How I Chose a Nursing School

By Glenn Fredenburg, August 2015

When I decided to go back for my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I was interested in a school I could trust—one with an actual physical address and a history. Some of the online colleges I came across appeared to have popped up overnight, and I feel sketchy about just handing money to strangers.

So I did some research.

Utica College has been ranked a top college by U.S News and World Reports, signaling to me a record of academic excellence. The school is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and its nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Accreditation means their program meets, at minimum, a strict set of standards of excellence. Our hospitals meet regular accreditation by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO, or The Joint Commission), and we know how strict The Joint is on our hospital! It was reassuring to know that Utica College meets standards that are just as high, because not every online college can claim that their staff and curriculum are so strictly measured!

Brick and Mortar? Yes!

I wanted a college with a physical address. If I have a problem, I want to know that I can drive to an actual place that’s NOT an office complex in a strip mall and talk to a person on campus who cares about ME, and not the size of my student loan. I want the flexibility to actually stop by a real library to pick up a paper they got on interlibrary loan from another college. I want a place where the professors have desks and offices and classrooms I can pop into if I’m in town with questions and, most importantly, a college that will be there as long as I am—one that won’t fold overnight and disappear with my money.

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I want a nursing school with a dedicated nursing staff, classrooms and learning labs if I feel the need to visit and brush up on skills. I want teachers who have not only taught, but practiced the art of nursing and are as dedicated to the craft as I am. I want nursing faculty who know which end of the thermometer goes where, and who know what I’m going through if I run into scheduling troubles with school and life.

I want a college with a storied history and a record of excellence—a college where the professors have stories of classroom hijinks. Where I can, if I choose, convert to on-campus status because I want to do my own laundry and eat pizza for three meals a day like the rest of the kids. I want a college with steps worn from years of footprints, one I can visit and say, “I never stepped foot on campus, but I am an alumni.” I want a college with branded coffee cups and shot glasses, sports teams and a mascot, and happy smiling students, teachers and administrators.

I want Utica College.

About the Author

Glenn Fredenburg has been a registered nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over 10 years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.