Deciding to pursue a career in nursing is a huge decision. It is something that will have a huge impact on your future, and it is something that requires careful thought and consideration, even if it is something you have wanted to do since you were a child.
When you have settled on pursuing a career as a nurse, however, your next step is to decide on where to study. Again, this decision could have a huge impact on your future and career.
Why Choose Nursing in South Carolina?
The state has a very complicated healthcare infrastructure that is crying out for the next generation of dedicated nursing staff. The overall demand for RNs is already huge and it is only going to keep getting bigger as the years pass us by.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that a registered nurse's average salary in South Carolina exceeds the $60,000 mark. Therefore, nursing is a very solid choice of career for people who are looking for a career in healthcare.
It's not all about the money, though; nursing has incredible opportunities for progression. After spending a few years as a registered nurse, there are several different paths you can go down. From management to medical specializations, the only limit in nursing is yourself. And while going further in your nursing career often means further study, it does not mean you need to go back to college and be a student again.
Baylor University's online Doctor of Nursing Practice Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (DNP NNP) program gets actively practicing registered nurses ready for a role where they will lead teams of nurses and nursing care for infants up to the age of 24 months. So, going to neonatal nursing college to further your career, if this is something you may be interested in, does not mean uprooting your life and moving to college all over again.
What Do I Need to Study?
If you want to find a place in nursing, earning your Associate's Degree in Nursing (an ADN) is often the quickest and cheapest way of doing so. ADN programs often only take two years to finish, and this makes it a fantastic choice if you want to get out of college and begin working as soon as possible.
These ADNs are often provided at community and junior colleges in addition to "traditional" colleges and technical colleges. This means that it is an accessible way to enter nursing and that there is a lot of choice available.
In South Carolina alone there are over 15 colleges that offer ADN programs. This means that becoming a registered nurse in South Carolina is a straightforward process.
There are some things to look out for, though.
Accreditation - It is important to choose a program that is accredited. We recommend always checking for national accreditations when reviewing a potential program. These should always be provided by reputable accreditors such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Also, it helps if the program you are looking at is recognized at state-level by our very own state board for nursing (the SCBN).
Licensing - To get your nursing license from the SCBN, you will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a fully registered nurse in the state. It is on you to make sure that the program you are going to pursue will adequately prepare you for this test. With a pass rate of over 80%, preparation will help you succeed.
Admission Requirements - Nursing isn't open to absolutely everybody, unfortunately. There are key criteria that you need to meet in-order to join a nursing course. Although these requirements vary depending on the course, the general consensus is that you need:
- At least a 2.75 GPA.
- No criminal background.
- A minimum score from the TEAS exam (this is set by each college).
There may be other criteria depending on the institution.
With all that said, let's take a look at some of the best nursing schools in South Carolina.
#1: Clemson University
If you want to study nursing in South Carolina, it is difficult to beat the renowned Clemson University. In addition to its nursing bachelor's programs, it also offers several graduate nursing programs. Located in the suburban area of Clemson, South Carolina, the institution has a rich history and is one of the country's best colleges for nursing education.
The school itself boasts a respectable retention rate. On average, 92% of first years return to study for their second year. Also, Clemson does not require its first-year students to live on campus. This is ideal for those of you who are not quite ready to fly the nest.
Clemson's BSN program is designed to prepare the next generation of caring and empathetic nurses through its CCNE-accredited curriculum. Students who are enrolled on the course take classes in chemistry, biology, psychology, writing, and more. This provides a well-rounded education and prepares all students for the challenges of modern nursing. Both juniors and seniors are provided with extensive clinical-based training and education.
#2: University of South Carolina, Columbia
Any student who is serious about chasing a career in nursing should check out the University of South Carolina, Columbia's graduate degrees in nursing. These advanced degrees have enabled thousands of students to enjoy successful careers in healthcare. If you are a person who is looking for a lively and buzzing campus, USC has over 20,000 students on campus and the nursing program has over 60% of its instructors working full-time.
It is not just graduate degrees that are offered, though. The University of South Carolina offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. These programs are designed with excellence in mind to properly prepare the next generation of nurses for the challenges ahead.
#3: Lander University
If you want to study nursing, Lander University should also be on your radar. While many will argue that Lander is one of the very best nursing schools in South Carolina, you will need to decide for yourself. Located in the quiet and idyllic town of Greenwood, South Carolina, Lander University is ideal for students who want a more relaxed, laidback, and out of the way location.
It is the top-quality education that has earned Lander University top marks and high praise. While Lander's courses are on the more expensive side, there are a huge number of scholarships and bursaries available. The university reports that around 79% of its students receive some form of funding from the school.
The Greenwood-based Lander University offers a CCNE-accredited pre-licensure BSN program. The Lander nursing curriculum is based on a foundation in the liberal arts, featuring a more holistic and innovative approach to medical education. As you would expect from a leading institution, there are plenty of opportunities for clinical experience.
#4: Medical University of South Carolina
The Medical University of South Carolina has been churning out healthcare graduates for around 200 years. Founded in 1823 as a medical college, MUSC established its nursing training program in 1884 and fully integrated it with the overall institution in 1919, 100 years ago. MUSC's College of Nursing is highly rated by several publications and is often hailed as one of the best nursing schools in the entire country.
So far as South Carolina goes, MUSC's College of Nursing is often the highest ranked when it comes to federal research funding. In 2017, MUSC's College of Nursing got around $11 million from the National Institutes of Health and other notable bodies.
Nursing students at MUSC spend a lot of time at the state-of-the-art Health Care Simulation Center. Here, they are taught by colleagues and professionals from the university's medical, dental, and pharmacy schools. The facility is spread over 11,000 square feet and includes around 12 virtual hospital units and 30 manikins that are programmed to simulate real human interaction.
MUSC's College of Nursing partners with many clinics within South Carolina for clinical rotations. These include MUSC's own University Hospital, Ashley River Tower, South Carolina's Children's Hospital, and the Ralph H. Johnson Veteran's Administration Medical Center.
In South Carolina, You Are Spoilt for Choice
South Carolina is one of the best places in the entire United States to pursue an education and career in nursing. With several top-tier nursing programs and schools available, many of which have lucrative scholarships and funding opportunities available, there is no reason why any student cannot pursue nursing if it is what they truly want to do.
Given the current problem in the United States surrounding the inherent shortage of healthcare professionals, any student that is serious about a long and rewarding career in nursing should look no further than South Carolina to get the ball rolling.
And so far as on-campus learning vs online learning goes, it is a case of weighing up the pros and cons. If you are a working professional who is dedicated, motivated, and has ties to their local area, for example, an online course is going to be much more suited to you than a student who is raring to move away from home.