This post provides detailed information on the nurse education and career pathway to help you learn how to become a nurse, including the certification you need to develop your career.
Why Choose Nursing Career?
These are some of the reasons why you should choose to become a nurse:
- You can make a difference.
Nurses help people live their best lives. They provide care for patients with illnesses or injuries that may be life threatening or require long-term treatment.
Nurses also work closely with families as they cope with illness or injury.
2. The rewards are great.
As a nurse, you get paid more than other professions, and your job offers many opportunities for advancement and personal satisfaction.
3. Nursing provides a wide range of career options.
There are several ways to enter the field of nursing. For example, you could earn a degree in nursing, then complete a hospital internship before starting your first full-time position as a nurse.
4. Nursing is a rewarding career choice.
There are many different types of jobs available within the field of nursing. Some nurses specialize in certain areas such as pediatrics, gerontology, or mental health.
Others work in hospitals or clinics where they treat patients directly.
5. Nursing is a growing profession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of RNs is expected to grow by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Nurse Education Requirements
The requirements for becoming a nurse vary depending upon whether you’re applying for entry level positions or seeking a higher education degree.
If you plan to start out working as a nurse, you’ll need to complete an approved associate degree program.
These programs usually last two years and include classroom instruction and hands-on training in a healthcare facility.
After completing this program, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam administered by the state board of nursing.
Once you’ve passed this test, you’ll be able to apply for a license to practice as a registered nurse.
If you’d like to go beyond a basic Associate degree and further your education, you’ll need to enroll in a four-year college or university.
At these institutions, you’ll receive both classroom and clinical training. After earning a Baccalaureate degree, you’ll need to obtain a Master’s degree or Doctorate.
This will allow you to become a Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN).
Nurse Continuing Education
As you advance in your career, you may choose to seek additional education. You may also wish to attend continuing education courses to stay current with new developments in your chosen specialty.
Once you’ve completed your education and obtained a license, you must pass a certification examination to prove your knowledge of the latest standards and practices.
Certification exams are offered periodically throughout the year.
Nurse Career Opportunities
There are several career opportunities for a nurse, these include:
- Registered Nurse
A Registered Nurse works under the supervision of a physician and performs various duties related to patient care.
They provide direct patient care and assist physicians in diagnosing illnesses and prescribing treatments. R.N.’s work in hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities.
2. Licensed Practical Nurse
LPN’s perform tasks that require less skill than those performed by an RN. They help patients who cannot take care of themselves due to illness or injury.
LPN’s can work in home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and other medical settings.
3. Certified Medical Surgical Technologist
CMT’s perform tests on blood samples, X-rays, and other diagnostic equipment.
They prepare specimens for laboratory analysis and operate specialized machines used in medicine and surgery.
4. Clinical Laboratory Technician
CLT’s perform routine lab procedures such as analyzing blood and urine samples. They also record results and report findings to doctors and nurses.
5. Health Information Management Specialist (HIMS)
The HIMS manages information about patients and their treatment. They keep records on medications, appointments, and other pertinent details.
6. Physical Therapist (PT)
The PT treats people suffering from physical injuries or disabilities. Their job involves helping individuals regain strength and mobility after an accident or disease has affected their ability to move around.
Additional career opportunities for a nurse include:
- Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Pharmacy Technician
- Radiologic Technology
- Respiratory Care Technician
How to Advance your Nursing Career
Here are some suggestions to help you get started and advance your nursing career:
- Start Early.
Nursing is one of the oldest professions. Many nurses have been working in this field for decades.
However, there are still many opportunities available today for young professionals looking to make a difference in the lives of others.
The earlier you start preparing yourself for a career in nursing, the better off you’ll be when it comes the time to apply for jobs.
2. Get Your Associates Degree.
An Associate’s degree is obtained after two years of study. It is not quite as long as a Bachelor’s degree but it does give you more experience and allows you to enter the workforce sooner.
This type of degree is typically taken before transferring into a four-year college program.
You may want to consider taking an Associate’s degree if you plan on becoming a nurse practitioner or a nurse midwife.
These occupations typically need at least a Bachelor’s degree.
3. Consider Going Back to School
If you already have a high school diploma, then going back to school might be something worth considering.
There are several programs out there that will allow you to earn your Bachelor’s degree while you pursue your current career.
