Choosing the right nursing school puts you at an unbeatable advantage in your career path. While there are plenty of excellent educational institutions in the USA, not all of them are suitable for your specific studies.
If you are thinking about continuing your studies in Virginia, you should check out the best nursing schools in the area. You must complete nursing school before you become eligible to participate in the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) exam.
Once you pass it, you are officially a registered nurse. These schools in Virginia provide the best possible preparation for students to pass the professional exam.
Differences Between BSN And ADN Nursing Schools
There are two main paths leading to the NCLEX-RN exam. They are the two-year associate degree nursing program (ADN) and the four-year bachelor of science program in nursing (BSN), respectively.
On paper, they are virtually the same except for the duration. However, in recent years, employers have begun to value BSN more as the program entails more in-depth content and more practical hours.
That said, ADN schools are not bad at all. It is a more economical option. Besides, students get to jump into the nursing field more quickly. Instead of spending four years at school, you will have two years of full-time experience by then.
Students should evaluate their situations to decide on a suitable program for themselves.
Best Nursing Schools In Virginia
1. University of Virginia (UVA)
- Ranked #1in Commonwealth’s first Clinical Nurse leader Master’s program
- Offers 2 or 3 years of accelerated BSN programs
- More than 20 scholarships
- Overseas opportunities
The University of Virginia offers many BSN programs, including RN to BSN, traditional BSN, or accelerated BSN programs. Being one of the most prestigious universities in the USA, UVA has a very high rate of nurturing students to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Over the last decade, the applications for the BSN program at UVA have tripled. Graduates are ranked among the most competitive candidates in the entire country.
Its accelerated BSN programs are tempting for those looking to dive into the healthcare field with minimal investment. Many students are applying to UVA to complete their program sooner.
UVA offers a lot of reimbursement to its students. In total, $2 million are distributed in scholarships per annum for both undergraduates and graduate students. There are numerous types of scholarships for all kinds of students.
They are given to enhance racial diversity, reward academically outstanding students, help students living in poverty, provide child support for students with children, etc.
At UVA, over one-third of students belong to an ethnic minority group. The mixture offers an excellent environment for first-generation college attendees in ethnic families without prior opportunities to receive higher education.
It is gradually changing the landscape for underprivileged families with a long history of not receiving an adequate education.
To further support student development, UVA utilizes its resources to organize exchange programs and volunteering opportunities. Students can join overseas programs in Rwanda, Peru, Poland, Uganda, India, and more.
Through these programs, students gain hands-on experience working with local authorities and experts. It also widens their global horizon if they choose to commit to international work.
Statistically, nearly 8 in 10 nurse graduates find job offers before graduation. More impressively, 99% of them have jobs within three months of graduating. Hence, its high standards mean getting into the school is not easy.
The nursing school only has an acceptance rate of 16%. Candidates compete fiercely for a spot in this esteemed school.
2. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
- Ranked in the top 4% of nursing undergraduate programs in the USA
- Participate in research projects
- More practical hours
Located in Richmond, Virginia, the four-story VCU nursing department has loads of student facilities. Worldclass electronics are installed so students can engage in meaningful lab sessions to keep up with the real world. The school is ranked among the top 4% in the USA.
With its large sum of funding for research projects, students can participate in these programs. Researchers and professors often invite outstanding students to join their research teams for a few months.
That way, you can gain advanced knowledge in top healthcare research facilities. Also, it helps your portfolio if you are interested in the academic path.
In addition, practical hours are more important than theories in VCU. The school does not fill the timetable with daily lectures. Rather, the school arranges multiple site visits a year for students to choose their favorite placements.
Ever since the first year, students are encouraged to take part in practical activities outside of the curriculum. Many hospitals, clinics, and NGOs are in relation to VCU. Students can get an internship easily.
3. George Mason University
- Nurture interdisciplinary roles
- Plenty of community and global projects for students
- Innovative research topics
George Mason University is all about giving back to society and the world. Nursing is not the ultimate goal for many students.
It is merely a path to other disciplinary roles, such as clinicians, educators, and researchers. In light of that, the university has created programs to fully develop students’ skills in other aspects of these roles.
At George Mason University, students will have to take part in lots of community and global health projects. From helping the local council with administrating flu shots to flying out to developing countries to assist researchers, students will never have a dull month to spend in this exciting place.
Furthermore, students can take up various roles in innovative research topics. Research skills are incorporated in lectures. Students often have to come up with ideas for improving the healthcare industry and global health.
These topics allow students to better analyze their passion for the field and how they can contribute to making a better world.
4. James Madison University
- Excellent simulation labs
- Scholarships to study abroad
- Abundant resources to support student development
James Madison University offers affordable nursing programs for all. Its excellent stimulation labs mimic real-life situations. Students take turns to practice giving acute care to patients in critical conditions.
The school uses state-of-the-art equipment for students to practice so they will not be out of touch when working in hospitals outside.
The school makes an effort to broaden students’ perspectives with its many international learning opportunities. Through cultural exchange, students can learn more about healthcare work in other countries.
