Does It Matter What Nursing School You Go To? 8 Things to Look for in Your BSN Program

Choose the Best Nursing School - view of building outside

With so many nursing programs to choose from, it’s common to wonder, does it matter what nursing school you go to? Yes, it does. Your education is the starting point for your entire career, so it’s important to set yourself up to be a well-educated and competent nurse. Choosing a high-quality nursing program is the first step.

In this blog, we will lay the groundwork for answering the question, does it matter where you get your BSN? Then we will help you understand what to look for in your ideal nursing program.

When researching different programs, you should look for these eight attributes that every quality nursing school should have.

1. Look for a CCNE Accredited Nursing School

The first step to unpacking why it matters what nursing school you go to is accreditation. Accreditation is a good indicator that a program has been approved by the appropriate nursing commissions.

You don’t want to invest time and money into a nursing school that is not reputable, so ensure the program you’re considering has one of the following types of accreditations:

  • ACEN accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • CCNE accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
CCNE accreditation logo

To be accredited, a nursing program must follow national nursing education standards, which ensure nurses are well-trained and future patients receive high-quality care.

At Northeastern University, we hold CCNE accreditation for all our nursing programs, including our 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. With our high-quality, rigorous ABSN program, when you walk away with a diploma, you will be as prepared as possible for whatever lies ahead.

2. Ensure the Nursing School has State Approval

National accreditation is not the only regulatory step necessary for nursing programs. Each state also has a say in which nursing schools are approved to operate and prepare students for the NCLEX-RN® and for nursing practice.

Each state has different requirements of nursing schools in the state as determined by its board of nursing. These boards ensure the citizens of each state are safe and protected by having well-educated nurses. You should be able to find a list of approved programs on your state’s Department of Health website.

Make sure your prospective school has both accreditation and state approval, for they don’t always go together. At Northeastern, we offer a high-quality, state-approved ABSN program at either site, near Boston, Massachusetts, or in Charlotte, North Carolina. We hold state approval in both states.

Northeastern Accelerated BSN simulation lab

Making sure your nursing school has proper accreditation and approval is the first key to answering the question, does it matter where you get your BSN?

3. Consider How Well the School Prepares Students for the NCLEX

The NCLEX exam is the final requirement you must meet to become qualified to practice as a registered nurse, so this exam is a major deal. Doing well on the NCLEX also gives future employers evidence of your work ethic, nursing knowledge, and education.

The nursing school you attend should have high NCLEX pass rates and should actively prepare students to succeed on this exam. When getting ready for an exam like the NCLEX, studying must start well ahead of time. This is not a test where you can start a few weeks ahead of time and expect to do well.

At Northeastern, we are committed to making sure you will succeed on this exam, and the preparation starts from the very beginning. Then toward the end of your 16-month ABSN program, we have our students complete an extensive three-day test breakdown to make sure they know exactly what to expect on test day.

Northeastern ABSN student - Shaelyn

Northeastern definitely prepares you to take the NCLEX.
― Shaelyn, ABSN Program Graduate

Our nursing graduates at Northeastern have consistently produced excellent NCLEX results, so you can rest assured that we will prepare you well.

4. Find a School with Top-Quality Clinical Experiences

Clinical rotations are the cornerstone of an excellent nursing program, for these experiences teach you how to transition from being a student to being a nurse. Clinicals show you how to care for a wide array of medical ailments and conditions. They will help you learn all the necessary skills and protocols for becoming an independent nurse.

When considering a nursing program, ensure it provides you with ample clinical hours at top facilities. Talk with your admissions counselor and other students in the program, making sure the clinical rotations are comprehensive and at high-quality healthcare facilities.

Northeastern ABSN student rina

Northeastern had everything I wanted in a nursing program, including clinical placements at top healthcare facilities.
― Rina, ABSN Program Graduate

At Northeastern, we take pride in the quality of our clinical partners and the excellent nurse preceptors who educate our nursing students. Our students complete six clinical rotations in diverse areas, spending 72 hours on each rotation. Nursing students have clinical rotations in a variety of settings, including:

  • Adult health
  • Women’s health
  • Pediatrics
  • Mental health
  • Community health

Before graduation, students then take a concentrated clinical course to prepare them for their first nursing job. We pair you with a preceptor, and you take on more responsibility in caring for patient, helping you make the transition to professional nursing practice.

