day, you can give yourself a proud pat on the back for the day full of service and good deeds.
If you like leaving options open
If you’re looking for a career with a very wide variety of things to do, nursing has MANY different specialties to choose from. There’s at least 99! Although they are all “nursing” jobs, all of them focus on very different things. For example, there are nurses who work in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) that work with both ill and premature babies, there’s nurses who work in Labor and Delivery, Long Term Care, Psych, Community Health, Med/Surg, and many, many other places. For more information about nursing specialties, click here to read more details on another blog!
Nurses who work in the NICU are very different from nurses who research how to improve outcomes of health in the population. There is a very wide range of career options to dive into in the nursing industry, so don’t worry about ever getting bored!
If you’re concerned about job security
Nurses will ALWAYS be a necessary part in the healthcare system. Those systems cannot function without them. Even when the economic status is uncertain, nurses can be confident that there will still be a demand for nurses. so job security is the last of things to worry about.
Nurses are not just normal people with an altruistic trait. They are selfless individuals who have devoted their life and career to be at the service of others who are in greater need than themselves. Nursing is not for everybody. An individual must have passion and the willpower to accept the reality to constantly be at the service of others, taking account of both the rewards and the consequences.
If you’re passionate about changing lives
Nursing is a profession that has an impact on individuals and they are the ones who can literally make or break a patient’s experience. One bad experience in a certain setting can scar someone forever, but one person who reached out to them in their grief and pain can truly lift and heal them.
Nursing is for you
Nurses play a major role and make a difference in a countless number of lives. So if you want to be that person that works hard for a good cause, is proactive and quick to search for opportunities to help, learn and grow, look into Nightingale’s ADN Program, which is hybrid-virtual and as few as 16 months, or complete our BDN Program in 32!
There’s quite a few things that we nursing students wish we would have known in the first week of nursing school. Don’t buy shoes that look good but aren’t comfy, GO FOR COMFORT even if they look bulky and unfashionable. Keep your head up. Don’t let the stress seize the joy out of learning about the human body and the amazing things it can do. Thank your family for their support. Start studying early. We could go on and on. We just wanted to pass on the things we’ve learned so that maybe nursing school will be a little less painful for you.
There are many tips and tricks we could tell you, from the secrets of dose calc to the best mnemonics for remembering steps in certain processes, but some of you might be taught that, or might already know. We wanted to tell you, just in general, what helped us get through. Good luck, and we look forward to have you join us as nurses in this great field.
Start preparing for the NCLEX from week one.
You can’t become a nurse if you’re not prepared for the NCLEX. Although your classes will teach you concepts and content, you really need to be preparing for this test from the very beginning. Familiarize yourself with the style of the test early by using books and apps to help you become mentally aware of what is re
quired, so it doesn’t seem too overwhelming when you get to the upper levels.
“Start studying for the NCLEX now. You’ll be much better prepared for the test once you graduate. Also to reach out to fellow students and get together in study groups. You’re not in it alone so use your community of fellow students to help each other along the journey.” – Monique Van Orden, class of Fall 2017
“Open up that NCLEX study book, now, right now the very first week. Don’t wait until your last semester. It’ll help you more the more you use it.” – Maranda Hammack, class of Summer 2017
Make school a priority
School is the most important thing in your life right now, and you get out what you put in. If you have a job, be prepared to work minimal hours or even quit. If you have a family, make sure you have the time blocked out to study at the library or at least a few hours a day where you can be sure to get some serious study time. No one ever said nursing school was easy – it takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication.Commit to focusing on nursing school. This is a fast program, and it will be over quickly if you really dig in and work hard. Giving a halfway effort could end up costing you in the long run if you do not pass and need to retake classes. Just set aside this time just for school and really give it all your attention.
“Don’t let yourself get behind – catching up is so much harder than staying up.” – Jessica McFadden, class of Summer 2018
Nursing school can be overwhelming, especially if you’re also juggling a job or a family. You need to become a list master. Make sure that when you start the semester, you have a list of the things you will need, how much it will cost, and what to expect. Our blog page (where you found this one) contains many blogs for new learners that can help you navigate this complex world. Simply search by the “New Learner” category to sort out the ones that would be useful to you. Ask your cohort what they have done to stay on top of their course load and stay motivated, because everyone has a different system. Find what works for you, and stick with it. If you find that you’re falling behind, talk with Learner Services to find tutors, planning tips, and other resources that can help you catch up start dominating this!
