Nursing School Prerequisites

Deciding to become a nurse and enter into nursing school can be a life-changing decision. The dedication required to complete a local or online nursing school program is enormous. Many nursing school students appreciate the various challenges and triumphs that nursing school and a nursing career can bring, but figuring out what is needed to even enter into an accredited nursing schools can be one of the first challenges to a fulfilling nursing career.

Nursing school prerequisites depend entirely on the level of education the potential student has attained, but the most basic requirement is a high school diploma.  It is recommended that high school students take as many math and science courses as possible in order to stand out among other applicants to the desired nursing schools. Mentoring programs, summer nursing camps or vocational training can all add to a student’s chances of being accepted into a desired nursing school. Letters of recommendation and other extracurricular activities can also add to the potential student’s ability to be accepted into nursing school.

For non-traditional students, nursing school programs may require some different prerequisites. While former experience in a nursing school environment may be preferred, it is not a necessary requirement for acceptance into a nursing school program. One of the most popular options for those entering a college, university or online nursing school is an accelerated nursing program that takes prior education and college credits into consideration, helping to reduce the time and costs associated with a full RN to BSN program. These returning students, whether having already attained an Associate of Science in Nursing or a LPN/LVN certification can easily continue to earn credits for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, as well as the required skills and knowledge needed to pass the NCLEX-RN examination.

No matter the status of the student applying to nursing schools, the prerequisites vary depending on the level of education already attained, as well as what type of degree is being sought. Experience in nursing, health care, math, science and the ability to work under pressure are all great prerequisites that can benefit a nursing school student.  Whether a current high school student or a non-traditional student returning to college, the dedication and drive to the call of nursing can be the greatest prerequisite needed for acceptance into a desired campus-based or online nursing program.

Nursing Management and Administration Jobs

Becoming a nurse may bring up visions of hands-on patient care, providing services to ailing patients or those with injuries or disabilities. No matter whether in a campus-based or online nursing school, a nursing school student has the ability to define a nursing career track that is not only personally fulfilling, but also brings job and financial security. With all of the fields to choose from within nursing, many nurses turn to the administrative and management track, providing assistance to patients through the business side of nursing.

Nurse Managers, Administrators and Executives are responsible for the management of a unit or ward within a hospital or clinical specialty. Nurse Managers provide support and information to patients, as well as mentor other nurses and help to create and implement administrative policies and procedures. Nurse Managers must keep day-to-day tasks in mind, including budgets, schedules and the overall processes within the hospital unit.

Nurse Managers typically hold a Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing degree, plus additional certificates or experience in Nursing Management, Business Administration or other applicable skills. Considered an Advanced Practice Nurse, the Nurse Manager, Nurse Administrator or Nurse Executive can also utilize graduate school programs that combine a nursing and business degree together.

Nursing Administration and Management jobs can encompass several different disicplines, including public relations, human resources, finance and marketing. These professionals can also work outside of a hospital or clinic environment as consultants, with health insurance companies or even within the legal system. Depending on the location, job duties, level of experience and education attained, a Nurse Manager, Nurse Administrator or Nurse Executive can expect to earn anywhere from $50,000 – over $100,000 annually.

The business of nursing requires dedicated individuals that can not only understand and implement policies throughout a hospital, clinic, ward or unit, but can also understand the hands-on care necessary to promote positive patient outcomes. Beyond the walls of a medical facility, these professionals can provide insight into ancillary providers of health-related services and products, as well as serve as liaisons between the business and medical world. A Nurse Manager, Nurse Administrator or Nurse Executive brings both patient care and medical administration together, creating an environment for the best health of all it touches.

Nursing Incentives and Loan Repayment Programs

Job security, professional advancement, recession-proof careers and all things financial are on the minds of the people these days. With a large focus on the medical care sector, nursing jobs are reported to be the top career choice in terms of stability, new job creation and salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects this growth is due to the increase in technology used to treat patients, an emphasis on preventative care and the age-related health and retirement issues attributed to the Baby Boomer generation.

Because of these reasons, and many more, those entering college or considering a mid-career switch are looking at nursing to provide job and financial stability and increase the ability to give back to others. Facing a wide-spread healthcare provider shortage, nursing incentives are quickly becoming a solution for nursing school students, professional nurses and state and federal governments seeking to fill a void in the healthcare system.

Nursing incentives can come as scholarships, grants or through loan repayment programs. The National Health Service Corps offers student loan repayment for campus-based or online nursing schools in exchange for a commitment to work within a NHSC-approved site. These incentives require a minimum commitment of two years for partial repayment ($60,000), but also offer $170,000 in loan repayment for a 5-year commitment or full forgiveness of student loans in exchange for six or more years of service. These service areas include federally-funded medical facilities, public health department clinics, prisons, rural and Indian Health Service clinics and many other underserved areas across the country.

