So you're thinking of becoming a nurse? Congratulations on an excellent career choice! According to the Omaha World Herald, Nebraska is experiencing a nursing shortage of over 4,000 nurses statewide. This shortage is expected to rise by 34% by 2025.
It is a common misconception that all nursing programs and schools are built the same. In reality, the programs, curriculum and application requirements can differ greatly from school to school. As you research nursing programs and navigate the application process, here are a few things you should consider and questions you should ask. As a result, you'll have a much more realistic idea of the nursing school experience.
Myth #1: It doesn’t matter if I get my Associate Degree in Nursing or Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
It definitely matters! The entry level to practice nursing is an associate degree. An ADN will open doors for your career and is a great place to start as nurse. If you want to expand your education and become a better nurse as a result, earning your BSN is something to consider. Many healthcare facilities require their nurses to have a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), registered nurses entering the field with a bachelor’s degree see “faster salary growth and higher lifetime earnings over the course of their careers. They also have greater opportunities for employment." Click here to learn more about why nurses should earn their BSN.
Myth #2: Only women attend nursing school.
No way! Maybe that used to be true (a long, long time ago) but the stereotype of only women is nursing is very dated. In fact, more men are attending nursing school now than ever before. In 2019, more than 12% of registered nurses in the United States were men. Men have always been underrepresented in nursing, and many times it's because some students don't realize it's an option for them.
There are lots of reasons men should become nurses. Male patients might feel better represented and more comfortable with a male nurse, for example. The truth is, there are tons of benefits of being a nurse, and they're exactly the same for men as they are for women: career stability, career flexibility, a rewarding career and great pay.
Myth #3: All programs have the same general education requirements.
As you are researching nursing programs, you will notice common courses listed under plans of study and prerequisite checklists. However, not all programs require the same general education courses and prerequisites.
If your goal is to knock out some courses prior to starting nursing school, we recommend researching a few schools and comparing. Don’t assume all programs require the same coursework. Your time and money are valuable, so doing a little legwork in advance could help you save a lot of both!
You can transfer in with existing college credit or start totally new. Some nursing programs require prerequisite college courses, while other programs are considered direct entry, allowing students to enter right out of high school. If you are interested in getting a jumpstart on your nursing education and know that nursing is the career path for you, you should look for a program that will allow you to start right away. Maybe you went to a different school for something else and want to start over. Don't let a lack of transfer credits deter you from doing something you'll really love.
Myth #4: Nursing exams are impossible to pass.
The idea of nursing exams is intimidating to students. Some feel as though they're impossible to pass and set up for failure. Always ask about a nursing program’s board pass rates. Upon completion of a nursing program, graduates are required to sit for an exam called the NCLEX exam. In order to practice as a nurse, you must pass. Remember, too, there are resources to help you. Practice tests are available so you can familiarize yourself with the style of exam and questions.
The Nebraska Board of Nursing shared that the national pass rate average in 2019 was 88.18%, and recent graduates in Nebraska passed at an even higher rate of 91.04%. Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) is proud to boast a pass rate of 95.12% in 2019!
Myth #5: It doesn’t matter where I go to nursing school – they all teach the same thing.
This might be the biggest myth of them all. While all programs are required to meet certain accreditation standards, the schools’ mission and philosophy could be totally different. You'll never know if you love a school unless you visit or attend. And if you find you made the wrong choice with your nursing school, you can always transfer to a new school.
At Nebraska Methodist College we are very passionate about serving our community and practicing population health. These topics are woven throughout our nursing curriculum and general education. We're known for having a caring, close-knit community of likeminded individuals coming together for a similar goal.
We encourage students to learn more about how and why programs are set up the way they are. This will help you determine if a program is a good fit with your values and goals.
Myth #6: The application process is the same at all schools.
It's really important to do your research when applying to college. Each school has set up their own criteria for evaluating applicants. Some schools require you to complete your CNA before starting their nursing program. Others won’t review your file if you have below a “B" letter grade in science coursework.
Spoiler alert: neither of these are things NMC considers when reviewing nursing applications. Reach out to an admissions coordinator and ask questions about what is required for the application process.