5 Tips on How to Prepare for Nursing School

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Are you wondering how to prepare for nursing school? Find out more about the nursing profession, research nursing schools, and learn their requirements. When you find the right program, find a way to pay for it and learn what the life of a nursing student looks like.

woman sitting at desk with laptop

Nursing is not an occupation you want to enter into lightly. You need to make sure you’re a good fit for the profession and that you have the time and energy to commit to your education. If you’re thinking about transitioning into nursing career via an accelerated program, you should consider Xavier University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, where you can earn your degree in as few as 16 months. Keep reading for 5 tips on how to prepare for nursing school.

1: Research the Nursing Profession

Nursing is one of the best careers available today. It’s a high-demand, fast-growing profession filled with rewards and opportunities. To be happy and successful in nursing, however, you need to make sure you’re choosing this occupation for the right reasons, the most important being a genuine interest in helping people. But there’s a lot more to being a good nurse than having compassion for others. A solid understanding of math and science is vital in the profession, as are critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Not to mention, every time a nurse puts on scrubs, they are choosing selflessness over self-preservation. After all, several job hazards come with being a nurse, including needle sticks, germ exposure, and bodily fluid contact. Nursing can also take a physical and emotional toll on those who practice it, from chronic back pain caused by lifting patients to moments of intense grief following the death of a patient.

When you think about it, nursing is more of a calling than a career because you need a certain type of strength and selflessness to care for others without fail. So, before you do anything else, be sure to research the nursing profession and talk to those working in the field.

Xavier student on computer

2: Choose an Accredited Nursing School

When it comes to choosing a nursing school, you want to make sure its accelerated nursing program maintains national accreditation status and is in good standing with its respective state board of nursing.

An accredited nursing program is one that’s been vetted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These autonomous agencies serve to validate the quality and integrity of nursing programs and ensure that schools are graduating nurses who can provide evidence-based care, lead change, and transform healthcare.

While every state board of nursing is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of its population, not every state follows the same protocol when it comes to graduates applying for nurse licensure.

Xavier University’s ABSN program maintains the nursing school accreditations and approvals that today’s healthcare employers demand, including CCNE and the Ohio Board of Nursing.

Xavier ABSN student studying at table

Getting into Nursing School: Requirements and Prerequisites

3: Research the ABSN Admission Requirements

Most ABSN programs are second-degree options, which means you often need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to apply. These programs build on your existing college education to make the accelerated transition into nursing possible. It’s also common for programs to have a series of ABSN prerequisites that applicants must satisfy before starting nursing school.

To be eligible for the Xavier ABSN program, you need to have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative 2.7 GPA, as well as complete four prerequisite courses within our specified requirements.

4: Find Ways to Pay for Nursing School

So, before you apply to nursing school, you need to make sure you have the means to pay for it. You must consider the cost of tuition as well as the fees that come with being a nursing student, from books to liability insurance. While ABSN students don’t qualify for federal, state, or university grants, it’s possible to qualify for a federal direct loan, private loan, or third-party scholarship.

  • Federal direct loans are low-interest loan options that are available through the U.S. Department of Education. You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to know what type of loan you’re eligible to receive.
  • Private loans are credit-based loans that are available through various financial institutions. Be on the lookout for banks and credit unions that offer loans with low-interest rates and good terms.
  • Third-party scholarships are available to nursing students at the national and state levels. Consider the Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP) created by the Ohio General Assembly in 1990 to assist in the state’s nursing shortage.

By choosing Xavier’s ABSN program, you’re not just investing in a quality learning experience, you’re paying for a nursing education that will put you at the top of your game in as few as 16 months.

Xavier ABSN student working with sim manikin

10 Nursing School Tips for Success

5: Know What to Expect as an ABSN Student

If you’ve made it this far into the post, you’re probably wondering what it’s like being a student in our 16-month ABSN program. First and foremost, it’s important to understand that this is a fast-paced, rigorous learning path. It’s similar to working a full-time, high-pressure job.

Comprising 63 total credit hours, this four-semester program takes a blended approach to nursing education, combining online coursework with experiential learning opportunities.

Upon your completion of the program, you’ll be prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) with confidence and enter the profession as a practice-ready nurse.

Online Coursework

You’ll complete a series of online courses (as determined by our curriculum) via our intuitive e-Learning system. This coursework sets the foundation for your nursing education by focusing on the fundamentals and theories of the profession.

While online coursework brings some learning flexibility to the rigors of nursing school, you’re still required to meet assignment deadlines. It’s also worth noting that being successful with online learning requires a lot more self-discipline than the traditional classroom experience.

Nursing Skills and Simulation Labs

You’ll participate in nursing skills and simulation labs at your ABSN Learning Center of enrollment. These highly realistic learning activities develop your critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and clinical judgment across the continuum of patient care.

xavier student working with manikin

Our labs have child and adult simulation manikins that can deliver realistic physiologic responses, such as pupil reaction, heart sounds, respiration, and urinary output. Controlled by faculty from an adjoining room, these simulation manikins can also be vocal if they don’t agree with your treatment approach.

Clinical Rotations

You’ll begin your clinical rotations during the first semester. These real-world experiences expose you to different patient populations in diverse practice settings, which include hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics.

There’s a lot that goes into scheduling clinical placements, so we can’t make any guarantees as to where you’ll gain your practicum experience. You can, however, expect to be placed in a quality clinical setting that is conducive to learning and promotes professional development.

Our clinical partners include:

Clinicals are active learning environments where you and members of your cohort complete interventions a nurse would provide in any given situation—under the watchful eye of an instructor. Our clinical groups typically have an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Ready to Set Your Education in Motion?

While these are tips on how to prepare for nursing school, it’s important to speak with our admission team before you jump head-first into the ABSN enrollment process. This is the best way to determine whether our accelerated nursing program is a good fit for you and vice versa.

xavier absn student smiling with hands crossed

And when you’re ready to apply, you can choose to enroll for our ABSN program location in either Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus, targeting a January, May, or August start date.

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

ABSN 101 Guide

Download our ABSN 101 Guide to help you successfully navigate the accelerated path to nursing.