Nursing schools in the United States have come a long way since the day when the Yale School of Nursing was the first and only nursing school anywhere. It opened its doors in 1923 and studies were focused on basic education instead of the needs of the medical community.
Nursing schools grew in popularity and other schools were established and many colleges and universities introduced nursing as a separate program in their scope of education. By 1956, it was even possible to earn a masters degree in nursing at Columbia University, the first school to offer such advanced education in the field of nursing.
Even though the basics of education are still taught at nursing schools, today's nursing student learns a lot more about the medical industry itself than the original nursing students once did.
Because each state establishes the fundamentals of education offered at all schools within their jurisdictions, nursing schools must meet the standards required of the state in which they operate. This simply means that most nursing students will take classes involving English, math, some history, and other education basics, all providing valuable knowledge that is needed in a professional career in any field.
What makes today's nursing schools quite different than the first ones is that there is some in-depth training in medical issues required now. Nursing students must master more scientific classes that include anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and pathology.
In addition, medical procedures such as the correct way to administer medicine, conduct physical examinations, change dressings, catheterization procedures, and how to give injections are mastered in today's nursing schools everywhere.
Once the basics of education and procedures are completed, nursing schools today send the students off to gain some practical experience in an actual working medical environment. They will rotate through various units in a hospital so they get a good feel for different areas of a hospital, such as the emergency room, obstetrics, surgery, and the like. This exposure is expected to help the nurse decide which area or type of a medical facility he or she would like to work in after graduation.
Graduates of all nursing schools in the US must pass a national licensing exam before being allowed to work in a healthcare facility of any kind. Depending upon the student's level of education, he or she can apply to take an exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LVN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).