Nursing

Nurses orchestrate, manage, and assess care. They are a vital part of the health care team. If you want to “take care of the sick”, then nursing may be the right role for you. A bedside nurse in the hospital has the most intimate patient contact on the health care team; entry-level nursing is at the Bachelor’s degree level. Some nurses step away from the bedside and go into case management and unit or institutional leadership. Leadership roles often require a master’s degree. Nurse Practitioners are mid-level providers, and that training is now at the doctoral level (DNP) in most states. They hold their own license and have a specialized practice area.

The typical route to nursing after Notre Dame is through a second degree or accelerated BSN or a Direct Entry Master’s. Post-baccalaureate BSN, nursing programs are usually 15 months. Direct Entry Master’s programs that add Clinical Nurse Leadership run two full years. After practicing as a nurse, you can then start a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program that will run 3-4 years full-time or longer part-time. While not required, post-graduate fellowships (paid) will provide specialty training in areas including orthopedics, neonatology, and surgery.

Job Market: The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate is 9% (As fast as average).

Base Salary: $75,330 per year $36.22 per hour

Prerequisites

Second-degree BSN nursing program prerequisites vary widely. Because the training is more rapid than medical school, there is much more preparation required before starting the program. This list will cover the requirements at many schools. It is a good idea to make your own list of 12- 15 schools and develop a spreadsheet of prerequisites. Also be attentive to the timing of your courses, as many schools will require all or most of the courses be completed before applying.

  • Chemistry 2 semesters
  • General Biology 2 semesters
  • Physiology with lab (lab is taken in a later semester than the lecture)
  • Anatomy with lab
  • Microbiology with lab
  • Communication (like Medical Counseling skills)
  • Nutrition (take online)
  • English 1-2 semesters
  • Statistics
  • Developmental Psychology

Preparation Outside the Classroom

A knowledge of the field is helpful in the application process. Working or extensively volunteering gives you an edge.

Scribing, certified nursing assistant, medical assistant, patient care assistant, and ER tech (usually EMT certification) are common routes to gain experience.

Health care is a life of service and nursing programs are also looking for a consistent interest in the well- being of others, particularly vulnerable groups like those in poverty, asylum seekers, those with disabilities, etc. A nurse is a team member, and demonstrating teamwork and excellent communication are positive attributes.

Applying

Application to post-baccalaureate nursing programs is either school specific (more than half) or through Nursing CAS (about 30% of programs).

The optimal application timeline is from April to September and some schools offer January and May starts in addition to August – so deadlines may vary.

Committee letters are not required, and for most schools, three to five individual letters are required. See individual programs in the Directory for details.

At this time the GRE is the standardized test required by most schools.

Resources