Before COVID, the school was offering exchange programs in Costa Rica, Spain, and Tanzania. These programs are due to resume this year.
In addition, the school invests most of its funding to aid student development. It has a whole support center to take care of students’ mental health, offer counseling services, and handle any possible mistreatment in school.
It is dedicated to being a discrimination-free place for students of all genders, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities.
How Do You Get Into a Nursing School In Virginia?
In essence, getting into a nursing school in the USA is never easy if the quality is what you are after. It takes perseverance to set foot in the door, especially in a very competitive state like Virginia.
Since Virginia has so many top-quality programs, competition is fierce. You will need more than impressive results. The most common entrance exams for nursing programs are the TEAS test and the HESI A2 test.
Your selected nursing school will tell you which test to take. You can take the test physically at the school.
These tests are basic indicators of your skills. Once you pass the tests with satisfactory results, you will be invited for in-person interviews.
During your interview, It is vital to show your excellent communication skills. Nurses must possess a wide range of vocabulary and be able to express themselves in a calm manner under immense pressure. The interviewers will be looking for that in candidates.
Make sure you go through your desired school’s entry requirements. Plan your exams ahead so you can meet the application deadline.
Some schools won’t accept application submissions at all from students scoring lower than a certain point, while others may make an exception if you are exceptionally good at something else. These are all listed on each school’s recruitment page.
How Many Nurses Are In Virginia?
According to Virginia Nurses Association, there are more than 110,000 registered nurses in Virginia practicing actively. Due to a huge increase in medical support, a severe shortage in nursing staff is expected by 2030.
There will likely be a 12% in excess of demand. In the future, nurses will be a hot pick as the state scrambles for talents to meet medical needs.
Is The Current Job Market Good For Nursing Graduates?
Since experts have projected a bigger growth rate in demand than supply, nurses will only be more valuable. There has been a non-stop demand for medical staff in the USA.
Ever since the pandemic began, nurses are highly requested everywhere in both private and public sectors. More job opportunities are created for those with a nursing degree.
As there are more and more medical institutions expanding their businesses within the city, Virginia becomes a popular choice for students.
Schools are offering loan repayment programs and scholarship opportunities for those who pledged to work at qualifying hospitals and clinics after graduation to retain elites in the state.
Besides, Virginia has always been known to be the “student state.” With dozens of prestigious higher education institutions, new research projects are ongoing day and night. If you fancy a never-seen-before research program, Virginia will be able to satisfy your curiosity.
Graduates do not always move on to work as a nurse. Sometimes, they choose to stay in research institutions.
With their aid to support innovation, ground-breaking medical equipment and workflows are created to alleviate the burden on the healthcare system. Virginia nurtures thousands of multidisciplinary experts yearly.
The job prospect is looking bright in Virginia, regardless of your desire to be a nurse, a researcher, or a clinician.
How Much Does a Nurse Make In Virginia?
Medical professionals like doctors and nurses are well paid in the USA in comparison to the rest of the world. Recent statistics show the average registered nurse salary in Virginia is $76,680 per annum with a drastic range typically ranging from $59,170 and $100,900.
The salary ranges can be different depending on the city and personal qualifications. The salary is 7% lower than the national average. The cost of living is 1.8% higher than it is on average nationwide.
Statistically, it may not be very encouraging to work in Virginia. But prospective nurses should take into account the benefits, compensations, and promotion opportunities.
These non-monetary incentives could be more rewarding, especially since Virginia is a research state. Students seeking international opportunities can expand their networks here, which translates to higher pay in the future.
What Are The Benefits For Nurses In Virginia?
Aside from the mad respect for being a nurse, there are lots of other benefits. Even before the pandemic began, medical staff have long enjoyed extensive benefits in their packages.
With the pandemic, medical organizations are incorporating loads more benefits to keep the talents they can’t afford to lose.
Most companies offer nurses comprehensive insurance coverage that extends to immediate family members as well. It can save the employee half a million a year in case of a medical emergency.
Also, as an employee, in-hospital examinations and surgeries are either free of charge or come at a huge discount for you and your family members. More medical institutions are offering this to attract more nurses.
Depending on your work experience, nurses that have worked in the industry over a certain period of time are guaranteed to enjoy more paid holidays and vacations. And most of the time they are more generous than other jobs in this aspect.
Beyond that, workplaces are frequently organizing international training opportunities for staff to learn from other advanced countries. These programs enhance your knowledge and make your CV sharp.
Oftentimes, you are paid to attend seminars, which is a big plus. After entering the field, you are no longer paying to learn but getting paid to learn.
Whenever you plan to take up further studies, you will likely get sponsored by your current workplace. Most companies pay for their staff’s tuition fees in exchange for work agreements.
All you need is to commit to a few years in the workplace after graduation. By then, your salary will double as well. These sweet non-monetary benefits are the biggest incentives to take up the role.
Virginia has some of the best nursing schools in the USA. While it may not be the best-paying state for nurses, its diverse environment is home to many world-renowned research projects.
Most importantly, your degree here is highly valued in the rest of the country. Take a look at these top nursing schools to see which one is exactly what you are looking for.