No doubt, healthcare is one of the most important and challenging fields in each country. People who choose the medical-related career path, are dedicated missioners who want to help others and do something meaningful and significant in their lives.
If you’re going to start the nursing career, you should do your research and find as much information as possible before you get your feet wet. We’ve prepared an ultimate guide to help you make the grade!
Why Nursing Programs Are Demanded Now
They are really pretty popular these days because the healthcare field is in great demand for true medical-related professionals. A lot of young adults with enthusiastic eyes and great ambition consider service to society as their vocation. In addition, they can get decent funding that will cover the tuition fees and other expenses.
However, you shouldn’t expect it to be too easy. This field requires the best ones, and you should work really hard to find your place in the sun.
Key Tips for Nursing Students
- Read medical magazines. One article a day, and you already know way more about what you study.
- Check your town’s events for conferences on medical, healthcare,. or chemistry related topics. There is no better way to pick up the knowledge you need than to take it from the trustworthy professionals.
- Listen to educational podcasts. With COVID ruining all the plans, online education steps in, and podcasts are a nice and easy way to absorb new information.
- Look for study tools from your school. A lot of universities provide unique accesses to different databases, tools, and learning materials students can use for free.
- Organize your daily routine and prioritize tasks. Medical education can take a lot of time. Use special apps to optimize your time-usage and free some extra time for personal development and rest.
- Consider finding a related part-job or studying with a mentor. Nursing includes a lot of practical knowledge, and there is no way to acquire it without practice itself. Check out local hospitals or related institutions to gain some valuable experience.
What You Need for Nursing School Admission
Pick a career path
The first thing you need to do is understand which part of the nurse's job appeals to you. Perhaps you want to assist a doctor and organize a schedule for one. Or your goal is to spend as much time as possible with patients. There are so many specialties, and you can choose the one that resonates with your heart.
Choose the degree
Some roles require a basic level of education to obtain a license and get started working. But the longer you study, the wider your opportunities. Think about what you want right now.
Find the right program
Below, you’ll find different programs for nursing students to consider and the basic advice on how to choose the best one. Check specialty courses they offer, time for the clinical rotation, career placement programs. You should also understand whether you can afford the tuition. If not, we’ve already prepared a list of scholarships.
Meet admission requirements and apply
Once you choose the program, you should submit your application before the deadline. Different institutions have different requirements, so make sure you’re eligible for programs you’ve chosen. Prepare your motivation letter and documents in advance. Those might include:
- Copy of your photo identification (driver’s license, passport, ect)
- Copy of your social security card
- Your official high school transcript
- Test scores approved by the college you apply for
- Medical and immunization records
Top 20 Scholarships for Nursing Students
- AfterCollege-AACN Scholarship Fund was created to support AACN registered students looking to pursue a medical sciences degree. Preference is given to candidates with nursing educators’ ambitions. The award sum is $2,500 per quarter.
- American School Health Association Scholarship is supposed to help member students attend the ASHA conference. The award sum is $250.
- ARN Scholarship supports nurses pursuing BSN degrees. Requirements for candidates: ARN membership, participation in the BSN program, good academic performance, 2+ work experience in the field of rehabilitation care. The award sum is $1,500. The deadline is July 1st.
- The Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship is awarded annually to students who began their studies after work, military service, family, or non-profit commitments instead of pursuing higher education right after high school graduation. The award sum is $1,000. The deadline is March 31st.
Graduate Students Scholarships
- The Future of Nursing Scholarship Program with the award sum of $125,000 is purposed to help the University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. students seeking a degree in a nursing-related field cover tuition fees for three years. The deadline varies.
- KCNPNM Scholarship is available for KCNPNM members who are current RN, NP, or CNM nurses needing to pay for a Ph.D. degree. The award sum is $1,500, and it is sent directly to the recipient's school. The deadline is in the middle of February.
- Nursing Economic$ Foundation Scholarships are purposed to help registered nurses from programs with an administration or management focus. The award sum is $5,000. The deadline is in the middle of May.
- Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Master's Scholarship with a deadline on January 31st provides the award of $5,000 to nursing students pursuing the Master’s degree with a professional interest in oncology.
Minority Students Scholarships
- AAPINA Scholarship provides financial support of $ 1,000 to students wishing to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. Requirements for candidates: 2-year AAPINA membership, current participation in an accredited nursing program, GPA from 3.5. The deadline is in June.
- NBNA Scholarship Program offers $1,000 to $5,000 to nursing students with dark skin and good academic standing. Requirements for candidates include membership in NBNA and at least one year of school left. Deadline for submitting applications in April.
- A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship supports medical students and graduate students from American Indian, Alaskan, or Native Hawaiian communities. The award sum is $1,000-$2,000, and the deadline is in May.
