Choosing your nursing school is no small task. Your choice will guide your education and your future career.

But no two nursing schools are exactly the same. Factors like cost, distance from your home and time to completion all vary from one institution to another.

So how can you narrow down your choices and choose the nursing school that is right for you?

Here are the top five factors we recommend considering when comparing nursing schools.


You’ve been accepted into nursing school and you’re eager to dive into your courses. For some students, one of the first classes, “The Fundamentals of Nursing,” can seem intimidating. But it’s really just another chance to show you’ve got what it takes.

“Students need help with all types of courses,” said Professional Nursing Tutor Nicole Woodby, “everything from the fundamentals to collaborative healthcare.”


When choosing a college, there are a lot of factors to consider — cost, location, faculty and student support are among the most important criteria to new students. However, the role of a school’s accreditation status cannot be underestimated. Whether or not a school is accredited is a key indication of the quality of the institution and an assurance to the public of the education it provides.


Online classes are a great way to learn. Benefits for students include flexibility to attend class from wherever they have a computer and internet connection, access to course materials 24 hours a day and the ability to learn from an institution they might not otherwise have access to.

Still, many students may feel wary about learning outside the classroom.


This is a big question. Becoming a nurse is no small task. You’ll find it to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life.  And it’s important to note that there is no singular path to becoming a nurse. It’s different for everyone. So you’ll have to take some time and do some research to determine the best route for you.

In the most basic sense, to become a nurse you need to accomplish the following:


Whether you’re prepping for HESI, NCLEX, or just a course final, studying is a key part to your test taking success. And even if you feel you have the best study habits, or could benefit from a refresher, we think you’ll find these tips useful when you next hit the books. How do we know? Because they all come from current and former nursing students just like you.


Nurse immigration to the United States has tripled since 1994, to close to 15,000 entrants annually. Recruitment of foreign nurses is one of the solutions to the nursing shortage, and the Philippines is a major source country, accounting for more than 30 percent of U.S. foreign-educated nurses. Despite these benefits to the U.S. healthcare system, barriers prevent smooth cultural and professional integration of Filipino nurses and other foreign-educated nurses to U.S. clinical settings. READ MORE

It’s no secret that America’s healthcare system is evolving. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of citizens will now have access to healthcare insurance, increasing the demand for primary care services within and outside of the traditional hospital setting. The ACA emphasizes the importance of educating the public on disease prevention and community health, changing the way we approach healthcare. Nurses have the opportunity to be part of this evolution, and part of the solution to adapting to this changing healthcare environment in the face of a growing physician shortage.

The September edition of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) policy brief, Charting Nursing’s Future, outlines the following benefits of academic progression in meeting these challenges:

1. A Focus on Community Health

The ACA emphasis on public and community health will send nurses into homes, community centers, schools and other non-hospital environments. They’ll manage care coordination and prevention, and improve quality, safety and efficiency of care delivery in the community. Baccalaureate degree programs provide public and community health content to prepare nurses to meet these needs.

2. Responding to the Nurse Faculty Shortage

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing  reports that U.S. nursing schools turned away 75,587 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2011, due in part to insufficient number of faculty1. This problem will intensify as baby boomers retire from the faculty ranks2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)-prepared nurses are more likely to continue their education to attain graduate degrees and become part of the solution to the nurse faculty shortage3.

3. Meeting Demand for Primary Care

The primary care physician shortage has driven demand for primary care services nationwide. Nurses educated at the graduate level for nurse practitioner (NP) roles are prepared to help meet these needs. Family nurse practitioners, specifically, are credentialed to perform 60 to 80 percent of primary and preventative care services and treat patients across the age spectrum, so they’re well positioned to increase access to healthcare.

According to the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, NPs who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree are the fastest-growing group of primary care providers. The number of NPs is projected to double by 2025, topping 200,0004. These nurses will help respond to demand created by the growing shortage of primary care physicians, which is expected to exceed 45,000 by 20205.

4. Education Improves Patient Outcomes

Research suggests that nurses with baccalaureate degrees and higher are better prepared to handle professional responsibility and more complex practices. In turn, hospitals that employ a high proportion of BSN-prepared nurses on staff are linked to having better patient outcomes. In its 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, RWJF outlined positive outcomes researchers connect to BSN staffing in healthcare settings, including “lower incidence of pressure ulcers, postoperative deep vein thrombosis, hospital-acquired infections, and post-surgical mortality.”6

According to RWJF, building a more educated nursing workforce requires a coordinated effort and significant resources. Through advancement of education, nursing institutions can create a stronger nursing workforce, benefiting healthcare nationwide. You can find RWJF’s full September issue of Charting Nursing’s Future here.

1Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet. American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2012   Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

2Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

3Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

4Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

5[Infographic] Family Nurse Practitioner: A Supercharged Career Path. Chamberlain College of Nursing.

6The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Institute of Medicine, 2010

Sitting on the bus? Waiting to pick up your child from sports practice? Instead of staring out the window, thinking about how much studying you need to do, why not use that time to prepare for the NCLEX®?

Forget about heavy textbooks or unwieldy laptops – all you need is your phone. Dozens of NCLEX apps are available in iTunes® and Google Playonline stores – here are a few that you might want to check out. Many offer a lite or trial version, so you can test them out before taking the plunge. READ MORE