I am frequently asked, “Does it matter where I graduate from nursing school?” My answer is always, “Yes!” I graduated cum laude from the University of Texas School of Nursing and it has positively affected my nursing career in profound ways.
First, I was educated by happy professors in a sunny environment perfect for learning. Both transplanted faculty and out-of-state students embrace the local culture while living in beautiful Austin, Texas. Moving at a southern pace, educators take their time to ensure that students fully understand the material and perform clinical tasks using best practice methods. Because of their example, I treat my patients with southern hospitality; I smile, take the time to understand their needs, make them comfortable, and answer any questions they may have.
In addition, the goal of the University of Texas is to create leaders in nursing who will ultimately enhance the profession. There is a big difference between a nurse who is taught to lead and one who is taught clinical tasks. UT graduates can do both.
Furthermore, my alma mater looks great on a resume. It is easily recognized and many people know that its nursing program is always ranked among the top ten in the United States. It is well known that UT is dedicated to academic research and when I graduated, the National Institutes for Health [NIH] gave the University of Texas at Austin the highest ranking for a nursing school not linked to a health science center or medical school. Currently, UT is ranked in the top 25 of the world’s elite universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which is considered to be the most authoritative assessments of universities.
It has been seven years since I graduated and the University is still supportive of me and my career. For example, the UT School of Nursing featured my Hurricane Sandy story on their website. A less reputable school with fewer students could not promote NurseGail.com in the same way.
When I graduated from UT, I was saddled with over $45,000 of debt and like anyone who spends that kind of money, I was a critical consumer with high expectations. Looking back, I am proud to have made the choice to attend the University of Texas and when I make my monthly student loan payments, I do so with satisfaction. I am hopeful for the day when I can begin to give back.