- The National Institute of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to receive funding of up to $20,000 per academic year. Requirements for applicants include a desire to work and conduct research in the behavioral, biomedical, or social sciences or health sciences, as well as exceptional financial needs. The deadline for the program in the middle of March.
Nursing Specializations Scholarships
- Anita Dorr Graduate Scholarship provides the master students in nursing with an emphasis on administration with $5,000. The deadline is on April 30.
- ANNA Career Mobility Scholarship is purposed for full members of the ANNA who are involved in nephrology nursing. The award sum is $2,000, and the deadline is in the middle of October.
- Mary Alice Hartigan Scholarship for Nursing. If you’re a resident of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, or Missouri relevant counties and have a solid interest in surgical nursing, you can apply for this scholarship. The deadline is in the middle of April, and the award sum varies depending on the financial needs.
- The William K. Schubert Minority Nursing Scholarship is funded to encourage students to go into pediatric care after graduation. They pay up to $2,750 to support future nurses. The deadline is on April 30.
State or School Specific Scholarships
- Echomae Anderson, and Esther Pritchard Endowed Doctoral Scholarship is sponsored by The University of Utah that provides the award sum of $10,000 to their doctoral students with excellent academic performance and financial need.
- Katherine Pope Scholarship was created by the Georgia Nurses Foundation to support residents of Georgia pursuing a nursing bachelor’s degree. They can receive at least $500 if applied before the middle of June.
- eQuality Scholarship is purposed to help students who are attending the California nursing or other health-related post-secondary institution as well as demonstrating service to the LGBT community. It provides the award sum of $6,000 with the deadline on January, 31.
- District of Columbia Nursing Scholarship. If you’re a current nursing University of the District of Columbia student and the resident of Washington D.C., you’re eligible for this program. The sum award is $2,500 sponsored by Daughters of the American Revolution. Be aware of an application deadline that is in the middle of February.
Best Online Nursing School Programs
Medical assistants work alongside doctors in medical offices, clinics, and other outpatient settings. They perform administrative and clinical duties at the same time.
The best Medical Assistant online programs:
- California State University;
- Ogeechee Technical College;
- Georgia Northwestern Technical College;
- North Carolina A&T State University;
- The University of Alaska Southeast.
Registered Nurses are licensed to practice nursing in their state. They care for patients in different settings and work closely with doctors and other medical team members. It is the RN who informs patients and their families about their health status.
The best RN online programs:
- Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences;
- Rutgers University-Camden;
- Indiana University-Bloomington;
- Appalachian State University;
- Mercer University.
LPN to RN
You need one of the following online programs if you are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and want to develop your skills to become a Registered Nurse (RN). It implies greater responsibility, working with patients of different ages and other career opportunities.
The best LPN to RN online programs:
- Indiana State University;
- Allegany College of Maryland;
- Hutchinson Community College.
If you are just taking your first steps in nursing, there are two easy ways to jump into the healthcare industry. You can become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a licensed nurse (LVN). The educational accredited program lasts about a year, and your credentials may vary from state to state.
The best LPN/LVN online programs:
- Antelope Valley College;
- Helena College;
- River Valley Community College;
- Centura College;
- Coahoma Community College;
- Eastern Center for Arts and Technology;
- Bridgerland Applied Technology Center.
A master's degree in medical science gives you tons of career opportunities to pursue your ambitions and earn good money. With this diploma, you can work as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwife, and obtain other positions with a median salary of $91,000-$123,000 per year.
The best MSN online programs:
- Rush University;
- University of South Carolina;
- Johns Hopkins University;
- Ohio State University;
- St. Xavier University.
RN to BSN
If you have earned an RN license with a two-year associate degree, you can develop your career and use credits and experience you already have to pursue your bachelor's degree. This opens up opportunities for nursing management, nursing educators, legal nurse consultants, etc.
The best RN to BSN programs:
- Oklahoma State University;
- Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences;
- Lewis University;
- California State University-San Marcos;
- Mary Baldwin University;
- Rutgers, Camden Campus;
- Appalachian State University.
Certified Nursing Assistants are needed to build strong bonds with patients, providing comfort and support. Some things like bathing, shaving, and feeding can be difficult for some patients. That is why CNAs are an integral part of any medical team.
The best CNA online programs:
- Hutchinson Community College;
- Pratt Community College;
- Cochise College;
- Ridgewater College;
- Wallace State Community College;
- Elizabethtown Community and Technical College;
- North Central Kansas Technical College;
- Elgin Community College;
- MedQuest College;
- Right Choice Healthcare Institute;
- Kentucky Health Care Training Institute.
