Choosing the right nursing school plays a critical role in how much value you obtain from your education. Factors like cost, curriculum, and accessibility influence your overall learning experience and long-term dedication to achieving your professional goals.

If you’re ready to advance your career, there’s one important question you’ll need to address: Where can I get my bachelor's degree in nursing?

While most bachelor’s degrees in nursing can help you advance your career, nursing programs vary widely in terms of coursework, faculty expertise, and reputation. So as a prospective student, you should carefully consider your options to ensure you enroll in a program that meets your academic standards.

Here are just a few things you should look for when taking this exciting next step in your nursing career.

Download our guide to discover which nursing degree is right for you.

Download Your Guide

Seven Things To Look For in a Bachelor's Degree Nursing Program

With rising nursing shortages, more providers are searching for ways to ensure nurses are prepared for the evolving demands in healthcare. Whether you’re interested in becoming a nurse manager or improving your clinical skills as a registered nurse, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing can provide a streamlined path to advancing your career.

From accreditation to curriculum to support services, here are the most important considerations that will shape your experience in nursing school.

1. Accreditation

Accreditation should always be at the top of your list for any degree program you’re considering. This is because, in most cases, unaccredited programs don’t meet the nursing licensure requirements in your state. If a nursing school is accredited, it means their educational programs, faculty qualifications, facilities, student services, and administrative processes are aligned with industry-defined standards.

There are several accrediting agencies that make these evaluations. For example, the nursing school at Regis College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)—a specialized professional accreditor.

Since accreditation plays a huge role in your academic and professional outcomes, it’s important to research this aspect of your prospective schools very carefully. In fact, many employers only hire professionals from accredited programs. It’s also worth noting that credits from non-accredited schools aren’t eligible for transfer to accredited programs.

2. Well-Rounded Curriculum

To become competent healthcare providers and advocates, nurses need clinical expertise and critical thinking skills for effective patient-centered care.

A balanced nursing curriculum should provide a foundation in biological sciences through coursework like:

  • Physiology
  • Health assessment
  • Healthcare trends
  • Evidence-based practice

At the same time, it’s equally important to include courses on the psychological, ethical, and societal factors influencing healthcare so you’re prepared to care for diverse patient populations.

“Students should look for a curriculum that would be of interest to them and can help them grow as a nurse,” says Sharon Higgins, Interim Dean of Regis College’s Young School of Nursing.

For practicing nurses who are advancing their education, this could mean pursuing a curriculum with a greater emphasis on leadership or opportunities for specialization. With the right educational background, you’ll become a more adaptable and confident nurse in whatever workplace setting you’re in.

3. Modality and Flexibility

Nursing programs are available in various modalities to accommodate diverse learners, so it's important to consider which format will support your academic success.

Here’s an overview of the modalities available to you:

  • In-person: Offers hands-on experience and networking through face-to-face classes.
  • Hybrid: Combines online coursework with on-site clinical training to offer more flexibility for parents or working students.
  • Online: Provides the most flexible schedules for working professionals, allowing them to access lectures and assignments remotely.

In addition to these modalities, it’s also important to consider whether you prefer a program that offers full- or part-time enrollment. This will affect whether or not you can work while going to school and how long it will take to earn your degree.

For example, Regis College’s RN to BS program is part-time and has an online asynchronous format so that students are able to balance their education with their work and personal lives.

4. Experienced Faculty

Qualified faculty can enrich the curriculum with knowledge and expertise, providing mentorship and industry connections that go beyond textbooks. Therefore, it’s important to find a program that has skilled nurse educators who are able to draw upon years of real-world experience to guide students through complex medical scenarios.

One of the most important things to consider when comparing degree programs is making sure the faculty members have substantial clinical experience providing direct patient care.

“All of the faculty within Regis’s RN to BS program have advanced degrees,” says Higgins. “Most are practicing providers who are up to date with current guidelines and have well-rounded work experience as nurses or advanced practice providers.”

Nursing programs are notoriously rigorous, so your chosen program should also have a balanced faculty-to-student ratio to allow more personalized attention.

5. Program Reputation

Reputation also plays an important role in your advanced education. Instead of relying on an internet search, ask colleagues and industry peers for deeper insight into what programs they recommend or attended.

Professionals who already work in the healthcare field can benefit from consulting other nurses and nurse educators about program reputation. Current and former students can also offer insights into their experiences in the program, career outcomes, and professional milestones.

If you’re hoping this degree will help you obtain a job at another hospital or facility, researching LinkedIn or reaching out to your colleagues can help you determine whether your preferred employer regularly recruits graduates from the nursing school you’re considering.

6. Student Support Services

Speak with nursing school admission officers during your research period. This can help you find out how well the school prepares students for professional practice and supports their academic growth.

Some support services you should consider in your search include:

  • Counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Academic advising
  • Mentoring

While these resources are indispensable for any program, they’re particularly important for the success of remote learners. For example, Regis College’s program offers personalized academic support from faculty, the program director, and an advisor to help remote learners succeed. Students can even arrange online tutoring to gain a deeper understanding of the coursework and target their skill development.

7. Financial Considerations

Consider the cost of returning to nursing school when narrowing down your options. By exploring accredited schools that offer scholarships and financial aid for nursing students, you can reduce your financial burden and gain more flexibility in choosing the right program.

At Regis, RN to BS students are eligible to apply for financial aid, providing the opportunity to earn grants that don’t have to be repaid and subsidized loans with a low interest rate.

Tuition remission and reimbursement are also options that may be available to you. If students or their spouses work for the college they plan to attend, they may be eligible for waivers that reduce or completely cover the cost of specific courses. You can also get your tuition reimbursed through your employer, covering the cost of courses related to the industry.

Choose the Right Nursing Program For You

Nursing school can be demanding. So it’s essential to find a program that aligns with your individual needs. Try to weigh your personal and professional goals to determine what program features or support services will be most beneficial to your educational journey.

“For nurses who’ve been out of school for a while, utilizing the resources available and looking at what schools have to offer is extremely important to help with that transition,” Higgins explains.

If you want to position yourself as a leader and improve your clinical proficiency, Regis College’s RN to BS program offers a way to build upon prior undergraduate nursing education. The program prepares graduates to effectively assess the health concerns of patients and adapt to their changing needs. As an asynchronous online program, the degree is designed for working professionals who want a high-quality education in a flexible format.

To learn more about the program benefits, contact the admission team for information about the curriculum, cost, and prerequisites.

Download The Free Nursing Guide

Published Date