7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Program

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As with any other program, choosing the ideal nursing program may seem intimidating to first-time students. Whether you’re just starting as a nurse or wish to further your education, choosing the right nursing program is the most important thing to consider before starting your education. The program you choose will significantly influence your future career and professional development; therefore, it’s important to give due consideration and time to your decision.

You may have hundreds of questions buzzing around in your head. However, you need to focus on identifying the answers to the most important questions to determine the optimal education plan in the nursing field and choose the best nursing school that resonates with your career objectives.

When it comes to nursing, there are numerous options available to students in Mississippi. You need to consider various aspects to narrow your Mississippi nursing school choices and select the best among them. Here’re seven things to consider when choosing a nursing program.

1. Degree Choice

The choice of degree depends on the level of your career. If you’re planning to start your career in nursing, you can choose between an LPN (licensed practical nurse) and RN (registered nurse). LPN focuses on more generalized nursing care, while RNs administer medications, give treatment, and educate patients and families.

LPN and RN are the basic courses for new nurses. You can advance your career by taking degree programs like bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and more. Credible nursing schools in Mississippi offer more advanced courses in nursing, like CCNE-accredited online RN to BSN programs. These courses are meticulously designed to accommodate the needs of working RNs so they can advance their education without disrupting their work schedules.

2. Online or On-Campus?

Nursing programs are offered both on-campus and online. Choosing either of these options depends on your availability and work schedule. If you’re a practicing nurse and want to advance in your education, taking online nursing programs offers more flexibility and convenience. You can accommodate your training sessions to fit your individual needs. Online courses are cost-effective compared to on-campus courses. They have lower tuition fees, and you can save a significant amount otherwise spent on on-campus housing or commuting daily to college. Many online programs allow students to attend lectures and complete assignments online. In the age of advanced online learning tools, most online programs are now equivalent to on-campus programs.

On-campus training is the traditional college experience in which students either reside on campus or travel from home to attend classes. Those who have just started their nursing education can choose either of these options.

3. Is the Nursing School Approved or Accredited?

As you research nursing programs, familiarize yourself with the difference between approved and accredited. Accredited courses are officially recognized by National boards of education, while approval means a State board has inspected the program’s standards. The US Department of Education evaluates these accredited programs to guarantee they meet professional expectations. Selecting an approved or accredited dairy farming course will ensure your success as a nurse!

Accredited nursing programs have established validity and make you eligible to pursue advanced education anywhere in the US. But you can still take the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN) if you attend an approved nursing program.

4. Program Duration

The timeframe for degree completion is another aspect you should consider before enrolling in a nursing program. The best nursing program is the one that resonates with your personal goals and timeframe. Various degree programs have different time duration and outcomes. An LPN program takes nearly one year to complete, while RN completes in around 1.5-2 years. You can take a fast-track associate degree in nursing (AND) program to earn a license in a shorter period. Bachelor’s degrees have a standard 4-year length and offer core courses with an area of specialization of your choice. Master’s degree takes further 2-3 years after you complete your BSN degree program. Your career objectives greatly influence your choice of education. You may complete all of your education first and then begin your job, or you can start practicing as a nurse after receiving your first certificate and continue your studies alongside.

5. What Specialities are Offered?

Choosing an area of specialization is a prerequisite when you pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Do you already know what nursing area of specialization you want to pursue? The domain you choose for your nursing career depends on your career goals. You can choose a nursing program that offers the same area of specialization you’re aiming for. For this purpose, you can choose a program that focuses on additional coursework related to your area of specialization along with practical experience in adjoining healthcare facilities. If you are unsure about your interests, a program offering a wide range of options may be your best pick.

6. Campus Location

The campus location is particularly important when opting for on-campus nursing programs. If you already work full-time, consider choosing a location near your residence or workplace. Analyze how far you can travel to take regular classes even if you’re not working. 

Choose between on-campus housing and commuting. Even when a nursing school of choice is too far away, you can enroll in online nursing programs.

The clinical component of these programs is a crucial matter to ask. Some nursing schools may require you to attend clinical settings, while others may allow you to do clinical practice near your home.

7. Consider Tuition Costs

Tuition costs are usually a major concern for students. Tuition fees vary by program and institution, but they’re not too high for nursing programs. Do some research on the internet and compare the tuition costs of all the nursing colleges you have shortlisted. Many institutes across the US and particularly Mississippi, offer scholarships and work-study programs. Any help you get, what you can afford, and how much debt you’re willing to take on are all things to consider. You can also apply for student loan forgiveness if you find employment in government or nonprofit organizations.

Final Thoughts

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry. If you want to become a nurse or advance your career in nursing, taking an online nursing program is the most convenient and cost-effective option. We hope the list mentioned above will help you choose a nursing program that resonates with your career goals and best fits your individual needs.