Does It Matter Where You Get Your Nursing Degree?

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Does it matter where you get your nursing degree? Absolutely! The importance of quality education is the first consideration. Look for an institutionally accredited nursing school. Additionally, consider the location, hospital partnerships, admissions requirements, and curriculum when choosing a program.

nursing students working

There are many compelling reasons for switching careers to nursing. Registered nurses (RNs) are in high demand nationwide and command lucrative salaries. There are also plenty of nursing specialties to choose from, so you’re sure to find one you’re passionate about.

Since nurses are needed in a variety of settings — from hospitals to private homes — you can choose your workplace. Plus, you will make a positive difference in the lives of people in your community.

As you think about switching careers to nursing, you may have questions. Does it matter where you get your nursing degree? Which program is right for you? Will you need four years to earn your nursing degree?

Let’s answer that last question right away. At Notre Dame of Maryland University, it’s possible to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as few as 15 months with our Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program. You can begin pursuing a health care career sooner than you thought!

Are BSN Programs the Same? Does It Matter Where You Get Your Nursing Degree?

Nurses are responsible for their patients’ health and safety; patients’ lives are literally in their hands. Every RN must pass a licensure exam to certify their capability to provide patient care (National Council Licensure Exam, or NCLEX-RN). However, not every nurse has the same knowledge or skills. When considering what to look for in a nursing program, the importance of quality education is paramount.

In short, nurses have a great deal of responsibility, and to do their job well, they need a solid academic background. However, the well-being of patients isn’t the only factor when considering the question, “Does it matter where you get your nursing degree?”

Health care employers may also consider the higher education institution of nursing job applicants when making hiring decisions. Employers will have different standards, of course, but they generally prefer hiring competent nurses who graduated from well-respected, institutionally accredited nursing schools.

NDMU nursing student wearing stethoscope

Do you have what it takes to be a nurse? Get some food for thought here.

What to Look for in a Nursing Program

Many factors go into choosing a nursing school. Geography may play a role in your decision, for example, along with the admissions requirements. However, the primary factor should be the quality of education. Here’s what to look for in a nursing program.

Institutional Accreditation and Approval

When choosing a nursing program, one crucial consideration is whether the school is institutionally accredited and approved by the state’s board of nursing. Institutional accreditation reflects the quality of education at the school, as acknowledged by its peers. You can learn more about Notre Dame of Maryland University’s accreditations and approvals on our Accreditations page.

The Importance of Quality Education

The importance of quality education cannot be overstated for a future nurse. You’ll want to choose a nursing program with a tradition of graduating well-rounded, thoroughly prepared nursing candidates. Nursing program length does not necessarily have any bearing on its quality. For example, an accelerated program can offer the same excellent nursing education as a respected four-year program.

2 nursing students reviewing coursework

Multiple Start Dates

Although the quality of education is the most important consideration, you’ll also want to choose a nursing program that offers convenience and flexibility. Look for a nursing school that offers multiple start dates per year, which will allow you to get started as soon as possible and facilitate quicker graduation and subsequent entry into the workforce.

At Notre Dame, you can choose from three start dates each year: January, May, or September. Plus, there is currently no waitlist.

Hybrid Curriculum

Another way to make earning your nursing degree as convenient as possible is to look for a nursing program that offers a hybrid curriculum. It’s impossible to earn a BSN entirely online, as every aspiring nurse needs experiential learning to become practice-ready. However, choosing a school that offers online coursework may make your degree more accessible.

Nursing students in Notre Dame’s ABSN program can complete their coursework on campus or online. Other ABSN programs offer only an online or an on-campus coursework option but not both. Notre Dame breaks the mold because we know that no two students learn the same. We’re committed to your success, so we give you the choice to learn in the best way for you.


Location is another consideration for what to look for in a nursing program. While you might initially be inclined to choose a program close to your home, it’s worth considering relocation. Relocation can be a good idea if another city has a higher-quality nursing program or if there are more reputable hospitals away from your hometown.

Notre Dame calls Baltimore, Maryland, home. Our nursing students love the proximity to highly prestigious hospitals like Johns Hopkins Medicine. The area’s health care market is characterized by excellent facilities that have received extensive investments, as well as health care innovations and research excellence. Plus, it’s an exciting place to live, with lots to do and see — from sports to theater.

NDMU student in scrubs

Hospital Partnerships

As a nursing student, you’ll complete multiple clinical rotations, allowing you to practice delivering medical care to actual patients under the watchful eye of your preceptor (supervisor). It’s a good idea to choose a nursing program with highly regarded practice partners.

Although the ABSN program cannot guarantee specific placements to students, if you attend Notre Dame, you may be placed at prestigious facilities like Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), or Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Accessible Admissions Requirements

Every nursing school establishes its own admissions requirements. These requirements depend not only on the school but also on the type of program. For example, if you’re applying to a four-year nursing program right after high school, you will likely need your high school transcripts, test scores, and a personal essay. On the other hand, an ABSN program would focus more on your college transcripts from your prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

At Notre Dame, our admissions requirements include a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Like many other programs, we also require a personal essay, recommendations, and other items. Your dedicated admissions counselor will walk you through the requirements and help you create a plan for meeting them.

nurse using laptop

Getting ready to enter the program? Check out these 8 tips for preparing for nursing school.

Dedicated Admissions Staff

Lastly, when considering what to look for in a nursing program, it’s worth reflecting upon the admissions team. Planning to go to school for a second degree can sometimes be a little challenging. It’s helpful to choose a nursing program that will connect you to a dedicated admissions counselor to work with you one-on-one throughout the admissions process. You’ll find exactly that at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame of Maryland: Your Home for Nursing School

Are you ready to pursue your dream of a career in nursing? Through Notre Dame’s ABSN program, you could earn your nursing degree in as few as 15 months and graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX. Contact an admissions counselor today to discuss if studying nursing in Baltimore could be a good fit for you.