9 Tips How To Get Into Nursing School! (List of CA & AZ Nursing schools included)
Updated: Nov 2
Nursing is truly a calling & one with rewards far beyond money
and three day work weeks.
Most consider it to be a vocation, or an occupation of which a person is specifically drawn. If you have decided to begin your journey to becoming a nurse.
Healthcare is booming. Prices of healthcare are going up every day. There is never a shortage of sick people (or infants) & yet there are not enough Nurses. While demands for healthcare are continuing to increase, there always seems to be a shortage of nurses. Why is this?! Money. It take a lot of time and resources to train a brand new nurse (It took me 6 months before I came off orientation and became an asset to the hospital.) With this being said, it is important to make yourself as marketable as possible, which we will get into later.
Before we dive into my Tips, let me tell you a little bit about my path to becoming a nurse!
I moved out of state to Arizona (from California) where I attended The University of Arizona, Tucson AZ. I started at UofA #beardown as a Pre-Nursing Major, where I completed my 2 years of undergrad and applied to nursing school. But it wasn't all roses!
Well, this is how that went……
Applied once, REJECTED.
Applied a second time, got an interview, REJECTED.
Applied third time, got an interview, REJECTED.
Then got a call, I had made the (second) cut of students (someone had dropped out prior to starting school). WAITLISTED
Yes, It took me 3.5 times to get into Nursing school! Therefore, I feel you! I have been in the hot seat and I know what it is like to climb your way into Nursing with every ounce of hope and hustle you have.
So how did I finally get into nursing school?!
I DIDN’T GIVE UP! I PERSEVERED. I HAD SUCH DETERMINATION & FOCUS THAT NOTHING COULD STOP ME. I KNEW I WAS GOING TO BE A NURSE.
Here are some personal tips & advice for your first hurdle, getting into Nursing School!
TORI'S PRE-NURSING TIPS
1. RE-TAKE THE CLASS
If you have to, just do it! If I got the “B” in Microbiology, I went back that summer for the “A." Was it fun? No! Was it time consuming? Yes! But it was worth it! Boosting those grades was key for my application to Nursing school.
2. PRACTICE YOUR INTERVIEW
Many nursing schools require an entry interview. If this is the case for you (and it will be for your first job as well) I suggest start preparing now! Practice practice practice. I was horrible at interviews! Nerves, overthinking, rambling on, overwhelming feelings of what to say. But I practiced! If I stumbled over words in an interview, I re-practiced questions all the time! In the shower, in front of friends and family, my car, until my brain hurt.
3. BOOST THAT RESUME
From activities to boosting grades I found every way to boost that resume! I added activities (to my already overly busy schedule) to help boost me over the next candidate.
Find something you are passionate about! Red cross, student leadership, homeless shelters, Hospital help, Veterans causes, etc! There are so many organizations that could use your help. In addition, these are great experiences and resume boosters for your nursing application. I volunteered at “Ride On” Therapy (Equine therapy for Children & Adults with physical & cognitive disabilities), the Workforce Diversity Program at University of Arizona (to help low socio-economic middle schoolers learn about the opportunities in Nursing), and a Veterans cause!
5. WORK IN THE FIELD!
CNA, SCRIBE, VOLUNTEER, SECRETARY, HEARING SCREENER, ETC. Working directly in a hospital can give you great "in field" experience, offer opportunities to learn about units first hand, and most of all NETWORK! You will have opportunities to meet nurses, staff, managers, etc. A face to a name! Not only will you be able to add this to your resume, but you will become a familiar face to the nursing staff!
6. BACK UP PLANS!
Make several plans. Personally, I had plan A, B, & C. If University of Arizona hadn’t worked out, I had back up schools & programs planned out (with classes that transferred to the schools). There are so many options out there! Plan ahead and if something isn't working, make plans for your next move.
7. GO THE EXTRA MILE
Many schools require different curriculum. One school may require one class or lab, but another may require another class. I opted to take that extra Lab (that wasn’t required for UofA) just incase I needed it for another school. Through this, I actually learned more! Two classes I decided to take actually helped my overall nursing thought process and taught me MORE than I had anticipated! Planning ahead and going the extra mile can make a big difference.
8. SHOOT FOR THAT BSN DEGREE IF POSSIBLE
Although this is not hard and fast rule, most most New Grad Programs (in teaching hospitals, Level I trauma Hospitals, Children’s Hospitals, Level IV-III NICUs etc) require a “Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.” In addition, most hospitals are moving towards becoming "Magnet" certified. Magnet is a nation wide program focused on improving patient outcomes with improved nursing engagement. Part of this includes hiring and having Bachelors prepared nursing staff. Healthcare is focusing on having more educated staff members. Therefore, many are requiring staff to obtain Bachelors Degrees. In addition, opportunities for advancement (Management, Education, etc) require higher degrees. My advice, try to land that BSN degree.
9. NEVER GIVE UP!
I knew Nursing was my calling. Therefore, I never gave up! My advice to you, is NEVER give up. Find a way to make it work! You may have to go far above the call of duty. Work another job, volunteer more often, take a class over to get the better grade, look into other cities (or states), sacrifice social life, some family time, etc. I did all of the above and it was well worth it!
LIST OF NURSING SCHOOLS WITH BSN PROGRAMS
(CA & AZ)
Tori Meskin BSN RNC-NIC has been a clinician since 2012, works in acute care/inpatient NICU & Pediatric settings in southern California. She is a blogger, podcaster, NICU & Pediatric Critical Care RN, MSN student, a Barco Uniforms Ambassador, and Brave beginnings affiliate. Find her at www.tipsfromtori.com or email@example.com