Why did you choose your nursing school?

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    I know that it's a good idea to look into NCLEX pass rates to see how well a nursing program prepares their students, but what other factors influenced you in choosing the school that you decided to attend and in choosing which schools to apply to?

    I'm a 19 year old pre-nursing student, hoping to transfer to a university for my BSN. Naturally, at this age, getting that "quintessential" college experience is important to me. I want to experience life away from home and location is really important. For some other majors, like political science or film for example, picking a school based on its prestige or location seems to be much more important. However, my mom has told me something along the lines of, "Why would you move away when you could get the same exact degree at a state school, 15 minutes away from home?" I don't disagree with my mom, I know it's true. Am I just being silly for wanting to go to a school where I can thrive not only academically, but also personally/socially as well--even though it isn't entirely necessary?

    How did you decide?
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I can understand your desire for the 'college experience'. But those happy partying people on the beach at Cancun are not nursing students. Nursing programs are much more rigorous than other fields of study. Nursing students are those folks in the library at 9 PM while everyone else is at the kegger. Nursing students frequently feel isolated from their friends in other fields of study - it simply is not possible to do well in nursing school & participate in all those social activities.

    Keeping high grades is essential, not just desirable. If you cannot maintain them, you will be dropped from the program. (and our grading scale is higher - 75 is a c, > 95 for an A). Even 'A' students see their grades drop when they enter the nursing program - it's very different from other types of courses. Absences are not tolerated. Hours are weird, especially when you begin clinicals and have to be at the facility by 6:30 AM. The coursework is highly interrelated, so its really not possible to 'drop' and re-take classes if you're not coping well. You really don't want to hear this, but having family support nearby is a real plus. When you are spending so many hours studying, it's really nice to have someone else do your laundry or make sure that there is food in the house.

    If this is a deal-breaker for you, now is the time to realize it. The good news? You will forge a lasting bond with your fellow nursing students who are experiencing the same things. I am still friends with people that were in my BSN class - 30+ years ago.
  6. 0
    I actually didn't even know where the campus was for the school I attend now. So I technically didn't decide on my school when I made the decision to become a nurse.

    After a broken engagement and seeing that there was a real good chance I was going to lose my job (I eventually did due to downsizing), I figured I'd better do something with myself. I knew I didn't want to try to go back to finish my psychology degree at my same university, but I remembered how much I loved my science classes and I knew I wanted to help people, so I decided to become a nurse. I didn't know know there was a difference between ADN or BSN, I just that wanted to get a RN. My aunt spoke highly of the RN program where she got her LPN, so I just went there. It was really close to my house and since it was a community college, it was really cheap. I started taking my pre-reqs but the first day of my last class for the final pre-req, I found out the school had lost their nursing program. I was crushed. The community college I go to though, is a part of "network" so I just decided to the next closest school. However, there was a mix up with my application and it said I didn't even apply to the particular school. I went all the way to the head of the program and that's how I ended up at my current school.

    And I couldn't be happier. I have friends who I took my pre-reqs with and they are at that school and they say there is so much drama. I do think my program is a bit unorganized at times, but we seem to be the most fully functioning program of all the community colleges. Our teachers constantly pound into us about the schools reputation and how they have had a 93% or better NCLEX pass rate for the past 5 years. None of this was important to me when I first started, but now I'm so glad to be a part of the legacy of the schools program.

    All that being said, If I could go back in time and talk to 19 year old me, I would definitely say to go to a university that you can afford (so yeah, a state school) and get a bachelors in something, anything. And after a while, if you want to make a change to be a nurse, just try to get into a ABSN or something.
  7. 0
    I chose my undergrad school based primarily upon my ability to matriculate there.

    I am firmly of the opinion that university is for studying and learning, not for socializing, partying, or finding oneself. It's much too expensive and too important for those activities which can be pursued elsewhere.

    I firmly disagree with the "get a degree in anything" approach. Because of funding, many schools are either denying entry to 2nd-degree students altogether or charging them exorbitant per-unit fees. Additionally, a "degree in anything" is not likely to yield the academic success that one needs to be competitive in many fields.

    Being close to home, or living at home, confers some huge advantages: Namely, when you're buried in your studies or prepping for finals, you've got people who will bear what burdens they can such as providing meals, doing laundry, whatever. Car breaks down, they're there. As one of our med students (who is local) told me, "When my computer died 4 days before finals, my dad just brought his over and plugged it in."

    If you want to experience life on your own, move off, get a job, and support yourself for awhile while you're deciding what you want. When you're ready, go to school close to home - or wherever your can get accepted.
  8. 0
    My nursing school is about 3 hours away from my parents, but only 40 minutes away from my future in-laws. My fiancees sister is my roommate and she too is going to apply to the nursing program. I chose NWCC because they have an AMAZING program (much better than the other ADN programs in Jackson, MS). The clinicals are at some of the best hospitals in Memphis, and one rotation will be at my (hopefully!) future employer. The pass rate for the NCLEX is 98%, and their simulation and skills lab are state of the art (they have a dummy that gives birth! That's so cool...call me a nerd Plus, the location of the school is in a high needs area for nursing, which will help me obtain loan repayment oppertunities for rural nurses. And the pay rates at hospitals in North MS are generally higher than the rates in Jackson. These are a few of the reason why I chose NWCC..
  9. 0
    @HouTx

    Maybe I should not have said the "quintessential college experience", as I'm sure it only illustrates images of Greek life and drunken nights. I am not a party-goer at all! I really do not thrive in those wild social environments and I never had any intention to get involved in them. I know nursing school will require a lot of my time, but I'm a good student and I'm very conscious about the consequences of my decisions.

