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How Do I Choose the Best Trauma Nursing Program?

Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters

A trauma nurse is typically a professional nurse that has been certified and has at least a year of experience working as a registered nurse (RN). This specialty focuses in on those aspects of nursing that are most important in dealing with critically injured patients. Typically, this takes place in either an intensive care or emergency room setting. A good trauma nursing program should thoroughly prepare a nurse for all aspects of patient care related to trauma, providing both classroom and hands-on education. Prospective students should check the program’s certification and professional standing before deciding to enroll.

One of the first things to look for when choosing the best trauma nursing program is to make sure the program and the school are accredited. It is also important to make sure that the accrediting body is widely accepted within the nursing profession, so that credentials received through the program will have value. If you don’t see mention of accreditation in the school’s catalog, ask someone in the administrative offices before going any further. Enrolling in a non-accredited school could mean that any credentials you earn will not lead to certification or licensure.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Look closely at what kind of training the school offers. If you want to take some of your classes through an online program, make sure the school offers this option. Also evaluate how many classes you can take online, and see which classes must be attended in person. While it is reasonable for a trauma nursing program to offer some remote classes, due to the nature of nursing many classes require a large amount of clinical work.

Evaluate the nursing program you are looking at to see if it offers enough hands-on time for students to get a good feeling for the job. This phase of the program will vary widely by program and by country, but the practical, or hands-on, aspects of the program should at least meet the minimum of the nursing board’s requirements. Be sure to look into the facility where you will be working in for your practical experience. To gain experience, a busy trauma facility may be a much better choice than a small, quiet hospital.

Check carefully to see what aspects of the trauma nursing program your tuition and basic fees cover and what costs are considered to be extra. You should consider all of your potential expenses, including books, lab fees, uniforms and required materials or supplies. A good trauma nursing program will usually have a list of everything you need to purchase in order to complete the program. Be sure to ask for this information prior to signing up, since this may impact your ability to afford the program. A high cost does not necessarily indicate a quality program, but a very low cost could mean some aspects are being left out of the training.

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