By Maureen ‘Shawn’ Kennedy, AJN interim editor-in-chief

Imagine spending a significant amount of money and long hours of study to earn credits toward a nursing degree—and then finding out that the credits are not transferable to the school where you planned to complete the degree. For some nursing students, this is a reality, not just an exercise in imagination.

In the January issue of AJN, we assigned one of our freelance journalists to do a report examining for-profit nursing programs, many of which are online.

Newspaper articles and other news sources and organizations have reported that some students are getting shortchanged, with nursing students sometimes finding themselves ineligible to take licensing exams and facing crippling debt.

I’ve seen ads for various online nursing programs—indeed, AJN and other reputable nursing journals run these promotions in our pages or on our Web sites. Most are credible organizations and many students have indeed graduated from them or with credit obtained through them and gone on to pursue successful careers. But a few such programs apparently fail to deliver on promises—or may not provide full disclosure about what students can expect.

If you’re contemplating going back to school and are considering an online program, be sure to read our report and follow the recommendations from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing detailed in the article. Going back to school might very well be the best decision you make—but make it carefully, and with full knowledge.

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