What to Consider When Choosing a Nursing School
Choosing where to go for your nursing education is a big decision as you embark on your healthcare career journey and one you’re going to want to give some careful consideration.
To help make the decision easier and less overwhelming, we’ve put together a handy guide on what to keep in mind when choosing a nursing school. Be sure to also check out our post on the Best Nursing Programs in Canada.
Your needs are going to be different depending on your career goals, lifestyle, financial means, learning style, and family circumstances. So a great place to start is by assessing your personal situation, taking note of what’s most important to you, and choosing a school that best aligns.
Location, Location Location. Whether you’re wanting to stay close to home to save some extra money, or head out on your first solo adventure, location will definitely play a role in where you choose to go to nursing school. Are you planning to live on campus or off-campus? Is the commute reasonable? There are great schooling options across the country, so once you have an idea of where you’d like to live, you’ll be able to narrow down your selection.
Tuition. Depending on your personal financial circumstances, the cost of tuition can be a key factor in your decision as to which nursing school to attend. Carefully look into the cost of tuition for the program, textbooks, supplies, uniforms (we’ve got you covered on those!) as well as anticipated living expenses. But bear in mind, that a high tuition barrier doesn’t necessarily mean you have to say no to your dream school. The cost can be mediated through scholarships, bursaries, loans, and/or working part-time. Be sure to also look out for special discounts offered exclusively to students - including Rhino’s awesome nursing student discount to save on all your scrub needs!
Curriculum and Specialties. Know your career goals, areas of interest and path you’d like to take. Do you want to be an LPN or an RN? Not quite sure yet? Do your research. There are plenty of great online resources to help make sense of things, or better yet, speak to someone already working in the field to get some firsthand insights into the nursing profession. Once you know what path you’d like to pursue, you can look into the specific training levels, programs and specialities offered by each school to find the best choice for you.
Accreditation, Reputation and Hiring Rate. When selecting a nursing program, chose one that has been accredited to ensure a quality level of education that has been reviewed and assessed to meet particular standards in the field to best prepare you for your nursing career. Looking at the hiring rates for graduates completing the program can also be a useful indicator as to how well the school prepares students to enter the workforce and its reputation.
School and Class Size. Depending on your learning style you may prefer a smaller class size for a more personal learning experience and access to instructors. Student to faculty ratios and the number of nursing students accepted with each intake will all be helpful to know.
Clinical Experience. Getting practical hands-on experience with patients will be an important component in ensuring you feel ready and confident to enter the workforce as a nurse when your studies are complete. Ensure the nursing program you opt for offers a well-developed practicum placement and clinical experience program component rather than simulated labs alone. UBC, McGill, and McMaster are some of the many great nursing schools in Canada that offer exceptional experiential practicum learning opportunities integrated through their curriculum.
There are plenty of excellent nursing program options out there. Taking the time to consider each of these factors and assessing what’s most important to you will make the decision of which school to attend a lot less stressful, and most importantly, ensure it’s the right school for YOU.