Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into nursing school! You’ve chosen a rewarding career path.
Perhaps the most important thing you’ll do to start your nursing education is attend orientation. Yes, orientation. It’s there that you’ll learn exactly what’s expected of you and ensure that you understand the curriculum and all program requirements. You should also insist that family and significant others attend a separate orientation geared just to them. If your school doesn’t have one, ask that a program be conducted specifically for those who will be supporting you in the program. It’s critical that they also understand the curriculum, costs and associated financing, and how your life as a nursing student is going to change.
Let’s face it, nursing is a demanding, critical-care profession. As a result, it also will be very demanding and time-consuming educational program. At times, you may have to give up special events or family celebrations because you’re preparing for a test. Free time with family, or for socializing with friends, may be limited. Making sure they all understand the importance of your schooling and how you and they need to work together will be critical to your success.
At orientation, you should receive a catalog and student handbook that provide all the rules and regulations you must follow in order to graduate. These documents serve as the legal contract between you and the school regarding your education. The catalog also describes your curriculum in detail, providing information about the degree plan, course numbers, credits and course descriptions, along with your school’s grading scale, progression requirements, and academic calendar.
It’s extremely important that you read them carefully and get answers to all your questions BEFORE beginning your nursing program.
All that done? Then you’re ready to start your first class. Good luck! And, if you ever need to re-check options, verify program requirements, or review nursing FAQs, feel free to bookmark www.fortis.edu and visit the site as often as you like.
Dr. Anders is professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Texas at El Paso School of Nursing.