How to Get Into Nursing School: A Comprehensive Guide



Nursing is the art and science of providing care to individuals, families, and communities with services spanning the entire healthcare system from diagnosis to health promotion and disease prevention. It is the most common medical profession globally, with millions of nurses graduating yearly from different universities and colleges. The world is also experiencing a significant shortage of professional nurses placing immense demand-pull pressure on nursing schools. Despite this gap, getting into nursing school can be a challenge. The best institutions have strict requirements for aspiring nurses, including entry exams, resources, and minimum entry points. Although the prerequisites for joining a nursing school may differ, the baseline principles are relatively similar.

How hard is it to get into nursing school? Nursing school prerequisites

Your plan to get into nursing school can be challenging if you don’t understand the basic requirements for your preferred program. Aspiring nurses with a low GPA or bad grades in high school and the first two years of their bachelor’s degree may find this process daunting. As a result, you may need to pay more attention to your preferred program’s prerequisites early in your school life to increase your chances of becoming a registered nurse. Here are some of the most common prerequisites for joining a nursing school.

1. Biology and microbiology

Biology studies the anatomy, behavior, distribution, origin, and physiology of living organisms, while microbiology studies similar aspects in microorganisms such as bacteria and protozoa. Most institutions of higher learning offer these courses separately due to their distinctive characteristics. While you can use your high school transcript to prove your proficiency in biology, you must take a microorganism course as part of your college or university degree.

2. General psychology

Psychology is critical in nursing since nurses serve people with diverse backgrounds, healthcare needs, and histories. General psychology teaches aspiring nurses about the human mind and its role in behavior. Knowledge from this course is essential for understanding the patients’ and coworkers’ actions. Besides, nurses are responsible for evaluating their patients’ mental capacity and ability to adhere to treatment programs. They also guide people, families, and communities on the best approaches to improve their behavior in their health promotion and disease prevention roles.

3. Ethics

Almost all nursing programs have an ethics course as a prerequisite for nursing school. The courses are designed to teach aspiring nurses about ethical considerations and principles in various aspects of life and the nursing profession. Ethics dictate human behavior, implying a critical role in medical professions. Moral principles are critical as they form part of the principles of medicine.

4. Human anatomy

Human anatomy is also critical in nursing. Nurses are responsible for administering medications and other services that rely on their understanding of the composition and structure of the human body. Courses in human anatomy help aspiring nurses understand various systems affecting the functions of the body, including the central nervous system, skeletal system, and muscular system. They also teach the basic functions of specific organs. This knowledge is essential during different stages of the nursing process, including assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

5. Writing

Writing is a prerequisite in all professions, and nursing is no exception. Institutions of higher learning in major states such as California and New York require nursing students to demonstrate proficiency in writing. Although nursing students may hire a nursing essay writer from professional services like CustomWritings to get help with nursing essay writing, proficiency in writing is a mandatory requirement for all practicing nurses. These skills are useful in documenting diagnosis, medical examinations, and reports. Hence, nursing paper writing is an essential skill in the programs, with most students required to present nursing papers as proof of their writing prowess.

6. Chemistry

Chemistry is also critical to the nursing profession as a guide to the chemical processes taking place in the human body. Aspiring nurses must understand the role different biological substances play in an individual’s health, including the contents of organic and inorganic materials. Some of the concepts acquired in early chemistry classes may be useful after college during medication administration in practice.

Expert tips to get into nursing school without prerequisites

It can be challenging to get into nursing school without prerequisites. The demanding credit load in most nursing programs implies the need for a basic understanding of the human body, mind, and behavior. As a result, nursing students must obtain specific training in these areas to increase their chances of success in nursing. If you did not enroll in specific prerequisite courses in high school, joining a nursing school may be increasingly hard but not impossible. Here’s a list of important steps to join a nursing school without prerequisites.

1. Research your preferred nursing program

Nursing programs have varying admission requirements. Some institutions offer alternative pathways to admission, allowing aspiring nurses to join without the prerequisites. Select the best-fit program based on your qualifications and capabilities. Besides, you can start your nursing career with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), significantly reducing the required entry points and courses.

2. Start at a community college

You can also take some prerequisite courses at a nearby community college to increase your chances of admission into your preferred nursing program. Taking the required courses can help you meet the basic requirements for admission. However, confirm the acceptable pass rate in community college from your preferred institution before you apply.

3. Become a nurse aide

You can also enroll in a state-sanctioned training program and become a nurse assistant before pursuing a degree program. These courses have the most basic requirements for entry. In some cases, post-secondary education is sufficient to become a nurse aide. Experience in healthcare is usually an added advantage when applying to a nursing program.

4. Prepare for entry exams

Nursing programs from reputable institutions have a mandatory entry exam. Once you understand the requirements for admission, you must study for the test using approved materials and resources. Your performance in the entry exam increases your chances of admission and redirects the institution’s focus to your current skills instead of past academic credentials.

5. Ask for assistance

Before you start your journey to become a registered nurse, consider seeking advice from experts and experienced nurses. Assess your fitness for the nursing profession, especially based on the responsibilities and societal expectations for a nurse. Career advisors may also help evaluate your fitness for a specific program and assist with the application process.

Final thoughts

Nursing is a demanding profession with multiple challenges. It’s also the most fulfilling career for those who find satisfaction in helping others. Nursing is a calling that requires devotion and commitment to community service. As a result, nursing programs have strict admission requirements, with prerequisite courses that restrict entry to only qualified individuals. Hence, the best route for getting into nursing school involves obtaining credits in all the prerequisites.