Nursing Schools in Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Discover nursing schools in Durham-Chapel Hill, offering various programs such as ADNs, BSNs, MSNs, DNPs, and more. Articles Programs

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Durham and Chapel Hill, located in North Carolina, boast a thriving healthcare landscape, making them attractive destinations for aspiring nurses. 

Home to prestigious institutions like Duke University Hospital and UNC Health Care, this region offers a wealth of professional opportunities and a diverse range of medical services.

Collaborative healthcare teams, a culturally diverse patient population, and access to cutting-edge research further enhance the nursing experience in this area. For those wanting to participate in this experience, read on to discover the available nursing schools and programs.

Whether you're seeking an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or an advanced practice degree, the Durham-Chapel Hill area has a nursing school for you.

Nursing Schools in Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Watts College of Nursing

The Watts College of Nursing is located in Durham, North Carolina. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and is committed to providing quality education and preparing nurses to deliver compassionate care in various healthcare settings.

Programs offered:

  • BSN

Address: 2828 Croasdaile Dr, Durham, NC 27705

Durham Technical Community College

Durham Technical Community College, also located in Durham, offers practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs. Students can pursue a Diploma in Practical Nursing or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to begin their nursing careers. The college focuses on providing comprehensive education and training to develop skilled and competent nurses.

Programs offered:

  • Diploma in Practical Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

Address: 1637 E Lawson St, Durham, NC 27703

Duke University

Duke University, located in Durham, is renowned for its School of Nursing, which offers a wide range of nursing programs. These include an Accelerated Second Degree BSN, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with specializations like Nurse Anesthesia, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and various post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates. Duke University is known for its excellence in nursing education and research.

Programs offered:

  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • DNP: Nurse Anesthesia
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post- Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner

Address: Durham, NC 27708

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill houses the School of Nursing, providing diverse nursing programs. These include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Accelerated Second Degree BSN, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and various post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates. The university's nursing school focuses on innovation, leadership, and advancing nursing science.

Programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Address: Chapel Hill, NC

Piedmont Community College

Piedmont Community College, situated in Roxboro, North Carolina, offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide patient-centered care. The college emphasizes hands-on training and prepares students for entry-level nursing positions.

Programs offered:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Nurse Aide Certificate

Address: 1715 College Dr, Roxboro, NC 27573

North Carolina Central University

NCCU's nursing programs focus on developing competent and compassionate nursing professionals equipped to meet the evolving healthcare needs of diverse populations. The school strongly emphasizes clinical skills, evidence-based practice, cultural competence, and community engagement.

Programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion

Address: 1801 Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27707

Types of Nursing Programs in Durham-Chapel Hill

Many different types of nursing schools, certificates, and diplomas are available. However, the most common programs obtained by nursing professionals include:

LPN Programs 

An LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse, undergoes about one year of training to earn their practical nursing diploma. This is shorter than a Registered Nurse (RN), who invests two to four years to secure a professional nursing degree.

To begin practicing, LPN graduates must pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses).

In their roles, LPNs often handle tasks such as monitoring patients, administering injections, feeding patients, and occasionally executing specific procedures. Always working under the guidance of physicians and RNs, LPNs play a pivotal role in ensuring clear communication between patients, their families, and the healthcare team.

Length: 12-18 months

ADN Programs 

An ADN serves as a stepping stone for those aiming to become a registered nurse (RN). Once the ADN program is completed, graduates are eligible to take the RN licensure examination, known as the NCLEX-RN.

RNs' primary responsibilities encompass patient care activities including but not limited to:

  • Assessing patient conditions 
  • Executing physician-prescribed orders 
  • Administering medications 
  • Upholding the highest standards of care 

RNs find employment opportunities across diverse healthcare environments, from hospitals and nursing homes to public health centers and mental health facilities. Furthermore, RNs can specialize in various areas, including but not limited to intensive care, mother-baby units, emergency departments, and operating rooms.

Length: 24 months

BSN Programs 

While an ADN provides a route to becoming an RN, those looking to maximize their career prospects in nursing should lean towards a BSN degree. A BSN opens up broader opportunities post-graduation and equips students with a comprehensive skill set, emphasizing research, leadership capabilities, and evidence-based practices. In contrast, ADN programs primarily concentrate on honing clinical skills.

Notably, many modern healthcare establishments mandate nurses to possess a BSN, aligning with specific accreditation standards, Magnet recognition status, and Joint Commission prerequisites.

Length: 48 months

RN to BSN Programs

An RN to BSN program is designed for RNs aiming to upgrade their qualifications by achieving a BSN. It caters to seasoned RNs and recent graduates holding a diploma in nursing or an ADN.

While most of these programs are offered online, certain institutions provide on-campus classes. Additionally, these courses often necessitate practicum sessions (clinical hours) that can be undertaken within the student's local community. Although the clinical exposure for nurses in these programs can differ, many mandate the completion of a capstone project before graduation.

