After an individual makes the decision to become a nurse, he or she must take the next step by evaluating nursing programs. Today, many options are available for those who want to join the field.
Nursing program options
Nursing programs come in several types. Depending on a student’s career goals and lifestyle, some choices are more appropriate than others. For example, students need to choose between getting an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree before they narrow start choosing nursing programs. Different schools offer different degrees.
While most nursing programs conducted through traditional methods, there are online and distance learning options available from dozens of accredited universities as well. Students need to determine which of these education methods will best fit their needs.
Another consideration when choosing nursing programs is the curriculum. All schools set their own curriculums, but if the school is accredited that means its curriculum has met the standards for nursing education. While that’s important, most students want a curriculum that provides them with all the basics but also gives them the freedom to explore their own interests in and outside of their career path. Other students are content with nursing programs which lay out their curriculum each semester and provide only a few opportunities for student selected electives.
Students should also consider a few other aspects of the available nursing programs before they make a decision. Class size is one of those factors. Smaller class sizes allow students more one-on-one time with the instructors and give them the chance to form closer relationships with their peers. However, smaller schools are often either more expensive or offer fewer course options.
Another critical factor is tuition. Although grants, student loans, and scholarships are available to help cover the costs of nursing programs, students still need to select a school based on their financial limitations.