If you’re a caring person who loves to help others and are looking for an exciting, fast-paced career with plenty of opportunities to progress and grow as you work, you could be the perfect fit for nursing.
And, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, good nurses are in higher demand than ever before as the healthcare industry realizes the huge overhaul that needs to be made for the future in order to avoid a repeat of the situations we saw when COVID-19 began to take hold in states like New York. If you want to become a nurse, there are several options to consider in order to meet your career goals.
Traditional Nursing School
Attending on-campus classes at a traditional nursing school is still the most popular choice for many nursing students. If you have just finished high school and want to attend college, this might be the best option for you. You will usually be expected to study full-time, although there are some part-time programs also available for those who work or have other commitments that might make full-time study difficult. You will be expected to attend lectures and classes on a regular basis, along with undertaking practical work, which is usually in a local clinic or hospital. You can choose to study general nursing or specialize in an area of nursing, like pediatrics or mental health nursing from the start.
Online Nursing Programs
Online nursing programs are gaining more and more popularity these days, particularly amongst people who want to become a nurse and change their career. If you cannot afford to quit your job and attend nursing school, studying online can be one of the best ways to achieve your career goals easily. When you study to become a nurse online, you will have a more flexible experience as online classes tend to be more self-led, and you can usually choose when you would like to study based on your personal schedule. However, bear in mind that there will still be practical work to undertake that you will need to organize your time for.
Accelerated Nursing Programs
If you want to become a nurse quickly and already have some experience or qualifications that are relevant to nursing, an accelerated program such as these accelerated BSN nursing programs from Baylor University might be ideal for you. If you already have a bachelor’s degree that is not in nursing and want to become a nurse, this intensive course allows you to get there without the need to complete another four years of study. You can learn online, making it ideal for those who work or have other commitments, but you will usually be expected to visit the campus at times for some practical clinic work.
Become an LPN
If getting a degree in order to become a registered nurse is not possible for you right now, you may be able to complete a course that allows you to work as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). In order to work as an LPN, you will need to sit and pass the NCEX-PN exam for your state.
Once you have qualified, you can begin working as a nurse right away and consider improving your qualifications to become a registered nurse in the future. Many colleges offer programs that allow licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses in a much shorter amount of time compared to those with no nursing experience, due to the training and on-the-job experience that you will already have.
If you want to become a nurse but prefer to learn in a more hands-on and practical way, a nursing apprenticeship might be the ideal option for you. Nursing apprenticeships are being offered by more and more employers and colleges and allow you to get your nursing qualification while working at the same time. In addition to being an excellent option for those who prefer to learn on the job, many nursing apprenticeships will also pay you for the work that you do, rather than you leaving in thousands of dollars’ worth of college debt – so it’s definitely worth considering if you are concerned about the cost of nursing school.
Further Training and Career Progression
Once you have qualified as a nurse – whichever path you decide to take – and gained some experience, the world really is your oyster in this profession. Nursing is one of the best career options out there for those who want to progress in their careers with a wide range of opportunities to choose from whether you want to do something new or move up the career ladder. As a nurse, you will be able to:
Many nurses choose to specialize in a certain area of healthcare either during their time at nursing school or after working in the profession for some time. Working in the emergency room is a good way to get a wide and varied range of nursing experience and help you decide which area you prefer the most. And there is a wide range of specialist areas to choose from whether you want to work with children, babies, adults, or the elderly.
Become a Nurse Practitioner
After gaining experience as a registered nurse, you might want to consider moving up the career ladder and studying to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners have more responsibility; they can run their own clinics and prescribe medicines in much the same way as a physician. You might work with families, neonates, or the elderly – it’s up to you.
The list really is endless when it comes to what you can do with a nursing degree. If you want to explore, you might become a travel nurse and work in various destinations, or if you want a career in management and leadership, nurse leadership could be for you. Do some research into what’s available for you as a qualified nurse and discover which of them appeal to you the most.
There are several options available to those who want to qualify and work as a nurse. Which is best for you?