“One thing I did was got a weekly planner, and scheduled out my week with assignments, and wrote down ALL test dates and clinical dates, then at the end of each week put down however many days to the end of the semester and graduation ?????” – Leathie Yeaman, class of Spring 2019
“How much $ it will cost you for everything extra you need including books that the school doesn’t supply you with. Aps, books, extra scrubs, new stethoscope…” – Shannon Abrams, class of Fall 2018
Maximize your Resources
Make sure that you set yourself up for success. First off, talk with the LALR counselors. They are the best. Don’t be afraid to talk to your instructors if you’re not understanding the concept. They are extremely understanding and they really want you to succeed, and they can recommend resources for you to really learn the concepts and understand the content. Form study groups early, with people who care about their schooling at the same level you do. Download study apps, get extra books, take steps early to succeed. If you do, you can maximize your understanding of nursing.
“I have found the nurses I work with to be an awesome resource.” – Stacey Figuera Lopez, class of Fall 2018
“The additional books are EXTREMELY helpful for the semester. NCLEX study prep, HESI, drug books, any other material or apps or podcasts or YouTubers are a helpful source throughout school.” – Emme Kaylor, class of Spring 2019
Keep your Head up
Don’t get discouraged! It seems SO daunting at first, but just plan ahead, and you’ll be surprised how fast it goes by. Don’t let a bad score on a test get you down; use it to gauge the concepts that aren’t yet concrete and take the opportunity to really study these weak areas. These tests are HARD! Nursing is not for the weak! But just because you scored badly on one test doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to be a good nurse. You are going to be an AMAZING nurse, full of competence, confidence, and compassion. You are going to rock it. In the words of Babe Ruth, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Start now. Don’t wait. You can do it. We believe in you.
“It’s not as impossible as you think it is!!!!!” – Leathie Yeaman, class of Spring 2019
Are you thinking about becoming a nurse? If you’re a junior or senior in high school and you’re thinking about going into nursing, you can take some classes in high school that will accelerate your progress in nursing school. Depending on the college or university you want to attend, nursing prerequisites taken in high school can transfer as long as they are college level. Let’s get started!
In order for you to get your BSN, one will need to obtain a total of 120 credits. Of those credits, 48 will be general education and 72 will be nursing credits. While still in high school you can take some concurrent enrollment classes through local colleges that can possibly transfer over to Nightingale College, or other nursing schools, that will go toward the 48 general credits of general education.
Note: These are requirements of Nightingale College’s programs. Other colleges and universities might vary in what they accept or require.
Below is a list of classes you can take as a junior or a senior to help possibly get some credits under your belt before you even begin nursing school.
Physical and Life Science
A minimum of 15 semester credits is required in this category. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory, or required in our curriculum. The others are not required but may transfer. With these classes, you need to earn a B- grade or higher to transfer credit.
*CE Medical Anatomy and Physiology
CE Environmental Science
English and Composition
A minimum of 6 credits is required in this category. Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory. These classes require a B- grade or higher to transfer credit.
*CE Technical Writing (usually English 1010)
CE English Composition
CE Technical Writing
CE Academic Writing
CE Creative Writing
A minimum of 6 credits is required in this category. B- grade or higher to transfer credit.
CE Intermediate Allegra (usually 1050)
Human Behavior and Social Science
A minimum of 6 credits is required in the category. C- grade or higher to transfer credit.
CE Human Growth and Development
CE Abnormal Psychology
CE Cultural Anthropology
CE Organizational Behavior
CE United States History
Humanities and Fine Arts
A minimum of 6 credits is required in this category. C- grade or higher to transfer credit.
CE Introduction to Philosophy
CE Western Civilization
CE Foreign Language
A minimum of 3 credits of any additional upper-division elective course(s). Other Electives Course Semester Credits. C- or higher grade to transfer credits. Here are some examples of ones that could be helpful to you in your nursing career:
A combined total of 48 General Education and elective credits are required for the BSN Degree.
