One of the most robust educational environments for delivery of nursing degrees is the university. Small to large-scale universities are fertile academic ground for all types of nursing programs from Bachelors to PhD.
A popular combination is the university medical school model with a college of nursing as an adjunct. The first university-based school of nursing in the U.S. was launched at the University of Minnesota in the early 1900s. Nursing students studying in this type of environment have immediate access to top-notch medical facilities, faculty engaged in world-class research and academic study, and immediate career resources. You can study at the Masters and post-grad levels, sometimes at the Bachelors and you’ll find some universities of this type offering the ultra-specialized nursing anesthesia programs.
But not all universities with nursing programs are hinged to a medical complex. Universities built on more liberal arts education usually deliver coursework that combines both aspects of academia, their mission to educate a student scholar as well as provide a critical foundation for a nursing career.
Clinical practice venues include the various types of patient healthcare facilities in the area.
Common nursing degrees offered at the university level:
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or the BSN, is one of the most popular portals to a nursing career and in some cases is considered the preferred degree level. Many hospitals pay BSNs more money, as compensation for more expansive knowledge and lengthier educational training.
The Accelerated BSN is built for students already armed with a Bachelors degree, but in a different field. The program gets you up to speed quickly, so you can jump right in with other students already part-way through their first Bachelors (BSN). When you finish you have two Bachelors, one in Nursing, the other in your first field of study. This is a common strategy for career-changers.
Masters level nursing programs at the university level comprise some granular specialties, including Practitioner, Administrator, Educator, and Midwifery, to name a few. And in some programs entrants don’t necessarily have to come from a nursing background provided they already hold a Bachelors degree in another field. Masters of Science in Nursing degrees with areas of specialization typically take 2 years to complete for full-time study. Emphasis is on advanced and critical clinical practice. RNs at this level are making decisions and care choices for patients in a wide range of patient care areas.
Only at the university level is post-grad nursing available. Often you’ll find these programs where you find a medical university, like Yale or University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, or Duke University. Institutions like these are competitive at this level of study and emphasize research and scholarly pursuits in the nursing area of specialization.
Universities feature many types of financial aid options and strategies for helping students pay for school, including federal and state student loans, scholarships and grants outside and institutional, and information on special nursing loans and tuition waivers.
Shop for a university nursing program that fits your ideal. Learn about the facilities in which you’ll study, the faculty under whose tutelage you’ll learn and the overall academic mission of the program BEFORE you make a choice.