Over 2,000 programs across the United States prepare their students for a career in nursing, making it tough to figure out which program is the best choice for an individual. Fortunately, the best nursing schools all have a few things in common.
Fair and Simplified Admissions Process
The best schools can be recognized through their student-friendly admissions processes. You should look for programs that accept students based on grades and entrance exam scores, not because of your position on the waiting list. This program design helps to ensure that you and the rest of the students in your cohort share a high level of academic excellence.
Financing nursing school is a major issue for prospective nursing students; the best schools have entire staffs devoted to help students find ways to pay for school. They know what programs and scholarships are available to you.
Teaching Hospitals Offer the Best Training
The nation's best nursing schools have excellent facilities and combine the latest teaching aides with cutting-edge technology to integrate theory with practice. Avoid isolated schools with old or outdated facilities.
Hybrid and fully online nursing programs also possess characteristics that mark a school's dedication to excellence. The best programs boast state-of-the-art learning platforms and simulation modules. Access to faculty online is, in many cases, even easier than meeting on campus.
Multiple Program Options and Outstanding Faculty
Whether night classes, hybrid online programs, summer sessions or admitting multiple cohorts, an excellent nursing school offers as many options as possible for learning.
In addition, you should look for a program that has a student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, and faculty should be comprised of professors with extensive field placement.
Excellent in Academics and Field Practice
The goal of coursework at exceptional schools is to prepare you fully to work competently and confidently as an entry-level nurse. At a bachelor's degree level, they instill students with a liberal arts education while exposing them to the fundamentals, theories and concepts behind nursing practice.
Practical field training is especially important in nursing education. Exactly how much field training varies by school, but the state generally sets a minimum requirement. You should seek a school with a strong focus in hospital-based field practice.
Look for Proven Results
Since it's readily available, you should look for evidence of a school's success, or failure. The better schools go out of their way to prove their excellence and prominently display their accolades. Evidence of a school's success includes:
- A significant number of graduates from a program that went on to become nurses
- A high average National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) score
- A high rate of graduation from the program
- Any recognition that a school has, such as awards or special recognition
- Accreditation by any number of organizations
- Positive feedback from students and reviews
Choosing the best nursing schools, among the over 2,000 in the country, might appear daunting at first. However, by combining these five elements with your own preferences and needs, you will be prepared to seek out and confidently apply to the best program possible.
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