25 August 2023 | Carrie Hamilton

Empowering future nurses

Making informed choices for your nursing programmes

Selecting the appropriate nursing program and university is a pivotal decision that can significantly shape the future of aspiring nurses and impact their families as well. The multitude of choices in the realm of nursing education can make this decision seem like a daunting task. It requires careful consideration and a thorough assessment to make an informed choice that not only aligns with your personal and professional aspirations but also resonates with your core values. As you embark on this journey, there are several crucial factors to weigh and specific steps to take in order to identify the nursing program that is best suited to your unique needs and aspirations. In this blog, we will explore the key considerations and strategies that will empower you to make a well-informed decision, setting you on a path towards a rewarding and fulfilling nursing career.

Programme checklist

One of the initial steps in making an informed decision about your nursing program and university is to curate a shortlist of potential institutions. This shortlist will serve as the foundation for assessing what type of program and university aligns best with your educational and personal aspirations. When creating this shortlist, it’s crucial to consider various factors, each contributing to the overall picture of what your university experience might look like:

  • Entry Requirements: Understanding what qualifications and grades are necessary for admission can help you gauge whether you meet the criteria or what additional steps you might need to take to qualify.
  •  Location: The geographical location of a university plays a substantial role in shaping your learning experience and lifestyle during your education. Take the time to explore how each location may influence your daily life, access to resources, and overall comfort with the surroundings.
  •  Class Size: The size of your classes can significantly impact your learning environment. Discussing the implications of class size can help you discern whether you prefer smaller, more intimate settings with direct faculty interaction or larger, more dynamic groups for your studies.
  •  Affordability: Financial considerations are a pivotal aspect of choosing a university. Providing insights into the financial aspects, including tuition fees, available scholarships, and living costs, will enable you to make a well-informed decision about the feasibility of pursuing your nursing education at a particular institution.
  • Options for Placements: Practical experiences, including clinical placements, are essential components of your nursing education. Explaining the significance of practical experiences during your nursing education will help you prioritize universities that offer robust opportunities for hands-on learning and skill development.
  • Additional Opportunities: Beyond the core curriculum, universities often provide various extracurricular activities, research opportunities, and support services. Highlighting these additional opportunities can aid you in assessing which institutions align with your broader educational and personal interests.

By considering these factors when creating your university shortlist, you can embark on your journey toward nursing education with a clearer understanding of what each institution offers and how it aligns with your goals and preferences. This proactive approach lays the groundwork for a more informed and confident decision-making process.

Engage in course content

Another crucial step to take when deciding on a nursing programme is to actively engage with the programme’s content. This involves immersing yourself in various aspects of the curriculum to gain a deeper understanding of what the program entails and how it aligns with your preferences and aspirations. This can be done in various ways:

Taster Lectures: One valuable way to explore program content is by attending taster lectures. These sessions provide a sneak peek into the curriculum and teaching style employed by the university. By participating in these lectures, you can get a feel for the subjects covered, the teaching methods utilized, and the overall learning environment. It’s an opportunity to assess whether the academic approach resonates with your learning preferences and goals.

Clinical Skills Sessions: Hands-on experience is a fundamental aspect of nursing education, and clinical skills sessions play a pivotal role in this regard. These sessions offer you the chance to actively engage in practical training, honing essential skills that are integral to your role as a nurse. You’ll gain insights into the types of activities, tasks, and procedures that you’ll be exposed to during your studies. Participating in clinical skills sessions allows you to evaluate whether the program’s approach to practical training aligns with your expectations and career aspirations.

Simulations: Simulations are a powerful tool in nursing education, providing a realistic preview of the scenarios you may encounter in your future healthcare career. These immersive experiences involve role-playing various healthcare situations, often with the assistance of actor role-players. Simulations offer you a firsthand look at the challenges and decisions that nurses face daily. By participating in simulations, you can assess how well the program prepares you for real-world nursing scenarios. It’s an opportunity to gauge the program’s emphasis on practical skills, critical thinking, and patient care.

Incorporating these experiences into your decision-making process can provide valuable insights into the program’s content, teaching methods, and alignment with your career goals. By actively participating in taster lectures, clinical skills sessions, and simulations, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed choice when selecting the nursing program that best suits your needs and aspirations.

How SimComm can help

SimComm Academy has been involved in supporting universities in the delivery of such sessions between December 2022 and May 2023. It consisted of five Saturday morning sessions, each included taster lectures, clinical skills sessions, and simulations with actor role players. Offer-holders attended one rotation, while the parents/partners of offer-holders attended another rotation. The simulations were collaboratively designed by the University branch specialists and the education provider, with facilitators and actor role players. In order to cover child, adult and mental health branches, for aspiring students, the scenario content was broad based and applicable to all.

At the end of the session, evaluation forms completed by potential nursing students and their parents/partners were overwhelmingly positive. Attendees reported that the sessions were informative and enjoyable, with the simulations being a particular highlight. The use of actor role players helped to make the simulations more realistic and engaging. Attendees felt that the sessions helped them to better understand what to expect from the nursing programme, which would aid them in making a more informed decision about which university to choose.


It is essential to underscore the importance of making well-informed choices when selecting a nursing program and university. This decision sets the foundation for a fulfilling and successful journey into nursing education and the healthcare profession. We strongly encourage prospective nursing students and their families to actively engage with universities and leverage the available resources and experiences. By taking advantage of taster lectures, clinical skills sessions, and simulations, you gain invaluable insights that will shape your educational path.

Ultimately, making informed choices empowers you to embark on a journey that aligns with your aspirations, values, and career goals. It is a pivotal step towards becoming a future healthcare professional who can contribute positively to the well-being of individuals and communities. Your journey begins with the choice you make today, and it holds the promise of a rewarding and impactful future in healthcare.


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  2. Wut TM, Xu J (Bill), Lee SW. Does University Ranking Matter? Choosing a University in the Digital Era. Education Sciences. 2022 Mar 23;12(4):229.