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What’s the best college to go to for nursing ?

What’s the best college to go to for nursing

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Crystal M.’s Answer

Hello, I've found that the best nursing schools are the ones affiliated with hospitals. You get much more hands on experience and they often have programs where you sign a contract to work for them after you graduate-usually 2 years of work, and they pay for your schooling as you go. That is a great deal! For example, I went to UPMC St. Margaret School of nursing. There are many just like it.
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Char’s Answer

Hi Sara,
A great start with choosing the right nursing school is to find out the percentage of students who graduate from a school who pass the state board nursing exam (called the "NCLEX").

Let's say a nursing school had a 90% passing rate last year (which is good). This means that 90% of nursing students who graduated from that school last year, passed the state nursing exam and became nurses. Passing the exam can be difficult, so it's important to choose a school that teaches you well enough to be able to pass it. That's not saying that you won't pass the exam if your school has a low passing rate. It just means you're more likely to become a nurse if you graduate from a school with a high passing rate. I would choose a school with atleast an 80% passing rate.

To find passing rates, do a Google search of your state and "NCLEX passing rates." If that doesn't work, go to your state's (or any state's) board of nursing website and type "NCLEX passing rates" in the search bar.

Here's a site that lists each state's nursing board:

For your convenience, here are the nursing schools (both RN and LPN) in Illinois that had over a 90% passing rate in 2022:
-Ambria College of Nursing
-Bradley University
-Black Hawk College
-Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing
-Carl Sanburg College
-Danfield Area Community College
-Heartland Community College
-Illinois College of Nursing
-Illinois Central College
-John A. Logan College
-Joliet Central College
-Lake Land College
-Lewis University
-McHenry County College
-Moraine Valley Community College
-Olivet Nazarene College
-Rend Lake College
-Rush University
-Shawnee Community College
-Spoon River College
-St. Anthony College of Nursing
-Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences
-Waubonsee Community College
-Western Illionois University
-William Rainey Harper College

Of course there are other things to consider like city/location, tuition costs, and admission requirements, but this might be a great place to start. Good luck!
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Sara,

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare for a nursing career. Physics, chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, algebra, geometry and statistics will be needed. Both concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills for research; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration among team members, staff and partner departments occur on a daily basis. As a nurse, communication is essential and critical when dealing with patients, medical personnel and other hospital staff. A college course in public speaking, communications and English will help with one's communication and writing skills. While in high school, the debate team will provide the opportunity to sharpen communication skills which are backed with research and factual data and information.

There are different types of Nurses - RN (Registered Nurse), LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), etc. There are different avenues for Nurses to serve - Emergency Room (ER), Pediatric, Floor, etc. My Mother retired as a Registered Nurse (RN). She was a head RN who looked after patients on the regular floors of the hospital.

RN designation is earned by attending and graduating from a 4 year college program with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. LPN and CNA designations can be earned by attending a 2 year college or vocational program. RNs administer patient medications, treatments and medical and educational advice and information to the patients. Whereas, LPNs and CNAs provide basic nursing care and comfortability to the patient. CNAs work under the supervision of the RNs and LPNs. Travel Nurses will go to different cities and different states to serve in hospitals and medical facilities.

According to Johnson and Johnson, here is a link for Nursing Specialties:

A Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing will concentrate more on math and science courses. This will be earned at a college or university for a duration of four years. Clinical experience is gained while in nursing school at a college or university. Physiology, psychology and anatomy are some additional college courses that are required for one to take to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Here are the Top 10 Best Nursing Schools of 2023 per

- Duke University
- Georgetown University
- Johns Hopkins University
- New York University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Michigan
- University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)
- University of Washington
- Emory University
- University of Maryland

U.S. News & World Report has additional college listings for the best schools for a Master Degree in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice:

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees - Master and Doctoral

Scholarship applications can start to be submitted during your Junior year and will continue throughout your Senior year in high school. It is best to ask your Academic Advisor/School Counselor on the timeline process as well. Scholarship applications will have specific deadlines and requirements to meet in order to be submitted for review and consideration.

You may want to start to compile your resume/portfolio since a majority of scholarship applications will require academic grade point average (GPA), academic accomplishments, school activities (clubs, sports, etc.), community involvement (volunteer, church, etc.), academic and personal recommendations, etc. There may be essay requirements on why you are a qualified candidate to receive the scholarship, what your future goals are academically and professionally and other questions centering around who you are, your beliefs, etc.

Here are a couple of links for College Scholarships:

Also, it will be best to check with the colleges and universities that you will be applying to. You can check with the School/Department of your desired major, the Campus Career Center and the Register's Office for additional information for college scholarships and grants and specific requirements for qualifications.

Best wishes for your education and career path in Nursing!