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Tips for Getting into Nursing School

Tips for Getting into Nursing School

Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer

LPNs: Show Patient-Care Skills

LPN applicants should demonstrate a solid foundation in nursing that’s equally balanced between care and knowledge. “They have to be compassionate, and they have to be smart,” says Maureen Creegan, EdD, RN, director and professor with the Division of Nursing at Dominican College in Orangeburg, New York, which has an advanced-standing program for LPNs.

Solid nursing skills are more important today than ever, with patients being discharged earlier and spending more time in home care. Candidates must demonstrate the communication skills needed to prepare patients for discharge and the managerial skills needed to coordinate aftercare with community nurses. Once admissions officers have screened a candidate’s academic qualifications, they consider the caliber of his clinical experience; those with medical-surgical or experience in other hospital units have an edge.

Tip: Taking the National League for Nursing’s Acceleration Challenge Exams (formerly the Mobility Profile II) can help LPNs receive advanced placement in RN or BSN programs. In New York state, LPNs can take the New York State PN-to-RN Transition Course to validate their knowledge and help determine advanced placement.

Career Changers: Communication and Teamwork

For career changers, accelerated nursing programs offer quick entry into nursing. Because these programs are brief – often 12 to 18 months – and intense, admission tends to be ultra-competitive. Accelerated programs often look for at least a 2.7 or 3.0 undergraduate GPA, Creegan says.

But the admissions process “is not simply number crunching,” she adds. Dominican’s accelerated BSN program is a second baccalaureate program that attracts professionals with degrees in economics, biomedical engineering and other sciences. In addition to good grades and the required science courses, these nontraditional candidates must demonstrate strong communication skills and the ability to interact effectively with others.

At Mount Carmel, admissions officers look for leadership experience in college or community organizations. And admissions officers for four-year nursing programs look for candidates with analytical skills and the ability to think on their feet.

Tip: Start a dialogue with the accelerated-program admissions officer or advisor at the schoolyou’re considering. Learn what they’re looking for and what you may need to do to obtain any missing qualifications.

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