If you’re thinking of a career in nursing, you’re not alone; nursing is one of the most popular professions in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that registered nurse employment will grow by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why nursing is so competitive and what you can do to improve your chances of landing a job in this in-demand field.
Why Is Nursing So Competitive?
Nursing is competitive for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is that nursing schools have gotten increasingly selective in recent years. In order to become a registered nurse (RN), students must first complete an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
However, with an increasing number of students wishing to enter the field, nursing schools have been forced to be more choosy about who they accept into their programs. Continue reading to find out more reasons why nursing is so competitive.
1. Shortage Of Nursing Schools
The nursing school shortage is one of the major reasons why it is very difficult to get accepted into nursing. So many people want to be trained as nurses.
For some people, nursing is a calling, while others are motivated by lucrative salaries. Unfortunately, there are not enough schools to educate and train all the interested people.
There are not enough nursing schools because putting up the buildings and equipping them with the necessary equipment is very expensive. Lift beds, IVs, wheelchairs, catheters, and other modern types of nursing equipment for training and practice are very expensive. Without these pieces of equipment, a nursing school cannot be accredited, which is the case with some nursing schools.
There is a lot of free land in the rural areas, but the finances to put up and equip nursing schools are lacking. Schools in urban areas suffer capacity issues because the buildings are small, and classrooms can only accommodate very few students.
Some nursing schools now offer nursing courses virtually to reduce the capacity problem. Virtual students can take classes fully online or the hybrid option, where some classes are taken physically.
Virtual classes break geographical barriers and make nursing education accessible to more people. Online courses are not easier than physical ones; students must put in the effort to study and pass exams.
2. Nursing Educator Shortages
Faculty shortage is another factor that makes nursing so competitive. Nursing schools struggle to recruit qualified educators, which makes it very difficult to increase the number of admissions.
Moreover, nursing salaries increase daily because of nurse shortages, while nursing educator salaries are not. Although teaching can earn them a decent salary, practicing as a nurse pays more which demotivates those interested in teaching.
Nursing is a highly sought career because it guarantees well-paying jobs. Because of the lack of schools and faculties, there is a minimal intake, leaving behind a long waitlist.
The waitlists make nursing very competitive because the school has to consider the waitlist and new applications during admission.
4. High Pass Rates
Nursing is a critical course with sensitive responsibilities which could lead to fatal consequences if not well met.
Nursing schools set very high pass rates to ensure that their students are well trained. Students who do not meet these standards cannot continue with the program.
Pass rates measure program quality, and nursing schools with very high pass rates are considered the best. Such schools wash out students who show any indicator that they might fail. This makes nursing so competitive.
How Can You Make Your Nursing Application Standout?
High grades and prerequisite courses will give a higher chance of getting admission to nursing school, but there are other ways to make your application stand out among applicants with good GPA grades and relevant courses. Here are some tips on how to beat the competition.
1. Explain Clearly Why You Want To Become A Nurse
Nursing is a lucrative career, with some people being motivated by money. However, nursing school is looking for passionate people because nursing work can be intense, and the main motivation should be the desire to serve humanity and not money.
To go home with an admission letter, you must be able to communicate your passion and convincing reasons why you want to become a nurse.
2. Highlight Your Unique Experiences
To set yourself apart from applicants with the same qualifications as yours, your application should bear unique experiences.
For instance, you can volunteer at local nursing homes, clinics, or hospitals to get a feel of what nursing entails. Relevant volunteer certificates will show your commitment to nursing and give you a better chance of being accepted.
3. Apply To Several Programs
Applying to a single program or school reduces your chances of admission because of the high competition. On the other hand, applying to more than one school increases your chances of admission and offers you higher chances of getting a nursing specialty that is not very crowded.
What’s more, you should be open to relocating if you are admitted to a school far away from home.
What Is The Hardest Part Of Nursing School?
Getting admitted to nursing school is challenging, but that is just the beginning of a tough journey ahead. Here are some of the challenges you will face in nursing school.
1. Lots Of Learning
Nursing involves learning a lot of facts, new terminologies, difficult nursing concepts, and numerous practicals.
Nursing programs aim to fully equip students with skills because they are responsible for patients’ lives. Come ready to grasp facts and concepts.
2. Nursing School Burnout
Most nursing students experience burnout because school work and other responsibilities are sometimes too much to handle. To manage stress, seek help from your support system and stay true to your vision.
3. Time Management Is Key For Virtual Programs
Time management is a must-have skill in all aspects of life, especially if you are studying nursing online.
Lack of proper time management is a recipe for failure in nursing school. Your schedule should accommodate school, personal, social, and work life.
Is Nursing School Worth It?
Nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling career. It will take a lot of effort to get accepted into nursing school and pass the exams, but it is worth it at the end of the day. You will get instant satisfaction after helping people and enjoy job security and stability.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.