How do you/did you decide on a nursing program?

  1. When i started taking prereq's 18 months ago there was only one 2nd degree BSN program local to me (at the same university where I got my 1st degree). Well, there were 2 but the one is at a private school that I cannot afford. But last week I found out there is another 2nd degree program, at a different university that has a good reputation. How do you go about comparing different programs and deciding what's best for you?? I have to say I wasn't looking forward to going back to my alma mater. The education quality is good but they are a major PITA to deal with.

    The only persona I know locally to talk to about this is my neighbor who is a NICU nurse of 20something years. She is a preceptor and has been for eons. Her opinion is that the 2nd degree programs are all too short to adequately prepare nurses (I'd have to ageee, I'm scared to death that it will only take me 14 to 16 MONTHS to become a nurse, ACK!) but otherwise the programs are what you make of them. Meaning that someone like me who does well being self-taught and is motivated to spend time learning things inside out and backwards would probably have more success than someone who only does what is asked of them.

    Opinions? Things to ask of the directors of the programs? Just shut my eyes and pick a name out of a hat? This was so much easier when there was one program to pick from!


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  3. by   MollyMel
    I would suggest you go to the schools for the open houses and see how they feel to you. Ask all the good questions about attrition rates, NCLEX passing rates (on first try or second), where they do the clinicals, how much choice you get, how many hours you do, what classes you will take etc. Then try to talk to some grads/current students from each of the schools (on this board, or at the open house). Hopefully you will click with one of the programs more than the other. It was suggested to me that you try to talk to nurses or HR departments at local hospitals (maybe you can volunteer at one to get an "in" and also sweeten your application) about which school's grads are more highly regarded in the industry, but that is subjective. Many programs really are what you make of it, and so it is good to be somewhere where you feel happy, supported, and excited so you will be motivated to do your best.
    good luck!
  4. by   lc3

    I was in the same boat as you. I applied to both schools in my area and got into both. I had the hardest time deciding between the two. One school is my alma mater and the other school has some specific aspects in the curriculm that interests me. I finally decided on my alma mater because I think there are more opportunties for me to pursue a doctorate. It also has a highly regarded rep in the area.

    Anyhow, I would apply to both and see if you get into both of them then decide. If you dont apply you wont know. Additionally, the application process can tell you how each school works and how organized each of them are. One school that I applied to was really unorganized in during the application process. They would not return my emails for specific questions, they didnt have answers to my questions and the they were late getting back to applicants. Nonetheless, I did get in there and declined their offer b/c I had the hardest time with the application process.

    So, you dont know if you dont apply. Additionally, your experience with your alma mater's nursing department might be completely different than dealing with the school itself.

    Good luck!
  5. by   CRNA2BKY
    I was looking at programs around the country. I went to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Louisville to look at different programs in those areas. Many schools have ABSN information sessions, and so I went to several of them. In the end, the reason I chose NKU was pretty much two-fold. First, it was very close to me, so I wouldn't have to sell my place and move. Second, I would get in-state tuition, so the cost was extremely reasonable. Do I regret my choice? Nope, not at all. Also, at an information session I went to in Phily, there were a couple nurses from area hospitals that spoke there, and they said the ABSN students were highly sought after for employment, due to their perfect pass rate on the NCLEX, being older and more mature, having previous life experiences, and being excellent nurses. So, whatever you may have heard about ABSN students not making good nurses just isn't the popular opinion.
  6. by   barbaratruth
    I had to make a choice between two schools I had been accepted into. I was grateful to have a choice, since many applicants are without options.

    When I had the option of two different schools, one of my professors told me that nursing school is very demanding. One of my choices was closer to home and the other required a 1 hour daily commute. He made me aware that all of the programs have the same accreditation standards and are required to present the same material for NCLEX preparation. He suggested I make a choice that would not add to stress of the program. I chose the school closer to home.

    As far as the ADN vs. BS, etc., I went into my ADN program with a Masters Degree and B.A. in healthcare management. The ADN programs cram the same NCLEX content as the BSN programs, since we are all taking the same NCLEX.

    The pay differential in NY for BSN vs. an ADN is about $1,500 annually. In my case, I didn't think it was financially necessary to spend another $10,000 or $15,000 to get another Bachelors degree for $1,500 annually.

    As my friends who are nurses told me, the employers want to know if you have passed the NCLEX and have your nursing license.

    You have to be self-disciplined for a nursing program and much of the learning is done independently.

    If you want to become a nurse manager one day or educator, then go for the Bachelors. Keep in mind, you can do the ADN now, get an employer to fund the BSN, etc. in the future. The bottom line is that you will be able to be gainfully employed much sooner through an ADN program.

    In NY, they're phasing LPNs out of hospitals and requiring RN licensure. There is an abundance of work for RNs and almost every senior in my ADN program had a high paying job offer before graduation.

    Good luck.
  7. by   elisabeth
    Another option would be to go to your state's BON website. The CA BON site has a list of all accredited schools and information on their NCLEX pass rates. The pass rates for the schools helped me to decide where I would most like to go.