Length: Nine to 48 months

MSN Programs

An MSN is a graduate-level program tailored for nursing experts holding a BSN and in some cases, those holding non-nursing bachelor's degrees aiming to elevate their nursing career trajectory.

This advanced degree equips nurses with in-depth knowledge and skills in theoretical understanding, research methodologies, evidence-driven clinical practices, leadership, and healthcare management.

For those undertaking an MSN, there's an opportunity to delve into specialized fields such as advanced nursing practice, leadership in nursing, nursing education, or the ever-evolving realm of nursing informatics.

Length: 48 months

DNP Programs

DNPs stand as a pinnacle degree in the nursing domain, arming its graduates with elite expertise and proficiency. Those with a DNP are poised to make transformative changes in healthcare through roles in organizational leadership, healthcare administration, advanced practice nursing, health policy execution, and program management.

Nurses aiming for a DNP typically take one of two primary routes: leadership and administration or APRN.

Those DNP-credentialed in leadership and administration are instrumental in bolstering executive nursing roles and rolling out sustainable, evidence-based care initiatives that are both impactful and economically efficient.

Length: 48-60 months

Nursing Experience in Durham-Chapel Hill

Durham and Chapel Hill are home to several renowned healthcare institutions, including Duke University Hospital, UNC Health Care, and the Durham VA Medical Center. These institutions offer excellent career opportunities for nurses and provide a diverse range of medical services.

Some key points about being a nurse in the Durham-Chapel Hill area include:

  • Professional Opportunities: The area is known for its prestigious medical facilities and research institutions, which can provide nurses with professional growth and development opportunities. Nurses may have the chance to work in specialized units, participate in cutting-edge research, and collaborate with top medical professionals.
  • Academic Environment: Durham and Chapel Hill are home to Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both of which have renowned nursing programs. This academic environment can foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning.
  • Collaborative Healthcare Teams: With multiple healthcare institutions nearby, nurses often have the opportunity to work alongside highly skilled healthcare professionals from various disciplines. This collaborative approach can enhance patient care and offer valuable learning experiences.
  • Diverse Patient Population: The Durham-Chapel Hill area is culturally diverse, attracting diverse residents. As a nurse, you may have the chance to work with patients from different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, gaining exposure to a wide range of healthcare needs.
  • Research Opportunities: Prominent medical institutions engage in cutting-edge research and clinical trials. Nurses may have the chance to participate in research studies or work with researchers, contributing to advancements in healthcare.
  • Competitive Job Market: Given the presence of prestigious medical facilities, the competition for nursing positions may be relatively high. However, this also means ample job opportunities for skilled and qualified nurses.
  • Quality of Life: Durham and Chapel Hill offer a high quality of life with a mix of urban amenities and natural beauty. The area has a vibrant arts and culture scene, excellent restaurants, and easy access to outdoor activities. The cost of living may vary depending on factors such as housing and location.

It's important to note that nurses' experiences can vary depending on individual preferences, work settings, and personal circumstances.

If you're considering pursuing a nursing career in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, it's advisable to conduct further research, reach out to local nursing professionals, and explore opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of the specific environment and its unique aspects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I know which nursing degree is best for me?

Choosing a nursing degree will vary per individual based on their needs and preferences. However, some general things to consider include:

  • Identify Your Career Goals: Determine what you want to achieve in your nursing career. Do you want to become a Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner (NP), or perhaps aim for a leadership or research role in the future?
  • Duration of Study: Consider how much time you're willing to invest. An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) typically takes 2 years, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year program. Advanced degrees like a Master's (MSN) or Doctorate (DNP) will require additional years.
  • Curriculum and Specializations: Look into the curriculum of the programs you're considering. Some might offer specializations or focus areas that align more closely with your interests.
  • Online vs. On-Campus: Decide if you prefer online flexibility or the traditional on-campus experience. Some programs offer hybrid options, combining both online and in-person classes.
  • Accreditation: Ensure the program is accredited by a recognized nursing education accrediting body. Accreditation ensures the program meets specific standards and can be crucial for licensure and employment.
  • Clinical Experience: Check if the program provides hands-on clinical experience, which is vital for practical skills development.
  • Cost and Financial Aid: Consider the tuition fees and other expenses. Look into scholarships, grants, and financial aid options.

It's recommended that prospective students carefully research each institution of interest best to align their educational pursuits with their career goals. 

Can I work while in nursing school?

Many nursing students choose to continue working while attending school, based on their individual goals, financial needs, and the type of program they're enrolled in. However, the duration and intensity of your program may influence your ability to continue working while obtaining your education. For example, an online ADN may offer more flexibility, while an accelerated BSN may be more intensive, making it more challenging to balance with work and personal life. 

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Prior to 2019 the Watts School of Nursing (WSN) only offered a diploma program.  In 2019 the WSC became the Watts College of Nursing (WCN) and began accepting applications for its first BSN cohort, which entered in 2020 and graduated in 2021.  During this time, the WCN stopped accepting applications for its diploma program with the last cohort expected to graduate in 2021 as well.

Watts School of Nursing welcomes new name, program

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