Nursing colleges are programs that provide training and practice for students to enter the dynamic profession of nursing. These schools train nursing students in how to care for patients and prepare them to work in the healthcare system after graduation. Nursing students must spend plenty of time training to effectively do their jobs.
Nursing students are typically required to learn about nursing in classroom settings, in programs that are similar to traditional college courses. Nursing classes are aimed at teaching students the various roles of nurses, such as through bedside care giving, communicating with physicians, and using biomedical equipment. Students also learn about the human body and the effects of illness, such as symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment of many conditions. They often study the effects of illness and injuries on many different patient populations, from newborn babies to adults and geriatric patients.
Most nursing colleges also require their student nurses to work in clinical practice situations. Each school has a designated number of hours that students must fulfill, and work locations are often at hospitals, doctor’s offices, public health clinics, or community centers. Students usually must wear uniforms that identify them as student nurses associated with their particular schools. They either work to provide patient care as if they were graduate nurses, or they shadow registered nurses in their work to get ideas of what their future jobs will entail.
A student may graduate to become a nurse after two to four years of study and clinical practice, depending on the program. Some nurses receive training and quickly put their skills to use within a short period of time, while others pursue advanced studies. Some nursing colleges have several educational tiers for students who want to study nursing at particular levels. They may offer basic nursing training in the form of undergraduate degrees and then admit students to study for advanced-practice nursing degrees as well, such as those in master’s or doctoral degree programs.
In terms of time commitment, the time it takes to become a nurse is often shorter than other professions, particularly those that require four-year college degrees. Nursing students may receive their training and then choose to work and study at the same time. Nursing is a flexible profession, providing many different avenues for education, and various locations and specialties in which to practice after graduation.
Choosing Your Program
Once you decide to pursue nursing as a career, your first major step will be to decide where to go to school. This is your opportunity to learn about the different options that are available, and which programs offer degrees that may be the best matches for your situation.
Nursing programs are offered according to the type of qualifications you will receive at graduation. Some are relatively short, lasting two to three years, and when you graduate you may have an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing. These programs allow you to gain licensure and begin working as a registered nurse. Some nursing colleges offer programs that are longer, and that will teach you the basic components of nursing plus additional skills, such as management or public health. These programs offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing, which may be required for some jobs. Before applying to a nursing college, you must first decide what type of degree you would like to achieve and how much time you can invest.
Depending on where you live, you may have several options for nursing colleges. Nursing degrees are offered through universities and state colleges as well as community colleges and technical schools. Consider the choices of schools available in your area and then determine what the prerequisites are for each one. By learning what the admission requirements are, you may rule out some nursing colleges. If you do not live near a nursing college, you may consider an online program, where you can take the majority of your classes at home.
If you have the opportunity to visit a nursing college, make an appointment to go to the campus and talk with an admissions counselor. Ask for a sample of the course requirements and the curriculum that students cover while in the program. You may also find out what types of clinical practice requirements are expected. The school should be able to explain the ratio of students to instructors, the availability of assistance with class work, and the costs of tuition. If you visit more than one nursing college, you can determine which one would be the most suitable for your situation.
Because there are many different options for attending nursing school, you can consider several factors before deciding where to apply. Once you have your choices narrowed down, you can turn in your applications and begin working toward your nursing career. Rest assured that you won't regret your decision. Nursing colleges are the pathway to a lifelong, rewarding career.
Nursing college often requires a great deal of time that you must commit to learning about the work of nurses and practicing as a student. The degree that you receive impacts how much time you will need to commit to a program. When you are thinking of pursuing a nursing degree, you must consider how much time, in years, that you will be able to give to your education.
Before beginning nursing college, you may need to wait to start your studies.
Some schools have many prerequisites, and may have waiting lists for students. Many schools start new groups of students according to semesters, so you may need to wait for several months, even after acceptance. Each program has different sets of prerequisites for students, so learn as much as you can about these requirements, including waiting periods, before you begin the application process.
Nursing colleges that offer licensed practical nursing (LPN) programs typically require 18 months to two years of study. Students may need previous coursework in sciences and social studies before starting, and they will then learn basic nursing concepts, how to administer medications, and how to report to physicians and registered nurses.
Some nursing programs are located at community colleges or technical schools, and are typically two to three years in length. Students in these programs graduate as registered nurses (RNs), and if completing associate’s degree programs, have additional titles of ADNs. Baccalaureate programs, which are typically offered through universities, require longer commitments, but students graduate as registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees (BSNs).
Nursing school often begins with work in the classroom, and you may not see patients or go near a hospital bed until you have completed the basic, initial requirements. If your program does not expect previous college coursework, it may be part of the curriculum you will study while in school. This is often the case in BSN programs, where students may spend their freshman years studying science, social studies, English, or math.
In the classroom, you will spend many weeks learning about nursing history, basic patient care, types of medications, and the physiology of many illnesses. You will then start working in clinical practice as a student, where you can apply these concepts to help you care for patients. In some nursing programs, you may begin to work as a student nurse during your first year of school. In other situations you will wait until you have taken all of your prerequisite courses. Once you begin working as a student nurse, you will continue to practice as part of your curriculum until you graduate.
Once you have finished two, three or four years of nursing school, you will be ready
to graduate and take your test for licensure. This process also involves a short time commitment, as you
apply to take the test, wait for your testing date, and study for the exam in the meantime. Once you take
the test, you may need to wait further until you have confirmation that you have passed and received your
nursing license. You will then be ready to practice as a nurse, and the time you have spent in school
will be worth what you have invested in your career.