The above classes are examples of some classes that you can take while In high school. Taking even a few of these classes can give you a great jump start to your college career. If you do not take any of these CE courses while In high school, you will be able to take them while attending Nightingale College.
You might be interested in NurseJournal.org’s prerequisites for nursing school guide. Below are some of the requirements needed for nursing school:
Nowadays, most nursing schools want you to have a basic set of skills and theoretical knowledge before admission. To get into a top nursing program, you must gain a number of academic credits in core General Education subjects, such as English, Statistics, and Human Anatomy, in the form of prerequisite courses.
Like Nightingale, some colleges will offer you the chance to complete the BSN prerequisites during your course. But, not taking these courses or choosing a no-prerequisite nursing course can harm your education, skills, and career in the long run.
Let’s find out what education prerequisites are typically requested by a school of nursing, why it is important to gain them, and what your options are when you don’t yet have all of the necessary prerequisites.
Moving from an LPN to an RN is a huge career advancement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average RN’s salary was 24,000 higher than the average LPN’s. And at Nightingale College, the advancement to an RN license can take as few as 8 months. So why not?
The process of advanced placement for LPNs involves transferring credits, testing, and some paperwork. Becky Christlieb, an advisor in our admissions department, summarized the process this way, “They need to apply, pass the entrance exam, get us their official transcripts, take the Level 2 HESI to see whether they place in level 2 or 3 and take any challenge exams they might need and then finish up with some paperwork and financial aid.”
There was a lot of stuff to do in there, let’s break that down a little bit.
Application and Entrance Exams
The first step in getting into any nursing program is applying. Nightingale College has admissions advisors that walk prospective students through the entire application and testing process. LPNs should also try to apply EARLY so they have time to take all their tests without being rushed.
“They need to start early and getting the tests done so that they feel like they’re confident in their testing, they don’t feel like they’re rushed, and they can study and do it,” said Stacie McVay, Assistant Manager of our Admissions Department.
The second step is the entrance exam. The exam covers arithmetic, reading, and sentence structure, among other things. The exam may be repeated to achieve a higher score, however the student will be required to pay a fee with each test.
Get us your transcripts
Active or inactive license?
An active LPN license is accepted as 12 nursing credits automatically. So LPNs get credit for Level 1. If the license is inactive, the registrar will do an evaluation of credit, and the student may have the option to complete some challenge tests, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
Some LPNs think, “I got my LPN too long ago, my credits are expired so I will have to start all over again.” But really, that may not be the case. Transcripts will be evaluated by our registrar to see what could potentially transfer in, or to identify possible challenge exams. Challenge exams allow students to take an exam to test out of a subject, if the credits they took in the subject are expired or if they received a low grade.
Have you done the right Anatomy and Physiology?
A common concern with LPN credits is the Anatomy and Physiology courses. In some cases, LPN programs do not have a compatible Anatomy and Physiology courses for the RN programs, or the LPN took the courses too long ago and the credits have now expired. The LPN may have to retake the courses at Nightingale. Consult the admissions advisors and the registrar for more information.
The good news is that even if the courses do need to be repeated, Nightingale offers an accelerated program for LPNs to get through the A&P courses in just one semester. Upon completion, the LPN can then go right into the level they placed into (2 or 3).
What about an unfinished LPN program?
If a learner has completed most of the credits for an LPN license, we recommend finishing and obtaining the license before transferring in, making it easier for the registrar to evaluate which credits are accepted. After an LPN has taken the NCLEX-PN, Level 1 is automatically completed, but without the NCLEX-PN, the courses would need to be evaluated for transfer individually, meaning the LPN may have to repeat some courses.
If you are considering an RN over an LPN, or debating between an LPN, RN, or BSN, contact an advisor to see which is the best route for you. Click here to contact an advisor.
Optional Advancement Testing
An active LPN license transfers in as Level 1, so LPNs would have levels 2, 3, and 4 left to do. However, if LPNs think that they know the material in Level 2, they can take the Level 2 final exam that all of our other Level 2 learners have to take to move onto Level 3: the Level 2 HESI. If the LPN passes, they would gain credit for Level 2 and start in Level 3.