Opportunities for current nurses, nursing school students or those considering a career change to the nursing profession are growing. The abundance of scholarships, grants, loan repayment and forgiveness programs continue to provide incentives for starting, growing or switching to a new career full of challenges and personal fulfillment. Whether considering the effect of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree on a current career track, the ability to fund educational goals through a campus-based or online nursing schools are plentiful, proving the need for more qualified nurses and health care professionals to treat and care for patients from all walks of life. 

Nursing Careers in Women's Health

Finding a niche in the nursing world can be an important part of establishing a long-lasting, well-paying career in the field of medicine. Along with the education that can be attained through a campus-based or online nursing program, the specializations within the field of nursing are just as important to overall career success. Careers involving women’s health, especially in nursing, can provide a wide-range of healthcare options for the nursing school student, or the nurse actively seeking a new career path within nursing.

Reproductive/Infertility Nurse: Provides healthcare to couples, women or men seeking to conceive a child through clinical methods due to infertility issues or the choice to have a child without a partner.  Also helps with issues related to menopause, peri-menopause and other reproductive issues.
  • Suggested level of education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing or higher and RN Certification. Infertility and Reproductive health training certifications are beneficial, as well.
  • Average Salary: $28,919 - $78,279 (October, 2011,
Labor and Delivery Nurse: Supports women and families through the process of labor and childbirth, as well as any immediate postpartum issues that may occur. Labor and Delivery nurses may also work with newborn babies in the nursery and provide support once the mother and infant are released from the hospital.
  • Suggested level of education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or higher, RN Certification, Certificates in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum Care, Lactation Consultation are beneficial.
  • Average Salary: $28,919 - $78,279 (October, 2011,
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner:  An Advanced Practice Nursing specialty, the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) may be able to practice autonomously in many states, and are in demand in many rural areas across the country. WHNPs practice full-spectrum care for women, and select men, from reproductive concerns to general health and other issues that may arise during the course of treatment.
  • Suggested level of education: Master of Science in Nursing or higher, RN Certification, Certificates in Women’s Health, including Labor & Delivery, Abuse and Sexual Assault, Postpartum Care, Geriatrics and Pediatrics.
  • Average Salary: $56,109 - $81,703 (October, 2011,
Certified Nurse Midwife: Advanced Practice Nursing specialty, like the WHNP, but with a specific focus on women’s health from puberty through menopause. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) may work under the direction of an OB/GYN or within a separate practice, depending on state regulations, and provide care to women before, during and after pregnancy, as well as for routine gynecological issues, birth control, family planning and even general health concerns.
  • Suggested level of education: Master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice with an RN Certification. Certificates in Rural and/or Community Health are beneficial.
  • Average Salary: $72,238 - $111,504 (October, 2011,

Women’s health concerns are varied and different from those of men, and specialized care is needed to improve the overall outcomes of those who may face illness or injury. For the nurse who specializes in women’s health care, a long-lasting career is possible, helping to increase the quality of life for women everywhere.

Nursing Degrees and Salary

The field of nursing offers plenty of career options that encourage the innate talents of its professionals. From an interest in a certain type of health issue, to the combination of management or informatics into a nursing career, the endless options available to nurses can be one of the biggest reasons to enter into nursing school. Nurses, however, may be called into the career through a personal relationship with caregiving, but the ability to earn a living is also one of the best reasons to begin a career in nursing. In addition to the different specialties and concentrations within nursing, wages and salaries can be as varied as the nurses and positions available, and many of these come down to the level of education attained through a college, university, online nursing school or even an accelerated nursing program.

A nursing school student has several choices when it comes to pursuing the education needed to work as a nurse. Five degrees are available to nurses: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Each of these degrees gives the experience and knowledge needed to work as a nurse within a hospital, clinic or medical facility, just within different capacities, and at different rates of pay.
According to, wages for nursing professionals not only vary by the level of education, but also by experience and location of the job:
  • A LPN with an Associate of Science in Nursing can earn $12.98 - $22.61 per hour.
  • A RN with an Associate of Science in Nursing can earn $19.40 - $35.05 per hour.
  • A RN with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can earn an average of $55,051 annually.
  • A Nurse Practitioner with a Master of Science in Nursing can earn $63,394 - $100,370 annually.
  • A Nurse Practitioner with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can earn $80,000 - $102,409 annually.
  • An Associate Professor (Nurse Educator)with a Ph.D. in Nursing  can earn $61,224 - $85,667 annually.

All of these programs are available through a local college or university, or online nursing school.  Many times, an accelerated nursing program can even save time and money when it comes to beginning a higher-paying career in nursing. Nursing school students should always be sure to research the nursing school programs and career opportunities to find the best fit for their individual interests and professional goals.

Clinical Nurse Leader

Not all nurses are created equally. In the field of nursing, there are endless specialties that focus on specific health concerns of patients. These different concentrations can overlap, and the care provided by specialized nurses, doctors or other medical staff requires a leader to maintain quality of care over these various disciplines. In order to address multi-faceted issues regarding patients and improve the overall health care provided within hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities, in 2003, the AACN developed its first new nursing role in 35 years: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL).