    Regardless of how rigorous nursing school can be, every student needs a social outlet or time to relieve some stress.. because, well, that isn't healthy. No matter how many hours in the day dedicated to classes, clinicals or studying, there is always time to relax a bit--maybe even just for 30 minutes. And if I were to be accepted to the school of my preference, I look forward to getting involved in student clubs, some of which are volunteer/nursing related--not wasting my time "partying at the beach in Cancun". I don't need to go to a "kegger" to experience how different social environments can be from school to school. When I have visited universities where nearly every student lives on campus, the student body as a whole seem to be a lot more interactive or approachable. Being at a commuter campus, everyone generally just goes to class, keeps to themselves, and goes straight home--and it just creates a less than great experience. Perhaps these things are not deal-breakers, but I think college really is all about developing a sense of independence and personal growth through deviations from the norm.
    Last edit by fbrlauren on Mar 7, '13
  10. 1
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    I am firmly of the opinion that university is for studying and learning, not for socializing, partying, or finding oneself. It's much too expensive and too important for those activities which can be pursued elsewhere.
    I don't think socializing or finding oneself are trivial things at all--especially for a nurse, where it is part of the job to provide comfort for those in a fragile state. Perhaps excellent grades will make perfectly competent nurses that can get the job done, but how effective will they be/how can they make that patient's experience better if they have only focused on half of the job?

    I don't plan on partying, but I did want to get involved in a campus club, some of which are volunteer/nursing related, which I hardly think are a waste of time and money. Even if the clubs weren't nursing related, like a cultural, religious, or maybe even recreational, I firmly believe that I could learn a lot from my peers and experiences OUTSIDE of the classroom that could benefit me in a professional environment.

    The school of my preference has an excellent nursing program and is in a great location to get clinical experience! Not only that, it's located in the heart of a beautiful city and there seems to be a really wonderful sense of community among the students and professors. I would never sacrifice a school that offers a great academic education over one that will purely provide a thriving social environment, but if there's a school that gives an opportunity to experience both, I think students could really benefit from it! (please note: that by social environment, I don't necessarily mean partying)
    Last edit by fbrlauren on Mar 7, '13
    KelRN215 likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from fbrlauren
    I don't think socializing or finding oneself are trivial things at all--especially for a nurse, where it is part of the job to provide comfort for those in a fragile state. Perhaps excellent grades will make perfectly competent nurses that can get the job done, but how effective will they be/how can they make that patient's experience better if they have only focused on half of the job?
    Smiling at the notion of a 19-year-old nursing hopeful lecturing someone 30 years their senior with more time in nursing than you had in high school.

    Note that I didn't say that those things are trivial; simply that they're fully attainable outside of the university experience while the academics are not.

    If you care not for my opinions in response to your question, I will happily keep them to myself.

    Good luck to you.
  12. 0
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    I chose my undergrad school based primarily upon my ability to matriculate there.

    I am firmly of the opinion that university is for studying and learning, not for socializing, partying, or finding oneself. It's much too expensive and too important for those activities which can be pursued elsewhere.

    I firmly disagree with the "get a degree in anything" approach. Because of funding, many schools are either denying entry to 2nd-degree students altogether or charging them exorbitant per-unit fees. Additionally, a "degree in anything" is not likely to yield the academic success that one needs to be competitive in many fields.

    Being close to home, or living at home, confers some huge advantages: Namely, when you're buried in your studies or prepping for finals, you've got people who will bear what burdens they can such as providing meals, doing laundry, whatever. Car breaks down, they're there. As one of our med students (who is local) told me, "When my computer died 4 days before finals, my dad just brought his over and plugged it in."

    If you want to experience life on your own, move off, get a job, and support yourself for awhile while you're deciding what you want. When you're ready, go to school close to home - or wherever your can get accepted.

    If this is in response to my comment, this is what I would tell MYSELF at 19. I was still very much unfocused and didn't have a career plan or goal, even though I was a very good student (still am unfortunately). If at 19 I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a nurse, then of course I would have tried to get a BSN, or majored in some sort of biological science for my bachelors. Because there are a lot of young 20-somethings with much better job prospects than me for no other reason than they got a bachelors in anything versus my associates degree and work experience.
  13. 0
    It was close by, has a decent reputation with the local hospitals and was affordable. As a a second degree BSN student, I wasn't interested in uprooting my life when I already lived in a glorified college town. Having that social support and familiarity is part of why I've gotten this far.


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