McVay emphasized that taking the Level 2 HESI is optional, and only for assessment purposes to set them up for success as they approach the NCLEX-RN. “It’s NCLEX-style questions. They get two tries,” McVay said. “We don’t want them to feel pressured, because we don’t want them to feel bad if they don’t make it. If they don’t get it, that just means they need that information. They need that information to pass the NCLEX-RN. It’s just an assessment to place them in the right level.”
Many learners often wonder whether to make the investment in an expensive stethoscope for nursing school. With so many different options and prices, it can be a difficult choice. Do you buy a cheap one now, and a nice one later? Or do you buy an expensive one now? Or do you buy an average one now and use it as a nurse? How much will you use it?
These questions and others can be sometimes difficult to answer broadly because of the different specialties in nursing, but we will do our best. We appreciate the help of our nursing faculty who helped answer some of those questions for us.
What level of stethoscope should I buy?
Karen Sincerbeaux, an instructor in our ADN program, said, “I think having a good quality but not necessarily a cardiac stethoscope is the way to go for new learners. We want them to have the best opportunity to hear lung and heart sounds and bowel sounds but I don’t think they have to have to be the most expensive. The ultra inexpensive ones really are just a waste of money because often I’m letting them borrow mine.”
Buying an “ultra-inexpensive” one is a bad idea, but so is buying an ultra-expensive one. Although this hasn’t been a problem at Nightingale, some nurses from other states warned against buying expensive ones because they often get stolen.
What brands of stethoscopes are reliable?
Littmann is the main brand for stethoscopes, with models anywhere from 30 to 400 dollars.
MDF stethoscopes are often said to have better sound than a Littmann, however, they are more sturdy-built and heavier around the neck. Janet Ramos, an instructor in our ADN program said she uses Littmann. “I have two Littmanns that I paid about $100 each for and have had them for twenty years. They perform well.”
When should you buy a stethoscope?
Some nurses consider buying a cheap stethoscope for nursing school, and then purchasing a nice one when they become a nurse, but we advise buying a good quality one before nursing school, that way you are hearing the sounds properly as you learn. If you can’t hear the sounds properly in nursing school, you won’t know what to listen for when you have an upgraded scope.
Ramos also said that making the investment up front, just one time, is a good idea. Don’t wait to buy a nice one. “I would invest in a good one, absolutely,” said Ramos. “If you later go into a specialty (cardiology for example) you may want to get an amplified one at that time. For now I wouldn’t spend an enormous amount, but would go for quality.”
Questions to ask yourself when buying a stethoscope:
Are you hard of hearing? You may need a more expensive stethoscope.
Is the device flashy? You don’t want your stethoscope to draw attention to itself, because it might get stolen.
Are you working in a busy hospital? In a busy environment, stethoscopes are sometimes misplaced, traded around, and forgotten, so you might not want to buy a really expensive one.
How does the weight feel around your neck? Is it too heavy? Make sure to lean over and wear it for a few minutes.
How does the tubing feel? Is it sticky on your skin, does it collect hair and lint? Does it stick to your hair and pull on it?
Is it dual-sided? Most stethoscopes these days are, but double check that you have both an adult and a pediatric side if you are going to be dealing with children.
Are the earpieces the right size for your ears? Do they fit correctly and not rub uncomfortably anywhere?
In the end, it’s not about how advanced your stethoscope is, but how well you are trained to listen. Our instructors do their very best to train you to be the best nurse you can be. A stethoscope is just a tool for you to get there!
We hope that these tips answer some of your questions about stethoscopes. If you have any other questions about nursing, what you need to start our nursing program, or your education experience at Nightingale, please contact Learner Advising and Life Resources.
Note: All Nightingale learners will be given a stethoscope in their nursing kits, so they don’t need to worry about buying one. This blog is for informational purposes only.
Nightingale College is institutionally accredited through the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
We also have programmatic accreditation for our three programs.
The Associate Degree Nursing Program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc (ACEN).The Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program and the online RN-to-BSN Program are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the body that also backs both BYU and University of Utah.
#2 Nightingale College has grown to cover four states
Nightingale College has DDCs in four states, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada, and is continuing to grow!
With our blended-distance ADN and BSN Programs, learners complete all their didactic classwork online, and complete all experiential learning requirements at local instructional sites the College has set up in partner facilities.
There are currently twelve locations throughout the four states, with more on the way. To see a full list of partner locations, or to learn more about becoming a partner, click here.
