Registered nurses are of the most in-demand professionals today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of nursing is growing much faster than the average for all other occupations – and the need for their support only continues to increase each year. For aspiring nurses, this means that job opportunities will be abundant – upon completion of the proper schooling and certifications, of course.
Like any prospering career, nursing requires that you first establish some basic groundwork before you can truly gain good footing in the field: Preparation, education, and certification are essential requisites to a nurse’s success.
Whether you are considering applying to nursing school, or have already received your acceptance letter into a nursing program, preparation will be a key component in your journey forward, too. From now until the day you enter those classroom doors, doing all that you can to prepare for nursing school will go a long way in terms of your success.
As a leading nursing school in Connecticut, Goodwin College has compiled a few tips and tricks to help get you started in the preparation process. By taking these steps in preparing for nursing school, you are sure to get ahead of the game, stand out amongst the competition, and enter nursing school with complete confidence. Let’s get you started:
- Set goals.
Right now, you may be thinking, my goal is to be a registered nurse! While it is great to set your eyes on the prize, you can truly make the most out of nursing school by establishing several goals in the short-term. What do you want to accomplish in your first semester? How about your first year? What skills do you want to develop and hone? You may even consider setting your sights on a clinical practice or hospital for which you want to work. From networking to shadowing, what steps will you take to get there? Create specific goals that will help point you in the direction you hope to go.
- Get organized.
Organization is a huge necessity in nursing school, whether it be in arranging your notes or knowing how to effectively manage your time. There are a lot of classes needed to complete a nursing degree. And with these classes come assignments—research papers, case studies, exams. Before diving in headfirst, pick up a planner or desk calendar that will help you better keep track of class schedules and due dates.
- Make sure your health is in check.
Before you set out to become a nurse, you must be prepared physically as well as mentally. Especially working in clinical settings, there are sure to be a lot of germs coming your way – be prepared by ensuring you are up to date on all your immunizations. Check in with your future nursing school’s admissions team and see which – if any – of these are required before entering the RN or BSN program. Mandatory immunizations may include tuberculosis, hepatitis B, tetanus, meningitis, rubella, and chickenpox.
- Take your pre-requisites.
In most accredited nursing programs, there is a certain set of prerequisite classes required of prospective students. For example, Goodwin College requires that all students must complete Microbiology coursework before advancing in our associate nursing degree program.
- Take other applicable classes to get ahead.
Some nursing schools encourage students to take other relevant coursework while working through their prerequisite classes. If you are currently earning your prerequisite credentials at Goodwin College, for example, and are working towards your nursing degree, we will allow you to register for classes in our bachelor’s health science degree program. The health sciences learned here are widely applicable to your nursing curriculum, and can help you get ahead in your nursing classes down the road.
- Earn any relevant certifications.
In nursing school, you will learn how to save lives. But why not get a head start? In preparing for nursing school, it can be helpful to get the basics down pat – take first aid classes and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) courses in your community. Earn any applicable certifications you can without a nursing degree. Some schools prefer, and some schools require, that these are earned before you even begin the application process. At Goodwin, we ask that students come prepared with CPR certification from the American Heart Association or American Red Cross before starting our first nursing course.
- Make connections.
Perhaps the most advantageous thing you can do to get ahead in preparing for nursing school is to network, network, and network. Undoubtedly, nursing college is the place to make connections—with both peers and with professionals. The relationships you forge here in school will become your greatest support in the long-term. In your preparations, connect with current students who have been accepted to nursing school. Reach out for tips and advice from the very people that know it best! If you have high hopes to work at a certain hospital or practice, reach out to see if you can come in and ask questions or shadow someone on their nursing staff. To gain every foothold you possibly can, you may also consider volunteering at some healthcare facilities in the area and making connections with those team members. Experienced nurses – whether personal or professional connections – can be one of your most valuable assets as you prepare for nursing school.
Whether you are just applying to colleges, or are fully prepared and ready to take nursing school on, there is a place for you at Goodwin. Here, nursing applications are accepted three times a year, and there are no lists for nursing enrollment. Call us at 800-889-3282 to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.