October 27th, 2010
So you’ve decided to become a nurse? Congratulations, you plan to join one of the fastest growing careers in the health care profession! Now all you need to do is get there, which means preparing to enroll in a nursing program, which traditionally certifies its graduates as registered nurses. Although there are many other kinds of nurses and specialty programs available to you, for the purpose of this post, we’ll simply consider the basic steps you need to take in order to get into a nursing program.
The most basic requirement that nursing programs have, whether they are associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs, is that all incoming students should have a high school diploma or equivalent. The presence of this diploma demonstrates that you are capable of handling academic work, and will most likely know how to survive in a rigorous academic program. In addition to having a diploma, you should also have a strong transcript, high GPA, and good test scores. These figures show that you have done well in academic courses and also they show that you are intelligent. Nursing schools want intelligent students, because patients need the best, most competent care possible.
But all of the above isn’t enough. You should also demonstrate an intense interest in nursing, health care, and medicine. You can do this by grounding yourself in the foundational subjects of health science: chemistry, biology, human development, and other health science classes. Make sure you do exceptionally well in these courses.
In addition to studying subjects that will prepare you for in-depth health courses in your nursing program, you should also try to get some early professional experience. Of course, with no previous experience, you probably won’t be able to do much more than simply volunteer at a hospital or clinic, in which case you’ll most likely be helping out in the front office. But regardless, such extracurricular activities can help show your favorite nursing programs that you are serious about becoming a nurse. When they see that you spent your summer volunteering, they’ll understand how important nursing is to you. If you don’t have a way of accessing opportunities like this, be sure you talk to a college counselor at your school. Most likely he or she will have some idea as to what you can do to become involved.
Finally, the most important thing to remember about applying to nursing school is that you should never give up on your dream. Do everything you can to prepare for nursing school, and keep trying. Eventually you’ll succeed.
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