You’re ready to make the career switch to nursing, but you have questions and you’re not sure how to prepare for nursing school. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Applying to nursing school requires a serious investment of time and effort, so it’s important that you know what’s needed to get started. Here are five effective tips to prepare for nursing school.
1. Get to the bottom of why you want to become a nurse.
What encouraged you to want to transition to nursing in the first place? Perhaps the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role, or a profound personal experience has inspired you to make this change, or maybe you’ve always felt called to help others in need. Whatever your reason may be, it’s important that you have a good understanding of it. Having a solid intention will help you stay motivated and focused throughout your nursing education.
2. Find a program that’s right for you.
Before making the transition to a career in nursing, you have to find a program that fits your needs and aligns with your nursing career goals. While there are many paths you can take to become a nurse, if you’re looking to maximize your opportunities within nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a great route to take. Not only is a BSN degree becoming the preferred standard academic qualification in healthcare facilities; it also offers several benefits, including job security and a variety of BSN career options, both inside hospitals and beyond the bedside.
There are a few pathways toward earning your BSN, some quicker than others. Take, for example, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at University of St. Thomas Houston in Texas. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, our accelerated program lets you earn your BSN in 12 months. Best of all, ABSN@UST offers three start dates per year, in January, May and August. This allows you to begin your nursing education at a time that works best for you.
Another thing to keep in mind when researching a nursing program is accreditation. If the state’s board of nursing doesn’t approve the nursing school you attend, your state may not let you sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Without the ability to take (and pass) the NCLEX, you won’t be able to receive your nursing license.
Fortunately, our ABSN program maintains accreditation status at the university and nursing school levels so you will gain an education and BSN degree that meets the strict academic standards set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
3. Reach out to an admissions counselor.
If you do choose to move forward with our Accelerated BSN program, your next step is to talk to an admissions counselor to determine whether the program is right for you. The admissions counselors at UST can help you in many ways, from confirming your program eligibility to helping you submit the most competitive application possible. They want to see you succeed in the program, and they make themselves readily available to support you when you need it. Before connecting with one, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do your homework. Wherever you choose to take your nursing education, prior to your first phone call, learn as much about the program and school as you can. This will not only help you develop thoughtful questions about the program, but it will prove to your admissions counselor that you’re serious about moving forward with your nursing education.
- Have your transcripts ready. These can be unofficial transcripts. This provides your admissions counselor with a better idea of where you stand in the process and what your next steps will be.
- Be prepared to answer questions. Don’t be alarmed if your admissions counselor asks you a lot of questions right off the bat — this helps her or him get to know you and determine whether the program is right for you.
- Be open and honest. Your admissions counselor has your best interest in mind, so it’s important that you are upfront and honest with him or her throughout the entire process.
4. Successfully complete your prerequisites.
Speaking with your admissions counselor helped you determine what prerequisite courses you’ll need to complete. Now, it’s time to get to work. Instead of stressing about future program requirements, it’s best to focus on your prerequisite courses exclusively. After all, these prerequisite courses not only help ensure you have the knowledge needed to undertake professional nursing study, but also set the tone for your entire 12-month nursing education. Additionally, taking them through UST will introduce you to our mission and vision, as well as familiarize you with the same online learning management system we use for the online portion of our ABSN program.
5. Have a network of support.
As an accelerated nursing student, you can expect to have a lot on your plate, spending up to 60 hours a week on your education. At UST, you’ll complete a rigorous blend of online coursework, hands-on labs and in-hospital clinical rotations, all in a span of three semesters. With that said, it’s best you have a support system in place before getting started. Because once you start nursing school, your daily routine will change immensely. Sit down with your children (if you have them), parent(s) or significant other and explain to them the type of support you will need in order to be successful in nursing school.
Ready to Apply?
As mentioned earlier, the process of applying to nursing school requires a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, you’re taking the steps necessary to get started on the right foot. With our 12-month Accelerated BSN program in Houston, you won’t have to navigate the nursing school admissions process alone.
If you’re ready to accelerate your path to nursing, contact us today to get started!