#3 Nightingale College offers accredited BSN and RN-to-BSN programs
Nightingale College offers a generic BSN Program, as well as an RN-to-BSN online, a fast track program for RNs who want to advance their careers. The BSN and RN-to-BSN Programs are fully accredited.
The RN-to-BSN Program is designed to further develop the skills and leadership qualities of RNs. The Program is entirely online and will improve knowledge in key areas such as ethics, critical care, gerontology, health promotion, and disease prevention. Plus, the Program is employer-focused, encouraging BSN learners to fulfill a leadership role and work alongside their employer to find solutions to facility-wide problems. The Program is designed to be completed in three semesters, including general education requirements, but can be completed at a slower rate at no extra cost to facilitate the continuation of work while completing the program.
#4 Nightingale College is pioneering rural nursing education
Our pre-licensure Program design is unique. Instead of having a large central campus where all learners gather, Nightingale partners with local care centers and hospitals to provide experiential learning opportunities throughout widespread areas. This model allows learners in rural communities to stay close to home while attending school.
Some communities are too small to sustain a full brick-and-mortar nursing program, which is why Nightingale is such a welcome solution for rural areas. With learners completing most of their coursework online, the burden on the community is reduced. The learners are then assigned experiential learning in a local facility, which helps that facility stay afloat. Many learners continue to work in those facilities after the completion of their degree.
#5 Nightingale College strives to reduce the nursing shortage
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020 the nursing field will be in need of over a million new registered nurses. The nursing shortage throughout the U.S. is already significant. Hundreds of rural facilities are strapped for nursing help. Nightingale’s partnership model will provide a pipeline of local nurses for these facilities, lifting them out of a shortage cycle.
Our unique model also allows for exponential growth. With online programs, class size is not limited by classroom size, so Nightingale can educate a large number of nurses to meet the demand.
The College continues to grow with the help of forward-thinking health care facilities to address the growing need for nurses throughout rural America.
What does it mean to be a nurse? While there are many answers to this simple question, anyone who is a nurse will describe the meaning differently. From taking care of patients who are at their weakest to having the opportunity to change the entire experience for a patient, there is no doubt nurses bring a lot to their communities.
Here are five reasons why now is the time to become a nurse:
1.Nurses are in high demand. Did you know that there is a nursing shortage? A nursing shortage that over one million nurses are needed to remove the need?
The nursing shortage is experienced by both large and small communities. Within your own community, there are health care facilities in need of trained and qualified nurses to help take care of patients. In many facilities, the nursing shortage has become more of a concern.
Facilities are not able to provide enough nurses to maintain staffed units. Understaffed units lead to a risk in the quality of patient care provided. Facilities are highly motivated to bring competent nurses on staff that they have developed recruitment strategies such as sign-on bonuses that are very attractive to job-seeking candidates.
The numerous nursing positions available across the country give nurses the freedom to relocate easily at any point during their career.
Why not join a profession that not only helps you grow but a profession that will celebrate having you on board?
2. Nurses enjoy financial and career stability. Widely known is the handsome salary nurses receive annually. To review nurse salary by state, read our latest blog articleNurse Salary by State: Which US State Pays Better. According to the article, a nurse’s salary may reach as high as $94,000 per year (see California statistic).
While we don’t endorse becoming a nurse strictly for the financial gain it provides, the nursing profession offers a sense of financial security that many other careers do not.
Likewise, nurses have career stability and mobility. An important factor is ensuring that the career path you have chosen will be able to sustain you for years to come. Nurses will always be needed in patient care. For example, patients have more interactions with nurses than they do with their doctor.
Again, nurses are in high demand.
3. Nurses are one of the top most trusted professions. Gallup Poll released research that showed nurses ranked the highest for the 15th year straight for ethics and honest. Check out the research by clicking here.
Joining such a prestigious profession lends a sense of beyond self, respecting humanity, and integrity (which, by the way, are three Nightingale values).
Enjoying work is the key to a happier life. While nurses experience many situations that are devasting, they still have the opportunity to make a difference in their patient’s life. What a rewarding career to choose.
4. Nurses are endeared and loved by their community. Have you heard the numerous stories told by nurses of how they ran across past patients and their families, and were thanked for what they did? Can you imagine how it would feel to be appreciated for helping someone in their most vulnerable, weakest moments?
