Given all of the nursing program options available today, it’s common to pose the question: Does it matter where you get your nursing degree? It most certainly does. But that’s not to say you need to go to an Ivy League school to stand out as a great nurse. What’s important is that you receive a quality education that allows you to graduate as a practice-ready nurse.
When researching different programs, look for these six attributes that every quality nursing school should have:
1. Program Accreditation
It’s important to choose an accredited nursing program. Accreditation ensures the nursing education you receive follows nationally established standards designed to safeguard the public. As such, healthcare employers prefer to hire graduates of accredited nursing programs because they know the curriculum has been properly vetted.
“I definitely think having Northeastern nursing on your application is going to help you.” ― Shaelyn, ABSN Program Graduate, 2017
The two main organizations responsible for accrediting nursing programs in this country are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
These autonomous accrediting agencies serve to validate the quality and integrity of nursing programs, ensuring schools are graduating students who can provide quality care, lead change, and transform healthcare. The difference between these two accrediting agencies is that CCNE does not accredit LPN, diploma, or ADN programs, whereas ACEN does.
All of the nursing programs at Northeastern, including our 16-month ABSN program, maintain CCNE accreditation.
2. State Approval
Every nursing school graduate across the country must pass the NCLEX-RN® licensure exam to legally practice the profession. Each state, however, has its own unique set of eligibility requirements for taking the exam and obtaining nurse licensure. The board of nursing within each state is responsible for establishing these requirements as a way to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its population.
Keep in mind that while national nursing accreditation and state approval typically go hand in hand, there are some nursing schools out there that have state approval but not national accreditation. Whether you choose our 16-month ABSN program near Boston, Massachusetts, or in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can rest assured that our university has board of nursing approval in both of these states.
3. NCLEX Preparation
While most undergraduate exams test your level of knowledge in a particular subject, the NCLEX evaluates your critical-thinking abilities across all areas of nursing practice. In essence, it’s not the type of exam you can start studying for a few weeks in advance. Therefore, it’s important to choose a nursing program that places significant emphasis on NCLEX preparation. Scoring high on the NCLEX shows employers that you have the skills to care for patients in the safest, most effective way possible.
At Northeastern, not only do we start preparing you for the NCLEX on the first day of class, we also provide extensive test preparation during the final weeks of the ABSN program. “Northeastern definitely prepares you to take the NCLEX,” said Shaelyn, a 2017 graduate of our ABSN program near Boston. “We did a three-day NCLEX prep that breaks down the exam so you know what to expect on test day.”
4. Clinical Experiences
Your clinical practicum plays a vital role in your future success as a nurse. Therefore, it’s important to choose a nursing program with quality clinical placements that offer extensive real-world experience in diverse areas of nursing practice. After all, given today’s nursing shortage, healthcare employers want their new hires to be able to work without constant supervision, and quality clinical placements can prepare you to be more independent on the job.
As a student in our ABSN program, you’ll complete six clinical rotations, each one comprising 72 hours of practical experience. And, unlike most programs, we get you started on your rotations in semester one. During clinical rotations, you can expect to treat patients, under the watchful eye of an instructor, in practice areas that include women and families, adult care, mental health, and community health.
You’ll also complete a concentrated clinical practice course during the final weeks of the program that facilitates your transition to professional nursing. We pair you up with a preceptor within a specific healthcare setting who guides you in synthesizing your nursing knowledge and clinical skills when providing care to patients with complex health problems.
“Northeastern had everything I wanted in a nursing program, including clinical placements at top healthcare facilities.” ―Rina, ABSN Program Graduate, 2017
5. Networking Opportunities
Through clinical rotations, nursing students also have the opportunity to network within the local healthcare community. Students often consider their clinical rotations as informal interviews. The healthcare professionals a student works with could eventually become employment references and/or sources for various job openings.
The best nursing schools typically have clinical partnerships with the best hospitals and healthcare facilities in the local community. By choosing a prestigious nursing school, you may be able to improve your professional network and possibly enhance your employment prospects.
Ranked one of the top 40 universities in the nation and one of the top 10 most innovative schools by U.S. News & World Report, 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, including Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Carolinas HealthCare System (Atrium Health), and Novant Health.
6. Research and Innovation
Attending a college or university that places significant emphasis on research and innovation ups your chances of studying under faculty who are charting the future course of nursing. Through research, a school is able to improve its prestige and provide students with unmatched educational opportunities.
Currently, hundreds of dedicated scientists and scholars are contributing to Northeastern’s growing stature as a national research university. Furthermore, our School of Nursing runs a Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NIE) program that serves to redefine nurse education by incorporating skills in business, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
“I learned a lot during my preceptorship, working a dozen, 12-hour shifts and taking patients by myself.” ―Megan, ABSN Program Graduate, 2017
If you’re looking for a quality nursing education that prepares you to graduate as a practice-ready nurse, contact our admissions team to put your nursing career in motion.