Nursing is a highly desirable career — offering job security, a good living wage, room for growth and scheduling flexibility. If you have at least 60 non-nursing credits, you should consider enrolling in an Accelerated BSN program like the one at Averett University in Norfolk, Virginia. There are several steps you can take to make your transition into health care as seamless as possible. Let’s look at how to prepare yourself for nursing.
Shadow a Nurse or Volunteer
There is no better way to get a feel for the field of health care than to experience it first-hand. Contact the nursing director at a local hospital to see if you can schedule a time to shadow an RN. Or sign up to volunteer as a patient tech or care assistant. Exposure to the realities of patient care will help you decide whether becoming a nurse is right for you.
If you want to be a nurse, you should know that a BSN is the preferred standard in nursing degrees. If an Accelerated BSN program appeals to you, there are many to choose from. There are a few important criteria to consider when choosing your future school.
- The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®) is an exam prospective nurses are required to pass to earn a nursing license. You should check into students’ NCLEX pass rates at prospective schools, as they’re strong indicators of program quality. In 2019, the national average first-time pass rate for nursing students who graduated with a BSN was 91 percent. For reference, the 2019 first-time NCLEX pass rate for students in Averett’s traditional BSN program was 100 percent.
- You’ll want to ensure the school’s accreditation as well. If the state’s board of nursing doesn’t approve the nursing school you attend, you may not be allowed to sit for the NCLEX. And if you can’t take and pass the NCLEX, you won’t receive a nursing license. Averett University and its School of Nursing are accredited and approved nationally, regionally and in the state of Virginia.
- You should also find out whether your desired school has a waitlist. The ABSN program at Averett offers three start dates per year – in January, May and August – with no waitlist, so you can start your degree sooner.
Contact an Admissions Counselor
School admissions counselors are there to help you determine whether their nursing program is a good fit for you. Always be honest with your admissions counselor. They have a vested interest in seeing you succeed, and their job is to support you in any way they can. At Averett, your counselor will evaluate your transcript(s), determine which prerequisite courses you’ll need to take, select an enrollment date, help you submit your best application possible and work with you to develop an individualized academic plan.
Averett reviews applications on a rolling basis, so the sooner you submit your application, the better your chances of selecting your preferred enrollment date.
Nursing prerequisite courses comprise the foundation on which you’ll build your nursing education. At Averett, most of these courses can be completed 100 percent online, using the same learning management system you’ll use in the ABSN program. The number of prerequisites you’ll need to take will depend on your previous coursework or degree. Applicants with a Bachelor of Science degree are required to take fewer prerequisites than students with advanced standing, for example. Averett’s prerequisites include: Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Introduction to Statistics and Developmental Psychology.
Pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam
Applicants must pass the TEAS exam with a score of 65 percent or higher within one year of application to the Averett ABSN program. The exam assesses skills in reading, math, science and english. It’s designed to gauge whether a student has the knowledge required to succeed in a nursing program. Because admittance to nursing school can be competitive, the test serves as a supplemental tool for those tasked with selecting entrants.
How Can You Prepare for the TEAS?
The exam will not be easy, but there are study tools available to help you prepare. You can opt to take practice tests online or invest in a hard-copy study-guide if you prefer. The website Study.com offers several courses that can help you get ready for the TEAS. They include quizzes after each lesson as well as practice exams, so you can track your performance improvement as your study progresses.
You should study for the TEAS often and early. Be sure to register for the exam well in advance to avoid last-minute difficulties. And when it’s exam-time, get a full night’s sleep ahead of the test so you can give it your best shot.
You’re about to embark on a career that will test your immune system. As a nurse, you’ll be exposed to all manner of bacteria and viruses. You can check with your admissions counselor to find out which immunizations are required by your school, but if you’d like to get a head start, make sure you’re up-to-date on these:
- Hepatitis B
Activate Your Support System
Before classes begin, you should let your friends and family know that you’re about to get started on a life-changing path. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — whether with childcare, meals, or simply a listening ear. You’re heading into a busy season of life and you’ll need all the support you can get.
Once classes start, you’ll want to expand your support system to include instructors and staff. Becoming acquainted with your professors will make it easier to approach them with questions. And the better they know you, the more apt they will be to provide positive references for you in the future. At Averett, you’ll also want to connect with one of our academic success coaches, who will help you get the most out of your time in the program.
Network With Future Classmates
See if your admissions counselor can put you in touch with fellow ABSN students-to-be. It will be highly beneficial to develop study groups or accountability partners as your start-date approaches. Forming friendships with fellow students will help you become more invested in the program and will likely challenge you to succeed. And if you’re ever struggling with the subject matter, your classmates will be in a unique position to help. The friends you make as a nursing student may very well become your friends for life.
When you start nursing school, you’ll need a planner or similar organizational tool to manage your time. Soon, you’ll be juggling coursework, labs, exams, clinicals and personal commitments. Veteran nurses also recommend investing in good shoes and compression socks.
Averett University will provide some basic supplies for you once you begin classes, including a stethoscope, penlight and bandage scissors.
Find Out More
Now that you know how to prepare yourself for nursing school, don’t hesitate — contact us today with any questions and start your path toward a rewarding career.