A popular quote by Maya Angelou, “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Everyone can reflect on an experience they had with a nurse. Why not be the person they remember as their “superhero?” Not all superheroes wear capes. Sometimes they rock scrubs and slip-resistant shoes.
5. Make the jump and become a nurse like you have always wanted to be. Many people go about their lives without pursuing their dream job. Why? Maybe because of time. Maybe because of financial burdens. Maybe even because they believe it is too late to be a second-career adventurer.
Whatever the reason may be, toss the idea aside and evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Eventually, you will conclude all these reasons are only excuses that are barricading you within your comfort zone.
Make the most out of your life and enjoy a career that is rewarding, challenging, and constantly giving back.
Start by researching nursing schools that fit your need and get moving! It is up to you to make your dream career happen.
Nightingale College’s President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder, said, “Although your educational journey may be difficult at times, you will reap the reward of utmost satisfaction when holding your nursing diploma for the first time and nothing will ever compare to the fulfillment that improving and saving the lives of others will bring!”
Are you ready to get started on your nursing journey? Can we recommend Nightingale College? Check out our ADN or our RN-to-BSN Program.
We are ready to help you become the nurse you have always dreamed of being.
What should you know about Nightingale College and its learners besides the fact that the College specializes in nursing education and our learners are on their way to serving their community as nurses? Making the decision to enroll in any nursing school takes considerable thought. Such a decision requires enough research to find the best school that fits your needs. While it may seem that many schools are the same, the smallest differences may be the deciding factor. The main point is to always look at all the options before jumping in with both feet, especially with such a big decision.
To help make your research easier and to show what Nightingale College offers, here is a list of just a few milestones and facts. However, we suggest not just relying on what we say in this article but contact our Admissions Advisors by clicking here to learn more about the College and its nursing education programs.
Nightingale College proudly offers nursing education programs that challenge learners with the latest evidence-based concepts and train learners the necessary skills to treat patients in a variety of environments. One of the most attractive aspects of the nursing profession is career stability and mobility. With over one hundred nursing professions, nurses have the ability to practice in different health fields and the opportunity to advance quickly, if determined to do so.
Up and coming Nightingale College revolutionizes the way nursing education is delivered. Check out seven of our main facts we’d like you to know.
Nightingale College is a full-distance (blended) nursing program. A main advantage to Nightingale College is the ability to deliver nursing education online. Learners have access to a portal that houses their classes, assignments, discussions, and exams. However, not all nursing education can be instructed online. Nursing learners need hands-on training. We help learners receive the necessary training through our on-ground labs, simulations, and clinicals. Our on-ground components allow learners to learn and practice the skills needed when providing patient care. Learners are supervised and instructed by one of our faculty members.
Coming to school and sitting in a lecture hall for a few hours is not the way we do it nor do we think it is the best way to learn. However, attending a program that has any online component entails the learner to be accountable for their success in the program. Skim through our blog to find helpful articles on communicating online and attending class online.
Nightingale College has an RN-to-BSN Program. We know how important nurses are to their communities and the impact they have that surpass the community boundaries. Nurses are able to influence health care. To become a licensed nurse, nursing learners need to graduate from an ADN Program then pass the NCLEX-RN. However, until recently, nurses did not have to pursue higher degrees to remain a nurse. With the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that 80% of nurses be BSN prepared, health care employers are beginning to see the importance of having BSN-prepared nurses on staff. Currently, many open positions list a BSN Degree as a preferred qualification.
We want our learners and nurses to succeed, so we designed our RN-to-BSN Program to help licensed nurses get their BSN Degree quickly and locally. The Program features full-distance delivery with two projects (Community Health Project and employer-focused Capstone Leadership Project) to help BSN learners advance their knowledge. Nursing is a profession requiring lifelong education. We want to make sure our nurses in the community are educated and providing quality patient care.
As a bonus, our ADN Program alumni receive $50 off per semester credit with the Alumni Tuition Waiver. It is important to prepare for your future as a nurse whether you are still in nursing school, a new nurse, or veteran nurse. Click here to visit our RN-to-BSN Program website.
