Tips to Get You That Advanced Nursing Degree

March 12, 2014 in Nursing TIps

Nursing Grad Students

The process of preparing to enter offline or online nursing programs involves a lot of planning and paperwork. Individuals working towards an advanced degree in nursing can expect to have even more of a process to deal with. Undergraduate study is competitive enough but it is nothing compared to that of graduate level study. Because grad schools are much more selective about who they accept, that means applicants have to go above and beyond to show they’re capable of handling the experience.

Both new nurses fresh out of school as well as those currently employed in the field both have their own reasons for wanting an advanced degree. Because this goal involves pursuing advanced study in the field of nursing, some of the materials required by grad schools may differ slightly from students applying to get into more traditional graduate programs.

Turning in transcripts, GRE scores and letters of recommendation along with the official application are run of the mill and not likely to change. However, more is expected of new and current nurses when it comes to getting accepted. Below are just a few additional factors to be aware of prior to submitting an application to a graduate school for an advanced nursing degree.

Physical Exam and Health Records

It makes sense that in order to care for others, nurses should be in the best of health. Many advanced nursing programs require applicants to submit copies of health records–namely vaccinations–as well as results from recent physical exams. If everything is up to date and the individual has no medical issues that are likely to interfere with the nature of their work/study or put others at risk, this puts them a small step closer to being accepted into their chosen advanced nursing degree program.

Background Check

Depending on the program a person is applying to, it might be necessary to undergo a background check. Similar to the reasoning behind the request for physical exam and health records information, nursing schools want to make sure they’re training upstanding individuals who have led clean, law abiding lives. Does that mean a person who hasn’t been 100% squeaky clean in the past has no shot of getting in? Not necessarily. Of course the only way to find out is to submit to a background check.

Drug Screening

Nurses, even those who are students in the process of obtaining an advanced nursing degree, must be able to successfully pass a drug screening test. In most cases, individuals are solely responsible for getting themselves tested and providing the results, which also includes covering any related fees. However, currently employed nurses may be able to use previous drug screening test results given by their employer in order to avoid paying for a new test.

Previous Experience

Some, not all, advanced nursing degree programs require applicants to have some kind of real-world nursing experience in addition to a BSN, license or other academic criteria. Between 1-2 years of relevant work experience is average in most cases but it certainly varies from program to program.

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