How to Find the Best Nursing Schools

The standard of nursing education varies considerably across nursing schools. To find the schools that offer the highest standards in curriculum and hospital training, you’ll need to start researching and visiting campuses. If you’ve already started conducting some research into the best schools, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of information on the Internet, at the local library and in university career centers. To help you understand how to better navigate the wealth of sources that are available to you, this article will focus on the primary steps you might want to take to find the best nursing schools for you.

Consider Multiple Criteria

Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all nursing school. Today, finding the best nursing schools means doing more than just relying on guides and top-ten lists; it means examining your unique personal and educational background so you can individualize the nursing education experience and find the best nursing program for your particular needs.

For instance, you might want to set very specific selection criteria, such as limiting your choices to schools that place greater emphasis on procedural education — focusing on proper administration of medications, physical examinations, and the development of a caring bedside manner — rather than accumulating a certain number of training hours in a hospital setting. Knowing how much emphasis each nursing school places on the development of vital skills could help you narrow your options and more accurately determine if a specific nursing program is right you.

As you narrow down your selections, it is important to remember that not all nursing schools are the same. Even institutions that share the same program structure and offer the same degrees can vary quite a bit from one another. Factors such as faculty size, number and variety of degrees offered, tuition and other educational costs, campus location, and onsite resources all contribute to the overall rating of a nursing school and its suitability to any one individual.

Try to Get a Feel for Nursing Schools

After you examine brochures, marketing materials and online descriptions of schools, it is best to arrange an in-person visit at each institution that appears to be a good match. Visiting a school will give you a clear understanding of how its program functions in real time, allow you to observe the synergy of the school, and give you a first-hand look at the relationship between the current students and faculty. If an in-person visit is not possible, consider watching video tours or virtual tours online. Most nursing schools offer such resources, or they can arrange for you to talk to administrators and/or students who are currently enrolled at the school. Such communication might be done over the phone or using video chat software.


Finally, as you narrow your list of the top nursing schools for you, consider the total cost of attending. Keep in mind that some costs can be offset by scholarships, loans and grants. If you’re still stuck and need additional guidance, consider contacting national associations, talking to other students who might also be conducting research, reading nursing journals, consulting with career counselors and, of course, reviewing lists of the top-ten nursing schools in the country, as determined by a third-party entity or review board.