Most of us have been ill and sometimes admitted to the hospital for extensive care in case of complications. While one can have appointments, the person with whom a patient interacts the most at the hospital is a nurse. A nurse is not only taking care of the patients but also checks up on them periodically to make sure that everything is going smoothly. With nursing, you can not only pursue a financially beneficial career but also fulfill your desire to give back to society by caring for people. It is an immensely gratifying experience to see the smile on someone’s face after you have done something for them. By choosing a career in nursing, you can do this almost your entire life until you retire. But a question arises here, how can one pursue a career in nursing? Unlike a medical degree, a career in nursing is not talked about more often and hence people have very limited knowledge about it. But you are at the right place to get all the necessary information you need to get you started.
You can become a nurse by pursuing a range of diplomas and degrees to have several levels of occupation even inside the nursing field. From a basic diploma to advanced degrees like post masters DNP, you have a variety of educational options you can choose from as you progress in this career. So, where to get started? Well, keep reading this article to find out.
Where to get started?
Where you start in this career depends a lot on the level of your current education. At a very basic level, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) by acquiring a high school diploma in nursing. It is either a one-year diploma or a two years associate degree in nursing (AND) to get you started at the bottom of a nursing career. With this diploma, not only will you be eligible to apply for nursing jobs, but you will also have a fundamental understanding of this job. According to the government statistics, the average pay for LPN is $46,000 per annum and this career has a huge demand. However, if you have already acquired a high school degree, this diploma might be below your capabilities and hence you should look for other options as we will discuss here.
If you want to become a registered nurse, you would have to acquire higher educational qualifications than LPN. Sometimes, entry-level registered nurse positions can be achieved with an associate degree discussed above, but many nurses prefer a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BDN) not only offers good pay but also better prospects than LPN and associate degree. Like every other field, experience matters the most in nursing too, so, the more you progress, the more responsibilities and financial benefits you would get in this field. Those nurses with a bachelor’s degree earn a lot more than those without this degree do.
Like every other career choice, if you want to progress further after reaching a threshold of experience in nursing, you would go for a master’s degree. Many nurses aspire to get administration roles after serving for a while in the clinical role and this is where a master’s degree in nursing (MDN) can help them. Since it requires some managerial skills too, a degree of management can help a great deal in advancing in this career if there is competition. To go a step further, a nurse can also opt for Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) as we have already discussed above. This is the pinnacle of a nursing career in which the person pursuing it become an expert. DNP not only develops the expertise in nursing but also gives important leadership knowledge so they can lead the entire industry from the front. A DNP qualified person can either become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or get an organizational role in the administration. Either way, such a person is among the most qualified people in the nursing vocation and help in bridging the gap between the policymakers and the nurses. Furthermore, nurses with an advanced degree can also join academia to help educate future nurses.
What we have discussed so far is about the general nurses. As we already know that a hospital has several types of departments ranging from gastroenterology to pulmonology and oncology. The nurses working in either of these departments require a different set of skill and a general nursing degree cannot be very fruitful. As in the case of doctors, the nurses working with them also need to go through some steps of specialization so they can assist better. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) are usually the ones who have a specialized degree and the needed clinical experience to cater to specialized requirements.
You would think that after acquiring the requisite education you would be allowed to practice as a nurse. Well, you are almost there as after the diploma or a degree you are required to take a licensing test. This way the government can find out whether you are capable enough to work in a healthcare system. This is necessary because many times, the nurses have to deal with critical patients hanging on the thread of life and death. Without determining the eligibility of the nurses, these patients can be put into the severe risk of getting mishandled by a novice.
Nursing is a very noble profession and people who are empathetic and want to help others in several ways are best suited for it. The above discussion laid out the basic guidelines for opting for this career and the things you should expect with it. Nurses have several obligations like communication with patients, recording medical history, patient care, operating equipment, assisting the doctors and patient advocacy. So, if you think you are up for the task of getting the satisfaction of helping people in society, nursing is the way to go for you.