Nursing is a career that is currently in high demand, perhaps now more than ever. Do you have what it takes to become a nurse, though? In this article, we’ll briefly discuss the nursing school admissions process and then reveal eight signs pointing towards your future as a successful nursing professional.
The Nursing School Admissions Process
Applying to nursing school can be an intimidating process. After all, many undergraduate nursing programs are quite competitive. The more you know about the application process, though, the more confident you’ll feel.
Although the application procedure can vary from one nursing school to another, most will require the following information/documents at a minimum:
- High school transcript/GPA
- ACT and/or SAT scores
- Personal statement or essay
- Letters of reference
Now, to the real question: What does it take to be a nurse? To get into nursing school and launch your successful career as a nurse there are some things you must consider. Here are 8 signs to help you determine if you’re ready to be on your way to a rewarding position in healthcare:
You Have A Solid Academic History
To apply to nursing school, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. Most Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) schools prefer you have a high school GPA of at least 3.0. More competitive schools will look for even higher grade point averages.
If your GPA is less than 3.0, you may still be able to get into nursing school, but your chances will be better if you apply to an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program. These programs will typically accept a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
You Really Want to Help Others
Why do you want to be a nurse? At its core, nursing is a helping profession. Thus, nursing schools want to see that you have a real desire to help others and a passion for providing quality health care. Anyone can learn to start an IV, but empathy and compassion aren’t qualities that can be so easily taught.
While nursing positions have the potential to pay quite well, nursing schools want to know that you’re intrinsically motivated by the desire to care for patients—not by a paycheck.
This desire to help others isn’t something a nursing school can properly ascertain through your nursing school application, but it is a quality they’ll look for when you come in for your interview. Be prepared to answer questions about why you chose nursing as a profession. Use these questions as opportunities to fully express your passion for becoming a professional caregiver.
You’re a Self-Starter But Also Great at Following Directions
Can you take instruction and still be able to think for yourself? Nurses often assist doctors and other healthcare professionals, so they need to be good at following directions. At the same time, nurses are sometimes left to make treatment decisions on their own, so you need to be confident in your own knowledge and instincts as well. This is a unique blend of autonomy and submissiveness that nursing schools view as a sign of future success in the field.
You’re Committed to the Program and the Profession
Is being a nurse worth it? Nursing school admissions officers know that you won’t be successful in nursing school or in your future career unless you’re fully committed to the program and the nursing profession. Thus, throughout the application process, they’ll be looking for signs of your full commitment. This will include asking you about your daily schedule, family obligations, and other responsibilities. It may seem like prying, but the goal is to determine whether or not you have the time and resources to fully dedicate yourself to the process of becoming a nurse.
You Have Above-Average Communication Skills
Are you able to communicate clearly and succinctly? Again, nursing schools aren’t just looking for applicants who will do well in school; they’re looking for individuals who will make great nurses. Communication skills are absolutely essential in the healthcare field. In some cases, these skills can make the difference between life and death.
Even in less volatile situations in the workplace, nurses must still communicate with one another, with patients, and with doctors on a regular basis. In these everyday scenarios, both verbal and nonverbal communication skills are imperative.
You’re Good at Dealing with Stress
Are you able to hold it together when things get tough? Nursing can be a very stressful occupation. If you can imagine having a dozen sick patients who need all need your care at the same time and then add to that the need to stay on top of ever-changing equipment and technologies, then you may be able to begin to understand the mental (and even emotional) strain of being a healthcare professional. This is the reality you’ll likely face on a regular basis as a nurse, so you’ll need to have some healthy and effective coping mechanisms in place for dealing with high levels of stress. Whether it be meditation, exercise, or some creative hobbies, you’ll want to be able to show a nursing school that you have the tools to properly recharge yourself when things get hectic at work.
You’re in Reasonably Good Shape
Are you in good shape? Nursing can be a physically taxing job as well. You’ll likely work long shifts, most of which will be spent on your feet. You may also have to lift heavy equipment or even patients. You don’t need to be a pro athlete to perform the regular duties of a nurse, but you do need to be in reasonably good physical shape.
You Know What You’re Getting Into
Do you know what you’re in for? Successfully navigating nursing school may be one of the most challenging things you ever do. You’ll have to study hard and give it your all. This may require sacrificing other things that are important to you and pulling some all-nighters. And that’s just the beginning of the journey. The nursing profession itself is no walk in the park either. Nursing schools want to see that you have a grasp of just how difficult and time-consuming nursing can be and that you’ve adequately prepared yourself for the challenge.
These schools also want to see that you’ve carefully considered whether the profession is a good match for your personality, talents, and life goals. This requires a great deal of reflection and insight. It also means understanding who you are as a person and what you want out of life. These aren’t things easily decipherable on a nursing school application, but admissions officers will be able to discern these qualities through your personal essays and interview responses.
The bottom line? If you’ve given it a fair amount of thought and conclude that you might have what it takes to become a nurse, then you probably do!
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