A Clinical Nurse Leader is an advanced generalist nurse with the ability to manage and coordinate patient care and communication while facilitating treatments through the evidence-based nursing model of care. These nurses provide hands-on care to patients while still serving as a point of contact for other nurses, doctors, medical staff and the patient. Clinical Nurse Leaders work on a microsystem level, serving nursing units and departments through the careful planning and implementation of treatment plans.

As an Advanced Practice Nurse, a Clinical Nurse Leader is expected to have obtained a Master of Science in Nursing degree, either through a college, university or online nursing program. The education provided by these programs can be enhanced through certifications and prior work experience, but as a generalist position, it is possible to become a Clinical Nurse Leader based on the Master of Science degree alone. reports that Clinical Nurse Leaders can earn $59,873 - $108,757 annually, depending on location and experience.

Taking the errors out of healthcare is a never-ending process that ensures a positive patient outcome. As diagnoses, treatments and aftercare options for patients evolve, and with the evidence-based nursing model that takes into account medical research, nurse experience and patient needs, a coordinator of treatment can eliminate many medical mistakes that can cost time, money or reduce the quality of life for patients. Clinical Nurse Leaders are able to provide quality care to patients through both hands-on and the coordination of the various resources available to patients.

So, You Think You Can Nurse?

It is no secret that nursing is one of the most stable career fields in the country. Due, in part, to the multi-faceted issues pertaining to the nursing shortage, the field of nursing is predicted to continue to grow and provide a fulfilling career for all nurses, including Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Researchers and Nurse Educators.

Nursing, however, is not an easy career. From the rigorous academic and clinical requirements of a nursing program at a local college, university or through an online nursing school, to the fast-paced environments within hospitals, clinics and medical facilities, nursing not only promises a rewarding career, but also a challenging work  and school environment.

Beyond the academic and work-related concerns, it takes a special person to dedicate his or herself to nursing. Many nurses consider this profession a “calling,” one that can range from heartbreaking to triumphant during the course of a 12-hour shift, and sometimes, even within an hour’s time. Nursing is a physical, mental and emotional job, requiring a deep personal commitment from the nurse providing care to patients. Patient care demands a nurse not only be caring and empathetic toward the patient, but also, a level of detachment is also needed, in order to ensure the nurse’s own wellness.

Nurses must also be excellent communicators, whether with patients, physicians, family members, insurance companies or social service agencies. This can be verbal communication, written reports or treatment plans. Fortunately, nurses can easily adapt the skills learned in an online nursing school or undergraduate nursing school program to fit any communication needs. While many nurses may be assigned to patients that require little more than basic care, there is always the chance that a nurse will be required to respond during a critical health crisis. Adaptability, good judgment and quick-thinking are excellent traits for a nurse to imbue, especially in critical or acute care situations.

With the various opportunities in nursing, one of the strongest qualities to have is a commitment to the art and science of nursing. For nursing school students and current nurses, the ability to provide the best quality care depends highly on the ability of a nurse to balance the demands of the job or academic program with personal needs, whether emotional or physical. From the nursing school student enrolled in an online nursing school program to the Nurse Practitioner and beyond, the field of nursing provides a wealth of benefits, both personal and within a career path.

What is Evidence-based Nursing?

The practice of evidence-based nursing has become a measure of the success of patient outcomes across the country. In light of the nursing shortage, controversy over the Healthcare Reform Act, and the overall perception of the medical world, many healthcare facilities are struggling to find a better way to treat patients and provide high quality medical care. Endorsed by the AACN, evidence-based nursing is rapidly becoming a solution for nurses, doctors, medical facilities and even insurance companies to provide the best quality care possible, while saving time and money.

Evidence-based nursing combines the practical knowledge of a nurse directly treating a patient, scientific research and the needs and desires of the patient. All of these combine together to form treatment plans that best benefit the patient and can reduce costs that relate to medical care. Many colleges, universities and online nursing schools, including those with accelerated nursing programs, are integrating evidence-based nursing practices within curriculum, training student nurses from the beginning to utilize personal insight, proven treatments and patient needs together.

The basic tenets of evidence based nursing include the identification of the problem according to current techniques and proven research. After the problem is identified, nurses are then able to explore the best treatments possible and make a determination based on personal experience and patient needs, providing the best patient care methods available. This method takes the patient into consideration, allowing for more control over the patient’s options when it comes to treating an illness or injury.

With the inclusion of evidence-based nursing within treatment plans, the ability for nurses to provide the best medical care possible increases, as well as patient outcomes and satisfaction. The implementation of evidence-based nursing practices within medical facilities starts with the education a nursing school student receives while attending a local or online nursing school. From a strong academic and clinical foundation, the ability to follow the evidence-based nursing model increases dramatically, providing new student nurses with an ingrained method of treatment and supplementing current nurses’ ability to treat patients with wisdom, care and personal attention.