LPN to BSN
These are programs for applicants with Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) diploma who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After administering medication and monitoring patient health, they get new opportunities to develop their careers.
The best LPN to BSN online programs:
- Indiana State University;
- North Dakota State University;
- University of Oklahoma;
- Presentation College.
How to find the best Nursing Program
Choosing the nursing program, you should consider several aspects. such as:
- National agency accreditation;
- Approval by the state board;
- The pass rate for graduates;
- Degrees available;
- Schedule and setting;
- Tuition and other costs;
- Labs and simulations availability;
- Class size;
- Mentor support.
The choice of programs is very large these days, and it becomes a real challenge for many applicants. Think about what career goals you are pursuing and how much time you are willing to devote to them right now. It is absolutely okay if you’re going to start with the Medical Assistance or a Registered Nurse. There are a lot of opportunities to continue your education and future, to deepen your knowledge and increase opportunities.
Nursing Specialties and Careers
- Case Manager helps patients and their families coordinate care. They work with patients who have chronic conditions and complex treatment plans. The main goal of the case manager is to provide patients with enough information on their state and future options.
- Nursing Director. This is an administrative position, which involves the implementation of quality improvement plans, assessment of staff performance. The nursing director is a link between nurses and doctors.
- Operating Room Nurses work with patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They work with surgeons to provide sterile operating rooms and the necessary equipment. Their responsibilities also include monitoring patients after surgery in order to prevent complications.
- Nurse Educator is a highly sought position among people with teaching talents. Educators help newly hired nurses get comfortable in their new job and acquire the clinical skills they need.
- Clinical Research Nurse. The main task of these professionals is to evaluate therapies and medicines. They determine which solutions are best for dealing with various medical issues.
- Travel Nurse. As a travel nurse, you will go on business trips within the country overseas where you need to record medical records, perform routine check-ups, assess symptoms, make diagnoses, etc. You can refuse some contracts if you don’t like the work conditions.
- Family Nurses work with a wide age range of patients. They serve both infants and the elderly ones. The main feature of the FN is that it is usually the first contact person who determines the tests or refers to specialized specialists. All FNs must have at least a Master's degree.
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioners work in inpatient hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes. They assess the condition of patients and prescribe treatment.
- Urgent Care Nurse Practitioners. These professionals work in emergency settings, treating patients who need urgent assistance and won't go to the emergency department. You should be prepared for irregular work hours and high levels of stress.
- Nurse Anesthetists are highly-qualified practitioners who help patients overcome pain before and during surgery and other medical conditions.
Additional Nursing Resources for Students
- Nurse.com helps you stay up-to-date with the latest news in the medical field and new career opportunities for students.
- The Nerdy Nurse blog contains a lot of information about the nursing lifestyle, issues, books to read, and so on.
- Nursing Ethics is a very controversial topic that requires a lot of self-reflection from students. On this website, you can find some answers and ideas to think about.
- RegisteredNursing.org is a platform for registered nurses with useful information on education and career development in different states.
- Practical Clinical Skills is a website with the simulation-based training elements to deepen your knowledge.
- Nurstoon. Some people believe that laughter is the best medicine. It is a website with comic strips on different healthcare-related topics.
- American Red Cross. Get hands-on experience at one of over 500 Red Cross chapters across the country.
- Projects Abroad. If you’re interested in international internships in Senegal, Tanzania, Bolivia, etc., check whether you are eligible to apply.
- Professional Social Networking for Nurses. Get new ideas and insights on how to network professionally, using modern technologies.
- Lippincott Nursing Advisor. Use this online resource to increase your clinical knowledge and standardize patient care.
Is Nursing a Difficult Job?
It depends on how you perceive this profession, what knowledge and skills you already have. There are some areas where you are not responsible for the patient's health. On the other hand, if you work in an emergency department in a metropolitan city, you certainly won't call your job easy. It is important to understand that a nursing job is not only physically challenging but also mentally. You have to be emotionally stable to work with sick patients.
How can I pay for my education?
There are several ways, including parental support, student loans, or a part-time job along with studying. The best way to cover all your expenses is to get a public or private scholarship. In most cases, all you need is a good academic record, but some scholarships are for certain groups of students, such as minorities.
What types of jobs can a nurse have?
Nursing covers over 100 specialties. They differ in both responsibilities and medical directions. For example, you can delve deeper into neurology, long-term care, work with elderly patients, or in a military setting. Some nursing students choose the educator career and share their knowledge and experience with others.
What do I need to become a nurse?
Each college and university has its own admission criteria. But you will probably need good grades in math, science (biology or chemistry), and English. When applying, you will also need to write a letter of motivation and justify your choice of the program.