Northeastern ABSN student Megan

I learned a lot during my preceptorship, working a dozen, 12-hour shifts and taking patients by myself.
― Megan, ABSN Program Graduate

5. Look for a Nursing Program with Ample Networking Opportunities

It’s important to consider your professional future as a nurse when considering nursing schools. Which programs will make your job search easier after graduation? Those that help you network with the right people.

Clinical experiences at well-rated healthcare facilities open the door for future job opportunities when you graduate. Therefore, make sure you choose a nursing school with high-quality clinical partners where you would love working as a nurse.

This way, you’ll be able to make a good impression during clinicals and meet influential people who will want to hire you when you apply. The nurses and other healthcare professionals you work with during nursing school can provide job references for you and vouch for your skills when you apply.

As one Northeastern graduate, Shaelyn, says, “I definitely think having Northeastern nursing on your application is going to help you.”

Another networking resource to consider is the nursing faculty at your nursing school. Make sure your instructors are well-respected and have good relationships with top healthcare employers, as these people can also help you get your ideal job.

Clinical partnerships at Northeastern University

Northeastern has a reputation for graduating practice-ready nurses who are prepared to make a difference in healthcare. As such, we’re able to maintain clinical partnerships with some of the best healthcare facilities in the country.

6. Ensure the School is on the Leading Edge of Innovation

Healthcare is always changing and improving, especially in the fast-paced world of today. When considering nursing schools, make sure the institution is committed to being a part of that positive change through innovative research.

Hundreds of dedicated researchers at Northeastern are committed to making scientific and medical discoveries that will transform tomorrow’s healthcare for the better. We are a tier one research institution involved in research and development in numerous areas, including:

  • Children and adolescents
  • Chronic illness
  • Mental health
  • Technology
  • Global health

Research like ours at the Bouvé College of Health Sciences can truly set apart the best of the best nursing programs. By attending a nursing program so rich in research, students become immersed in a commitment to never-ending improvement. They learn to always strive to improve healthcare for the sake of the patient.

7. Evaluate Whether the Nursing School is a Sound Financial Investment

When you are looking at nursing programs, consider the time and money you will invest into your education. Talk with the school to determine how it fits into your financial plan. Ask about financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

When thinking about earning a BSN, remember that your education will pay off once you begin working as a nurse. Registered nurses in the U.S. make a median salary of $75,330, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earning a BSN is an ideal way to jumpstart your career and get into a well-paying field with high growth potential.

Earning your BSN is an investment in your future, and our tuition also takes that into account. Our financial aid representatives can help you create a plan to fund your BSN education.

8. Look for a Program with a Supportive Atmosphere

There are many official, logical reasons to choose a nursing school, but the final factor is intrinsic. Quality nursing education should include resources for any need a student may have. Look for programs with a focus on wellness and a passion for taking care of their students.

From your first call with an admissions counselor, you will be able to tell which schools care about you and are willing to go the distance to support your career goals. When you tour the campus at nursing schools, look around at the student and faculty interactions. Get a feel for the atmosphere of the school, and ensure that the school you choose is as committed to your success as you are.

At Northeastern ABSN, we are truly committed to our students, and we are here to support you with the whole process. When you first reach out to us, we will match you with an admissions counselor, who will help you throughout the entire application process.

Then, once you begin our ABSN program, our success coach will guide you on study tips and support throughout your time at Northeastern. In addition, our instructors are always willing to spend extra time with students. They are also available to answer questions via email or the e-Learning platform. We are a community, and that means we support each other.

Reach Out to Learn More about Northeastern ABSN

Now that you can answer the question, does it matter what nursing school you go to, we’d love to talk with you more about how you’d fit into our ABSN program at Northeastern.

A group of Northeastern Boston ABSN students

We are confident that Northeastern will provide you with a top-tier BSN education. If you’re looking for a quality nursing program that prepares you to graduate as a practice-ready nurse, contact our admissions team to put your nursing career in motion.

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