Nursing Career Information
If you want to be a nurse, you need to have good study habits as well as excellent critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is so that when push comes to shove, you will be able to help the patient.
Those who want to become nurses should first have a high school diploma. If the grades, your SAT’s and NLN pre-admission exam is okay, you can choose what type of training program you want to pursue as this will prepare you for the role you will play after you graduate.
There are three programs available.
The first is called a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN. This is a 4 year program that and this is offered at most colleges and universities.
The second is the Associate Degree in Nursing or AND. This can be completed in two years and is offered in community and junior colleges.
The third is called a Hospital Diploma which lasts about 2 to 3 years. This program is usually affiliated with junior colleges.
Given that nursing is such a diverse field, there are more than 1,500 nursing programs which you can choose from here in the US with some that can be completed by studying online.
The cost of tuition varies depending if one you are going to is a private or public college. For those who can’t afford it, they can apply for financial aid or see if they can obtain a scholarship. Your guidance counselor should be able to help you and if not, you should check if the school you are applying to gives out financial aid or scholarship to qualified applicants.
Tuition varies widely depending on whether you attend a private or public college and whether you are a resident or non-resident of the state. Financial aid is available from numerous sources, as are scholarships. Check with your guidance counselor to determine which sources are right for you, and visit the Financial Aid/Scholarship section of this site.
Nurses can only work after they obtain their license. The basic one is called the LCN or licensed practical nurse that can only be obtained after you pass the state administered exam known as the National Council licensure Examination for Practical Nurses or NCLEX-PN.
For those who are aiming for an RN or registered nursing license, you have to take the NCLEX-RN. This exam is also taken by those who are working towards a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Once you get your license, you may soon find work in patient care units at the bedside, in operating rooms, emergency rooms, X-ray units, intensive care units, surgery centers, pediatrics, hospital nurseries, the records department, the laboratory or assigned to an ambulance or helicopter wing.
Just to give you an idea, an entry level nurse earns an average of about $45,000 which is much more than what professionals in other fields receive straight out of college. This figure could almost double or even tripe when you specialize and have gained years of experience.
You should be prepared to work flexible hours because you will be required sometimes to work the dayshift or the nightshift. This may last between 8 to 12 hours long including holidays and weekends. Some will have to work 36 hours or 40 hours in 4 days then have the next 3 to 4 days off as someone else will take your place.