Nightingale College features accelerated programs. Accelerated may scare some away, but for those who are up for the task, come join the fun at Nightingale College. Our programs are meant to be completed at a quicker pace than other nursing programs. As an option for people pursing nursing as a second career, our program’s method of delivery (see first point) allows learners to continue to work while attending school. We do not recommend working full time but we have seen it done by many learners who were successful. It just takes organization and dedication to sticking to a set routine. Check out our recent article on juggling studying and a full-time job. Click here to read our post.
Nightingale College is accessible to learners in various states that have been approved. Part of our mission is to bring nursing education to rural communities and communities that are struggling with the nursing shortage. Communities do not benefit when residents leave to attend school, often times not returning after graduation because of the available jobs in larger cities. We discovered that residents who are educated locally tend to stay local after graduation. We are dedicated to helping our rural communities provide nurses who are qualified and passionate about serving their neighbors.
To learn the states we have partnerships in, visit our DDC-dedicated page and click on Prospective Learner. Click here to head on over.
Nightingale College trains confident, competent, and compassionate future nurses. In today’s world, it is all about having the confidence to know you are doing right by your patient, the competence to understand the needs of your patient, and the compassion to help them along the way. Our curriculum is grounded in the three C’s of the College. Learners are introduced to the three C’s right when they attend New Learner Orientation. Do you think you have the confidence, competence, and compassion to be a nurse? You’ll need to apply to the school first to know if you are tough enough to be a nurse. Challenge accepted?
Nightingale College uses unique terms. As you have already deduced, we use “learner” in replace of “student.” A student, according to Merriam-Webster, is one who attends school or one who studies. A learner, by definition, describes an individual who gains knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience.
Why did we make the switch in terminology? Learners immerse themselves in nursing concepts, become curious to why certain things occur, and ask questions. When these three actions occur, we know the act of learning is effectively transpiring. The challenge to learners embodies full understanding of a concept with internal and external motivation of providing great patient care. Students emulate what they assume the instructor wants to see and receive knowledge to only pass the test and class. The challenge to students incorporates knowing concepts for a brief period of time with internal motivation of passing the class as center focus.
We challenge our learners to gain the knowledge and skills that will mold them into nurses, information cemented in their brain so they ready to better serve their patients. We encourage them to become lifelong learners as health care is an ever-changing and advancing field.
Ultimately, it is better to be a learner of something than a student of something.
Another term that is unique to Nightingale College is the use of “collaborator” instead of “employee.” Just as a heads up if you do come across the term.
Nightingale College has high interest in rural health care. As mentioned above, the current status of health care in our rural communities is worrisome. These communities are being affected to a higher degree by the nursing shortage than their urban counterparts. To advance the discussion, more and more people are retiring in rural areas to escape the busy lifestyle. Population in rural areas grow although the younger population migrate to other locations. Who is there to care for the community when the younger generation chases opportunities outside of the small community?
We want to help residents stay local to serve their family, neighbors, and community. Additionally, we want to help rural health care facilities staff their units with quality nurses who have a means of advancing their education past a CNA, LPN, and ADN level.
Nightingale College Learners (Our Favorite Subject)
Nightingale College offers a fun, education-focused environment designed for learners serious about their nursing future.
Nightingale learners are self-motivated future nurses. Can we boast a minute about our nursing learners? One thing each learner has in common with their fellow cohort is their determination to succeed. With a blended environment, learners need to be motivated and accountable to stay on top of didactic learning and online discussions and assignments. They are responsible for asking the right questions, which can be difficult to learn when first engaging in an online environment.
Nightingale learners are looking to serve their community. Learners supporting our own mission helps us deliver better service to communities. Banded together with the help of our learners, the College is able to work with health care facilities to support local education and local employment.
Nightingale learners are dedicated learners who are ready to serve their communities as nurses upon graduation (and after passing the NCLEX-RN). Enough said.
Remember the circus act of balancing plates on sticks? Well, pursuing a nursing degree while working can be just as complex. Because work and school are major commitments, proper time management, and scheduling are vital to your success. It is also equally important to have in place contingency plans for any unforeseen obstacles that may arise.
Start exploring the feasibility of attending nursing school while working by following these steps.
