Nursing is one of the most rewarding professions to pursue, and it’s one of the fastest-growing.
So, how do you know if nursing is the right career for you?
As a nurse, you’d be responsible for helping patients manage their health, reduce the spread of illness, and prevent injury while providing information to those needing care and support.
This means dealing with a number of responsibilities and challenges.
What are the Best Nursing Degrees?
There are a variety of nursing degrees available — from associate to doctorate.
Most programs demand several years of study and you’ll be responsible for completing an application, submitting your transcripts, and sitting for the NCLEX-RN exam.
To apply to graduate school for an MSN in Nursing degree, you’ll need to have earned a BS in Nursing first.
Students typically take between two and four years to complete the MSN program.
This is good news because it means you’ll be prepared with the skills and education needed to work as a licensed professional nurse once your education is complete.
For a professional MSN degree, you’ll need to earn a BS in Nursing first.
Don’t worry if you haven’t earned that degree yet.
Applications are still accepted to the RN-to-MSN program, which is a graduate nursing program that can help you earn your MSN within six years.
Some of the available programs are: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master in Nurse Leadership (MNL), and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
Things to Consider Before Becoming A Nurse
Becoming a nurse shouldn’t be a decision you take lightly. Nursing is a challenging profession and it takes time and effort to get through training.
Here are a few things you should consider before jumping right in.
1. Nursing Isn’t an Easy Job
There are many misconceptions about the profession. Some people think nursing is easy because they have so much experience with patients, but you will be challenged by your patients every day as well.
You should consider the physical, mental, and emotional toll this profession can take on you.
Be sure you’re ready for the challenges before pursuing your nursing career.
2. You’ll Need to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing First, and Different States Have Different Requirements
Even though there are plenty of ways to enter the field of nursing without a degree, most employers prefer to see a BSN first.
This is because the title “nurse” is protected and you’ll need that credential to practice at different levels of care.
Be sure to check the specific requirements for your home state before beginning your training, too.
If you’re not able to spend two or four years in school, you may want to consider an option that allows you to earn your degree at a slower pace.
When you’ve earned your degree, you can look at different states for nurse practitioners and decide where to work.
3. You Don’t Need to Pass a Test Before Working as a Nurse (But You’ll Need to Complete a Certain Number of Clinical Hours Before Working as a Licensed Nurse)
It used to be that nurses had to pass a test before working in the profession, but this is no longer the case.
Most nurses will complete an exam when they graduate from training, but they’re not required by law to do so.
You will need to complete your clinical hours before working as an RN, too.
The exact number of required hours varies by state, but generally, you need one year’s worth of experience completed at each level (i.e., LPN, LVN, and RN) before you can apply for licensure.
4. Pay Isn’t Always Stable or Steady for Nurses
Nurses are highly sought-after employees and work in an important role in the healthcare system; they’re able to earn a great deal of money depending on the area they work in.
However, salaries for nursing aren’t always stable or steady.
In a good year, you may be able to earn $82,750 (on average) working as a Registered Nurse (RN).
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re unlucky with scheduling, you may find yourself working nights or weekends for short-term assignments. This can bring your pay down. If this happens to you frequently, it’s possible that your income will dip down closer to minimum wage.
5. Nursing Doesn’t Have to Be a Full-Time Job
Nursing can be a part-time or full-time job, and like many other jobs, there are benefits to working part-time.
As an RN, you can pick and choose your shifts. If you’re able to find a flexible assignment with your current employer or one that allows you to work from home, this could be the perfect position for you.
You’ll also have the option of working per diem and choosing when you want to work based on your schedule.
6. There Are a Variety of Qualifications for Nursing
Nurses may work in a variety of specialties including pediatric, neonatal, emergency, labor and delivery, and progressive care.
You’ll need to decide if you’re interested in working as a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse.
Some nurses will choose to specialize in critical care, whereas others may choose to work in public health.
7. Nursing Isn’t Just About Changing Bandages or Giving Medications
Nursing is not an easy job to do — but it can be rewarding.
It’s your job as a nurse to help patients with their health management plan, promote wellness practices and prevent future illnesses or injuries.
Nurses are also important members of the healthcare team and should keep up-to-date on new medications, treatments, and procedures.
8. Be Ready to Work Long Hours
Nurses take on a variety of responsibilities that can be difficult at times.
You will be working with the schedules of many other providers, often in different time zones with little to no break between shifts.
However, nurses who love this aspect of their career will know that it’s worth it when they’re able to see their patients improve as a result of the care they provide.
Getting Ready for Nursing School
Before you can work as a nurse, you will need to first earn an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing so that you can get your license.
Once you have your credentials and certifications, the next step is to apply for the proper state exam before you can practice as a licensed professional.
The first step in becoming a nurse is getting ready to take your licensing exam.
The NCLEX Exam is a national test that all nurses must pass before they are allowed to start working.
Developing Soft Skills
Soft skills are the skills that allow you to interact with others and work as a team.
These skills are not only helpful to have while you’re working as a nurse but will also be beneficial in your personal life and provide you with success in any profession.
Communication and Teamwork
Communication is an important skill that all nurses need to have to effectively interact with their patients.
The ability to listen, speak, interpret nonverbal cues, and provide feedback are all-important communication skills that can help you develop a rapport with your patients.
Teamwork is another important skill that you’ll need to display as a nurse.
While it is important that nurses work with their colleagues, excellent teamwork skills are necessary so they can provide patients with the best care possible.
Flexibility and the Ability to Adapt
You’ll need to be flexible while working as a nurse. It can be difficult if you’re not able to get a day off when you need it, but if you develop this skill, it will help both your personal and professional life.
Nursing is a challenging position with many responsibilities that are vital for the health of your patients and the future healthcare system of America.
When you work at a fast-paced job, it’s hard to be on top of everything.
If errors don’t get caught, harm can be done to your patients. In other cases, mistakes are made but aren’t discovered until much later when something goes wrong with the patient.
Moving Your Career Onwards
When you’ve completed your training and have your credentials, it’s time to take the next step.
You’ll be able to get more involved with the field as a nurse, which will bring more responsibilities and a sense of self-worth.
As a nurse, you have the opportunities to expand your career to include specialties such as critical care, or pediatrics.
You’ll also be able to work in hospitals, medical labs, clinics, and other medical facilities as a general or nurse practitioner.
Working in this career field will allow you to develop the additional skills needed to be an excellent healthcare provider.
Nursing is now one of the most desired jobs in America and nurses are still counting on salaries, benefits, and earning potential.
The bottom line is that nurses have the ability to gain everything they need in a job whether the paychecks are big or small.
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