Date Published: June 14, 2017
Not everyone is meant to be a nurse, just ask Rasmussen College’s Vice President of Nursing, Joan Rich. Nursing is hard work, and nursing school is just as hard. Let’s start at the beginning. ATI Nursing Education sat down with her to get an insider’s look at the nursing school admissions process.
How can applicants explore the field of nursing before applying to ensure this is the right career choice for them?
“Every year we become, as nurses, the most trusted profession in the world, and there’s a reason for that. Not everyone can be a nurse, and it’s really important to know the time commitment, the total amount of time it takes for studying, and the energy it takes to be a successful nurse. There’s a variety of nursing professions out there, from the PN, the Practical Nursing, which is a one-year entrance level, the associate degree, two-year RN, bachelor’s degree, four-year RN, and of course, many opportunities in graduate education for nursing. They all require a lot of time, a lot of studying, and a lot of clarity about the job you’re seeking. So it’s really important for a potential nurse to do their research and really understand what type of nurse they want to be.”
Any tips for students applying to nursing school?
“It’s important if you choose a nursing career that you understand the time commitment it takes for study. So often, a potential student, whether they’re in high school or they’re reading the paper, will see there’s a nursing shortage and decide that they want to be a nurse, because A, the jobs are available, and B, it pays well. However, that is not the reason to pick the profession, and that is a critical point. The potential nurse really needs to understand that in order to be a nurse you have to give more of yourself than anything else.”
Related read: Ready to Apply to Nursing School? Keep This in Mind
What about tips for older applicants choosing nursing as a second career?
“You really shouldn’t plan on working full-time and going to school full time, because that’s really difficult. And really, if you can concentrate knowing that you have a one-year window or a four-year window, that goes by in a blink of an eye.
What you need to do as a student is plan for the time commitment of nursing school. Get together with your family and get your support in place. If you are a young mom or dad with children, who’s going to be helping you with the children during this time? Do you have the family, do you have friends that are going to support you? What are your study habits? Do you struggle to study? What are you going to do to make it through nursing career, because it’s very difficult. Nursing is not for everyone.”
How important is the admissions test, like the ATI TEAS?
“There’s a lot of math and science within the nursing curriculum. So for those students applying for a nursing program, it’s a great idea to go back and review. If it’s been awhile since you’ve done math, science, anatomy, physiology, or some cross-multiplication problems that you’re going to need to deliver those medications, now is the time to go back and review. It will really help you as you take an entrance exam to get into your nursing school.
Every school has some sort of admission criteria in order to get into their program. For example, one of our admission criteria is the TEAS test. The TEAS test is very similar to other exams that you may be asked to take in order to get into a school of nursing. We look at your reading, your math, and your science. So again, it’s a great idea to review and to get ready, find out about the tests you’re going to be taking, and to do some pre-studying before you take your exam.”
Are you ready to learn more about nursing school? We explore more with Joan Rich as she details what prevents students from successfully graduating in part two of her interview!