There are important facts to know and a few questions to consider prior to selecting which accredited college to attend. First, there are two types of accreditation that an institution of higher learning can obtain; one is known as “institutional” and the other is “specialized” or “programmatic”. Institutional accreditation refers to the entire institution, meaning all parts of that institution are positively contributing to the overall objectives and mission. Specialized or programmatic accreditation refers to a specific program and its measured outcomes. In the U.S., higher education accreditation is voluntary and is granted through lengthy and arduous peer-review processes driven by accrediting agencies. Often, while in the process of obtaining initial accreditation, educational institutions and programs spend several years in “candidacy,” a status granted to qualified applicants.
The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions or programs directly, but the Secretary of Education publishes
a list of all recognized accrediting agencies that have been determined to be reliable through a review process as long and laborious as obtaining and maintaining accreditation itself. Although not mandatory, accreditation serves as a pass to institutional and programmatic eligibility for Title IV Federal Student Aid programs, such as Pell Grants and Direct Loans, while guiding institutions and programs to meet certain quality standards and continuously improve.
The two types of institutional accrediting bodies are Regional and National. Finding a school that is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is the first step.
There are six regional accrediting agencies that oversee different sections of the country. They are:
Middle State Association of Colleges
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Associations of Schools and Colleges
Unlike their Regional counterparts, National accreditors are not bound to specific geographic area, but rather evaluate certain types of higher learning institutions. For example, the Accrediting Bureau
of Health Education Schools (ABHES) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an institutional and specialized accreditor focusing on health care education. Many nationally accredited colleges and universities focus on vocational or trade focused education, for example nursing or medical assisting.
The type of institutional accreditation does not play a role in determining the quality of education at a specific college or university. There are many examples of high quality institutions and programs under both regional and national accreditation; however, lower quality providers with poor outcomes exist under both types of accreditation as well.
What You Must Ask Before Choosing a Program of Study?
1. Why are you attending a specific program?
If the sole goal of your completing a program of study is an immediate entry into the workforce, then institution’s accreditation source, whether national or regional, will likely not make much difference (assuming you are comparing programs
of similar cost and quality). If completing a
specific program will serve as an educational ladder stepping-stone to a higher degree, then transferability of the earned credits and/or academic and professional credentials must be considered. Each educational institution sets its own transfer of academic credit policies and there is no guarantee that any earned credits would transfer. As a general trend, most nationally accredited colleges and universities accept credits and credentials from both regionally and nationally accredited institutions. However, some regionally accredited schools do not transfer in academic credits earned at nationally accredited institutions. To learn about transfer of credit policies at any specific higher education provider, please contact the institution’s admissions and/or registration department, or refer to the school’s academic catalog.
2. What is the cost of the program?
Public universities and community colleges are, generally, regionally accredited and, since these schools are heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, their tuition and fees can be significantly less than at most private, nationally accredited institutions. However, competition for admission to a public university or community college could be much greater than at private institutions. When evaluating the value of an educational program, one must consider the entire cost
of attendance (COA). Questions regarding COA should be directed to the institution’s financial aid department. Among other factors that should be consider when evaluating the total value of a program are its acceptance and yield rates. In other words, how many qualified applicants receive admission offers and how many of those
enroll into the program of study? Conversely, how many qualified admissions applications are denied or waitlisted? The opportunity cost of waiting year after year to enroll into a specific program could become significant, as the earning potential that follows being a program graduate is delayed further and further.
3. What is the quality of the program?
As previously discussed, programmatic accreditation is voluntary. However, accreditation often signals an educational program’s higher level of commitment to excellence and high quality. Therefore, attending a program that is a candidate for or has obtained programmatic accreditation is highly recommended. Some of specialized programmatic accreditors are:
American Medical Association (AMA) accredits medical programs
Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits engineering programs
American Dental Association (ADA) accredits dentistry programs.
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) formerly known as National Nursing League (NLN) accredits nursing programs
American Bar Association (ABA) accredits law programs
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits business and accounting programs
Finally, institutions of higher learning are required to publish statistics on outcomes of their educational programs. Graduation and retention rates, licensure examinations’ pass rates, and employment placement rates are examples of published outcomes that may be found on the schools’ websites or by contacting admissions departments.
Accreditation is, indeed, important and is a way to differentiate and select the institution and
program that best meet one’s educational and career goals.
For more information about accrediting bodies in the U.S. please visit these links: