A career as a nurse can be incredibly rewarding and challenging at the same time.
The field requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills, strong attention to detail, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. You also must be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding.
Many feel that the journey to becoming a nurse is long and difficult, but it can be worth it if you have the qualities necessary to be successful.
There are many different domains and specialties within the field of nursing, such as acute care, pediatrics, geriatrics, public health, and community health. Finding the path that feels right for you can make this career an extremely fulfilling one.
As a nurse, you can play an incredibly important role in the healthcare system. You are often the first point of contact for patients and their families, and it is your responsibility to provide care and support during their time of need.
Today, let’s dive into some of the aspects that you should look into before you consider applying for a nursing program.
1. Research and Understand the Different Types of Nursing Careers
Research is crucial to understanding the different types of nursing care careers. Without proper research, one might find themselves overwhelmed or even in the wrong nursing specialty altogether.
When researching careers, try to look at a variety of different sources. This allows you to get an accurate picture of the various careers, their pros and cons, the education required, and the types of salaries available.
Also, ensure you look into each specialty’s potential for growth and advancement.
It can be tough to know how to succeed in nursing school if you are just starting out. But there are, thankfully, a lot of resources available. According to the U.S. bureau of labor statistics, there are about 3 million nurses, which means nurses outnumber physicians and surgeons (who only make up about 761,700) by a significant margin.
Despite their numbers, salaries for nurses can be above average, with the average annual wage being $77,600. Some nurses, depending on their level of experience and specialty, can easily make about $120,250 a year.
Nursing can, thus, be quite a competitive field and has a reputation for being a pretty stressful role. Good universities often help inoculate nursing students by preparing them for the hectic life that awaits them.
2. Meet Educational and Training Requirements
Before you can become a nurse, you will need to meet certain educational and training requirements.
The first step in this process is to earn a nursing degree, which can be either an ADN (A two-year “Associate degree in nursing”) or a BSN (A 4-year “Bachelor of Science in Nursing”)
Both types of degrees will prepare you to become a registered nurse (RN).
You will also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to become a licensed RN.
The NCLEX is a standardized test that is designed to assess your knowledge and skills related to nursing practice and is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCLEX is required in all states in order to practice as a registered nurse.
3. Gain Hands-On Experience Through Clinicals and Internships
After completing your nursing education and passing the NCLEX, the next step in your journey is to gain hands-on experience through “Clinicals” and Internships.
Clinicals are supervised, hands-on training experiences that take place in real-world healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. During these clinicals, you will work alongside licensed nurses and other healthcare professionals, providing care to patients under the supervision of an experienced mentor.
Internships are similar to clinicals, but they are usually more structured and offer a broader range of experiences. These internships are typically offered by healthcare institutions, and the duration can vary, ranging from a few weeks to several months.
Both clinicals and internships give you the opportunity to gain experience in different areas, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, and mental health. Such hands-on experience is invaluable in helping you become a confident and skilled nurse.
These experiences also aid in developing your clinical judgment and critical thinking skills, as well as giving you a better understanding of the day-to-day realities of working in the healthcare field.
Clinicals and internships are fantastic opportunities to make connections and network with other healthcare professionals, which can be very helpful as you continue to advance your career.
The journey to becoming a nurse involves several steps, including researching and understanding the different types of nursing careers, meeting educational and training requirements, gaining hands-on experience through clinicals and internships, and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
Each of these steps is essential in preparing you to become a licensed and qualified registered nurse. This field, like every other, has its share of challenges, and many nurses these days engage in unconventional means to gain more influence and supplement their income.
Going viral on Tiktok or Instagram seems like it can only be a clout thing, but it often opens up significant streams of income through sponsorships and product placements.
Those who take advantage of technology and social media seem to reap such benefits, but by and large, becoming a nurse is not an easy role. Continuously developing your skills and advancing your career while also taking steps to avoid burnout and fatigue is essential.
The journey to becoming a nurse will require time, effort, and determination, but the end result is a career that is both meaningful and rewarding.