What Everybody Ought to Know About Nurses?
Nurses are responsible for a wide variety of tasks in the medical field. Some of the most common job duties of a nurse include:
- Administering medications
- Checking vital signs
- Working closely with doctors in exams, surgeries, etc.
- Recording patient symptoms, medical histories, and more
- Cleaning bed bans and helping patients to the restroom
- Performing sponge baths
- Monitoring a patient’s medical condition
- Answering questions about a patient’s condition
- Comforting families in times of trauma
- Changing bed sheets and clothes
- Making patients feel comfortable, even in scary situations
As you can see, a nurse has to act as a counselor, a medical adviser, a supervisor, and a record keeper all at the same time. If you can multi-task and still keep a smile on your face, you could do well in this profession.
How to Become a Nurse
If you want to become a nurse, you will need to get an education. You may be able to work as a medical assistant with little training, but most employers will want to see that you have already gone through school. You will need to choose a degree program that fits your desired nursing job. Then all you have to do is pay attention in your classes.
After you get out of school, you will need to take an exam through your state to earn your nursing license. This is much like any other professional license in the sense that it proves what your skills are as a nurse. The tests for nursing licenses vary by state, so you will need to contact your state board of nursing to learn exactly what to expect in your exam.
Beyond your nursing license, you can also take exams for specific skills as a nurse. This will help you earn certifications, like a CPR certification or a mental health nurse practitioner certification. There are dozens of certifications that you might earn based on the sector of nursing you work in. Those that best fit your career will improve your chances of finding a job.
Typical Nursing Degrees and Timeframes
There are several levels of nursing degrees that you can decide to get into. The longer these degrees take, the more money you are likely to earn. Most people aiming to work as registered nurses will pursue an associate’s degree or bachelor’s. Those wanting to become a nurse practitioner will work toward a master’s degree or doctorate, depending on what is required for their state. Here is an overview of the most common nursing degrees available, along with an approximate timeframe for completion:
- Diploma of Nursing (DN): 1 year
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN): 2 years
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): 4 years
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): 6 years
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): 8+ years
Common Classes for Nursing Schools
Every nursing degree is a little different when it comes to the classes you have to take. For instance, a doctorate in nursing will obviously require a more specialized set of classes than a basic diploma would. Some common subjects you may come across in your training include:
- Medical Terminology
- Health Sciences
The longer you spend in school, the more specialized these classes may become. They should all work together to give you the skills you need to start working.
Popular Nursing Jobs
There are so many nursing jobs to choose from that you may find yourself wondering which one is right for you. Some nurses start off with a generic degree so they can explore different sectors of the medical field. Once they narrow down which one they like the best, they go back to school to specialize in it. Some of the most popular nursing jobs in the modern world include:
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Educator
- Nursing Assistant
- Home Health Aide
Think about what you want to do as a nurse and find a career that best suits those goals. If you decide to do something else in the future, there are a number of nursing schools around to help you do that.
Average Salaries for Nurses
There is a big difference in pay rates between entry level nursing jobs and upper level nursing jobs. If you are willing to put in the work to earn a master’s or doctorate, you could earn three times as much as you would with an associate’s degree. Here are some average nursing salaries to consider, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Nursing Assistant: $26,020 per year
- Licensed Practical Nurse: $42,910 per year
- Registered Nurse: $68,910 per year
- Nurse Practitioner: $95,070 per year
Note that you can work as an entry-level nurse while you go through school, if you want job experience and a chance at better pay. You may simply need to explore nursing schools online to find a program that can work around your busy schedule.
Would You Make a Good Nurse?
Almost anyone can find work as a nurse, but it takes a special type of person to do particularly well in this career. Qualities of a good nurse include:
- The ability to multi-task
- The composure to respond calmly in emergencies
- The mindset to learn a new skill quickly
- The ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments
- The passion to help others in need
- The compassion to comfort families and patients alike
- The stomach to get through the not-so-clean side of the medical field
- The drive to work no matter what life is like in the outside world
- The commitment to focus on an education early on
If those qualities describe who you are as a person, you could make a great nurse. All you have to do is make it through college, and you could be on your way to work in no time.
Here’s a quick way to Find the Best Nursing Schools
With the number of nursing schools to choose from these days, you may have a hard time finding the perfect one for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of nurse do I want to be when I graduate?
- What kind of degree do I need to become the nurse I want to be?
- Does my school of choice offer the degree I need?
- Is the degree program accredited?
- Does the school have classes online or on campus?
- How much money will I need in financial aid to complete my degree at this school?
- Will this school help me find work after college?
- If I change my mind about nursing, are there other degrees here I can see myself getting?
The answers to those questions will ultimately decide your fate as a nurse. Figure out what you want out of this career, and then find a college that will help you get that. We are here to help you every step of the way.