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Common Nursing Q&A's

Q: What schools are the best for nursing degrees?


Many schools have great nursing programs. One resource for choosing a nursing program is the many school ranking publications. It is important to choose a school that is accredited and that has the desired degree program. Applicants should also consider class size, clinical rotations, tuition, and the location of the school. That being said, the "best" nursing school is largely a matter of personal choice.

Q: Are there scholarships and grants for nursing school?


There are many scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available for those applying to nursing school. Some of these scholarships have restrictions as far as the degree level and program. In addition, grants and financial aid are often awarded based on age, credit rating, financial need, and a variety of other factors. Some programs and employers also offer loan forgiveness. For more information on scholarships, see the Nursing Scholarships article.

Q: What types of Nursing Programs are there?


There are many nursing education programs available for students depending current education level, the degree and area of study one wishes to pursue, and geographic location. Nursing education programs range from LPN /LVN certification programs to doctoral level nursing programs. The following list gives an overview of the types of programs available.

  • Licensed Practice Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Program: This is the shortest route to becoming a nurse, requiring as little as one year of training in a hospital, technical school, or community college. Students must then pass the NCLEX-PN to become a LPN/LVN.
  • Associates of Science in Nursing (AS): This degree typically takes two years to complete, and is offered by many community colleges. The associate's degree is the minimum level of education necessary to become a registered nurse (RN), though some healthcare facilities also offer RN diploma programs. Associate's degrees are often the fastest route to becoming a registered nurse. Graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN in order to become licensed.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): This is a four year degree program. Graduates of these programs are eligible to practice as RNs after passing the NCLEX-RN. Current RNs wishing to advance their education can do so through an RN to BSN bridge program. Those who have already completed a bachelor's degree in another field can earn a BSN through an accelerated program. Earning a bachelor's degree, as opposed to a nursing diploma or associate's degree, provides a more well-rounded education and is a good foundation for those wishing to continue education for a master's or doctoral level degree.
  • Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN): The MSN is an advanced-level nursing degree, and typically takes two years to complete post-BSN. There are types of MSN programs, including RN to MSN, BSN to MSN, and accelerated MSN for students who have already earned a master's degree in another field. Those who enter into MSN programs typically do so in order to pursue a career in nursing education or administration, or to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). MSN degrees are offered in various specializations, so it is important to choose a program that meets individual needs. Currently, the MSN is the minimum degree requirement necessary to become certified in an advanced practice specialization, such as nurse practitioner or nurse midwife.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): This is a terminal-level nursing degree that focuses on clinical practice. Students enter into these programs in order to become experts and leaders in nursing practice. In the future, the DNP might be the minimum education level necessary for advanced practice nursing certification. Depending on the program, students may be able to enter at various stages in their education.

Q: What type of job or career can I have after completing a nursing program?


There are numerous fields that a nursing student can enter into once they have completed a nursing program. A list of nursing specializations is available on the homepage, including descriptions of each specialty area. Most nurses choose to care for patients directly, but others work in administration, education, informatics, and various other areas.

Q: Can I take complete a nursing program online?


It is possible to complete all or some of a nursing education online, depending on the degree level. Basic nursing programs may allow students to complete some coursework online, but will require clinical experience to be completed at a medical facility. Higher level nursing programs are more common online. It is important to make sure that online programs are accredited.

Q: How will the nursing shortage affect me if I am entering into nursing school now?


The nursing shortage affects those entering into school because it means there is likely to be a high demand for their skills after they graduate and become licensed. Some geographic areas have a greater need for nurses than others, but graduates who are flexible should be able to find jobs in their field relatively easily.