Your education is important and, like most, I'm sure you want to go to a great school to get that education. If not, this isn't the post for you. Too many people who are going into nursing and advancing their nursing careers are looking to take the easy way out.
What do I mean by that?
Let me give you an example. As someone who stays updated on nursing trends, I'm a member of many nursing and nurse practitioner-related groups and forums. Just a few weeks ago I came across a post where the poster was looking for the "easiest online school" for their doctorate degree. This was a fellow nurse practitioner and I couldn't believe what I had just read.
How do we as the nursing profession expect to grow and be viewed as professionals when we go for the easiest way out?
This attitude in nursing is far more common than one would believe. I've become frustrated and somewhat embarrassed by my profession sometimes because of this. ReNursing Edu was founded because of the frustrations I have with our education (or lack thereof). If I can just educate one nurse and make a concept easier for them, I feel like I have done my job, but of course I want to reach the masses.
Being lax in our nursing education in all levels (LPN, RN, BSN, MSN, DNP) sets us up to look unprofessional as an individual and as a whole. Wages will eventually go down and people may begin to look down on the nursing profession because of the lack of standards in education. Because of this, I've come up with ways to ensure you choose a great school.
1. Make sure the school is accredited by either the Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
The ACEN accredits all levels of nursing education programs including masters, baccalaureate, associate and diploma programs. CCNE only offers accreditation for the master's and baccalaureate level.
If the school you're inquiring about is not accredited or in good standing with the accreditation board, you could risk not graduating the program and/or wasting valuable time and money in the long run.
2. Research the nursing board exam pass rate for your chosen educational program.
If you are contemplating going for your LPN/LVN or RN, look at the school NCLEX board pass rates. Schools should be open with this number if it is favorable and this number is required to be reported to the nursing accreditation authorities for continued accreditation.
3. Be wary of online only schools.
I may get some slack for this one, but hear me out. If you are going to an online school that doesn't have a reputable brick and mortar equivalent, you might set yourself up for failure when you graduate.
For years, people have been touting a nursing shortage and how easy it is to get a job after graduation. This just isn't true in most areas of nursing.
Take a look at this statistic for nurse practitioners- An estimated 23,000 new NPs completed their academic programs in 2015-2016. That's 23,000 potential new NPs each year!
Furthermore, according to a study done on national and regional projections of primary care practitioners, the projected increase in primary care NP supply exceeds the increase in demand by 42,500 FTE (62 percent of 2025 demand) primary care NPs in 2025.
You can't tell me the increase of nurse practitioners has not proliferated because of the trend of online schools and "easy" entrance requirements.
An oversupply of nurse practitioners will lead to difficulties finding a job and may even result in lower wages for those who are lucky enough to find a job.
This translates into the nursing world as well. Although nurses (LPN/LVN, RN) have a projected shortage, some may have difficulties finding a job if they do not live in an area that is not oversaturated.
4. Interview former and current students.
The best way to evaluate if you'll be getting a quality education is to interview current and former students who went to the school you are considering. Ask them if they feel prepared to practice after graduation and how their course curriculum is set up.
If you are pursuing your degree for nurse practitioner school, ask if the school helps with setting up clinical preceptors. This is a big deal among nurse practitioner students and many schools do not arrange clinical sites for their students. If you an find a school that arranges for clinical placement, then this is a good sign.
If you are in school, what did you look for when you applied? If you are looking for a nursing school, what are you looking for? Comment below.