Nurses are so important to our healthcare system. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 proves just how important our frontline workers are, especially the ones who are caring for the sick and injured. If you are thinking about starting a nursing school program in the fall, you may be wondering what you can do to get yourself ready. Nursing school preparation is no joke, but it is well-worth the time and effort.
The future is bright for Registered Nurses (RN). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs make an average salary of $73.3K per year, and the job growth expected for nurses is 12 percent – much faster than the average for all occupations!
If you are ready to jumpstart your career as a nurse, you are in for quite the adventure. Nursing is a challenging but highly rewarding role. Have you already enrolled in a program that’s about to start? Some students find that getting into a nursing program is a challenge. There are many prerequisites to fulfill before a nursing school will accept your application. But if you’re already there, and ready to start school soon, you may be wondering what you can do to prepare. Read on, as we share a nursing school preparation checklist to complete before the semester begins.
☐ Get Your Background Check & Drug Screening
We’ll start with the most common nursing school prerequisite that students must complete. At Goodwin University, your tuition will cover the cost of both the background check and drug screening that is required for enrollment. These tests ensure that every prospective nursing student is qualified and fit for a patient-care setting. This also confirms if there are results that may hinder licensure down the road, once the nursing program is complete.
☐ Get Up to Date on Immunizations
Before you begin your nursing school program, you must be healthy – both mentally and physically. As a nursing student, you will be placed in real-life patient care and clinical settings. Before enrollment, be sure to go to the doctor for a checkup and while you’re there, get up to date on your immunizations. Mandatory immunizations for nursing school may include hepatitis B, chickenpox, meningitis, rubella, tetanus, and tuberculosis.
☐ Earn Required Certifications
Every prospective nursing student must first become Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certified before beginning their nursing program. This certification may be earned through the American Heart Association or the Red Cross. Proof of certification must be submitted each year in nursing school. Each student is responsible for the costs related to obtaining – and maintaining – the CPR certification.
☐ Determine Your Work-School-Life Balance
An important step in preparing for nursing school is figuring out how you are going to balance it all. If you have a job, you’ll want to make sure the hours won’t conflict with your classes or study time. If you have a family to care for, you’ll want to consider childcare arrangements and setting time aside to study when you’re not in class. It helps to be enrolled in a nursing school that offers flexibility. At Goodwin University, classes are offered days, nights, and clinicals are offered days, nights, and weekends, too. Depending upon your program, many of the nursing classes at Goodwin are offered online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format (a combination of online and on-campus). This will give you time to fit in the classwork when you need it and maintain your professional and personal obligations.
☐ Get the Right Gear
As you prepare to start your nursing school journey, you’ll want to be ready to take on clinicals in the right clothing and footwear. It’s important to have quality scrubs that will last. Check with your school so you know ahead of time if they require certain colored scrubs. For example, many nursing schools require white scrub pants.
As any nurse would tell you – you will be on your feet a lot. Comfortable footwear is important. Your school may also have certain requirements regarding shoes, as well, so be sure to check before making a purchase.
☐ Stock Up on Supplies
Remember in high school, when you would need to stock up on the right school supplies for your classes? The same rings true for nursing school – only in nursing school, you will need certain supplies to help with clinicals. You’ll want to purchase the following items:
- Badge clips
- Voice records
- Student Planner
- Post-It Notes
- Nursing cheat sheets
- Trauma sheers
- Nursing clipboard
☐ Setting Goals for the Semester Ahead
Before you begin your first semester, it may be helpful to write down some of your goals. What do you wish to gain from this experience? What are you hoping to achieve, in terms of your grades? What classes do you wish to take? What skills do you want to gain? What kind of clinical experience or specialization do you wish to pursue? Are connections with classmates, professors, and/or future employers important to you? Jot down any feelings and hopes you may have for the semester ahead. This will help you have a clear path as you take this important step in your educational journey.
Once you’ve checked off everything on this list, you are ready to jump in! Keep this nursing school preparation checklist on hand before beginning your program. Learn more about the programs at Goodwin University by calling 1-800-889-3282 or visiting https://www.goodwin.edu/nursing for more information.
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.