For example, you could go back to school and obtain your Bachelor’s in nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing – BSN) which enables you to become a registered nurse.
4. Take Online Classes.
There are currently many schools that offer accredited online degrees. Some of these schools even provide coursework through flexible scheduling options.
When searching for online schools, look for accredited schools that focus on providing quality education without sacrificing flexibility.
5. Become a Certified Medical Coder.
A medical coder can find employment in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, insurance companies, etc.
The medical coding profession requires candidates to have both excellent communication skills and mathematical abilities.
To become certified, most states require applicants to pass a certification exam.
6. Join a Professional Association
Nurses who belong to professional associations are often given preferential treatment within their workplace.
They are also provided with additional benefits, such as discounts on continuing education courses, scholarships, and job leads.
How to find a Good Nurse School
Here are some tips to help you find a good nurse school:
- Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations
Asking friends and family members for recommendations is one of the best ways to find a good nursing school.
Most people know someone who has gone to school to become a nurse and they can share information about the school and what it was like.
2. Check Out Local Schools
Many local colleges and universities offer nursing programs. You should Examine them to determine whether they fit your requirements.
3. Look up Programs that Interest You
Searching the Internet can be helpful when looking for a good nursing school. You can use search engines to find websites that list different nursing programs.
You can also visit the website of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
4. Research Accredited Schools
The AACN provides a list of accredited nursing schools. This list includes information about each school, including its location, admission requirements, tuition cost, and accreditation status.
5. Contact your State’s Board of Nursing
Each state board of nursing has its own set of rules regarding how nurses must complete their education. Make sure you contact your state board of nursing before applying to any program.
How to be Successful in your Nursing Career
The following are some suggestions to help you succeed in your nursing career:
- Be Prepared
The nurse job can be hectic and demanding, therefore, make sure that you are prepared for the challenges ahead.
Start thinking about what you want from your nurse career now so you will be ready when you start working.
2. Build Relationships
Being a nurse means spending long hours caring for patients. Therefore, build relationships with other nurses to learn more about the field.
Get involved in organizations or groups where you can network with others.
3. Stay Current
Continuing education is important to staying current in the field. Therefore, take advantage of opportunities offered at work to attend seminars and workshops.
Also, enroll in college courses to keep up with new developments in the field.
4. Have Fun
Enjoy yourself while learning and growing as a nurse. If you don’t enjoy what you do, then why would anyone else?
5. Keep Learning
There are many things you need to learn to be successful as a nurse. Therefore, continue to seek out information and resources to help you grow.
6. Don’t Forget About Yourself
Remember that you have needs too. Take care of yourself by eating well, exercising regularly, sleeping enough, and getting plenty of rest.
These habits will help you deal with stress better and perform your duties more effectively.
What Does a Nurse Do?
Nurses provide health care services to individuals, families, communities, and populations.
They practice medicine under the direction of physicians and may administer medications, give injections, dress wounds, and insert tubes into body cavities.
They may also monitor vital signs, assist in childbirth, and provide emotional support.
Nurses may specialize in certain areas, such as pediatrics, gerontology, mental health, emergency medical services, cancer treatment, and wound care.
In addition, nurses may work in hospitals, clinics, and private offices. See detailed registered nurse job description.
Qualities of a Good Nurse
To become a good nurse, you should possess the following qualities:
A good nurse knows her job inside and out. She understands the latest advances in healthcare and how they apply to patient care.
A good nurse cares about people. She wants them to feel comfortable and safe during their hospitalization.
A good nurse is dedicated to helping people recover from illness or injury.
A good nurse accepts responsibility for her actions. She realizes she cannot always control everything that happens around her.
A good nurse tells the truth even if it hurts someone’s feelings.
The typical registered nurse salary in the United States is $80,010, with a median (50th percentile) pay of $75,330.
As of May 2020, California was the highest-paying state for nurses with RN salaries averaging $120,560 (according to the BLS). Alabama, at $60,230 is $60,330 less than the California average.
Nurse Job Outlook
Registered nurse jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 9% between 2020 and 2030, which is roughly the same as the national average for all occupation.
Over the next decade, an average of 194,500 registered nurse job opportunities is expected.
In this article, we learned about the education and career pathways to becoming a nurse. We also discussed some of the characteristics of a good nurse and various career opportunities available in the nursing profession.
Finally, we took a look at the salary for a registered nurse. Hope this guide helped!