Want to Study Nursing? Here’s What to Expect
If you’re considering becoming a nurse, congratulations! You’re on your way to an extremely rewarding career helping others. But before you get started, it’s important to know what to expect. Here’s a quick overview of the nursing field and what you can expect as a nursing student.
1. Education Requirements:
In order to become a nurse, you must obtain a degree or certification from an accredited nursing program. Most programs require that students complete courses in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, biology, nutrition, and other related topics. Depending on the type of nursing you wish to pursue, you may also need additional coursework or specialization in certain areas. For instance, to become a registered nurse, you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The good news is that you can obtain a distance accelerated BSN online which allows you to complete your degree in as little as 16 months. Also, many nursing programs offer clinical rotations or internships to give students real-world experience.
2. Licensing Requirements
In order to practice as a nurse, you must pass a licensing exam administered by the state in which you will be practicing. This exam tests your knowledge of nursing theory and practice and is usually taken after graduation from an accredited program. As part of the licensing process, you may also need to complete Continuing Education credits in order to maintain your license. For instance, in some states, nurses must complete 30 hours of Continuing Education every two years in order to maintain their licenses.
Funds from a 529 plan can be used to pay for these licensing costs.
3. Job Outlook
The job outlook for nurses is very positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for registered nurses is expected to grow by 12% from 2018-2028, which is faster than average for all occupations. This growth is largely due to advances in healthcare technology, an aging population, and more people having access to health insurance coverage. With a degree in nursing, you can find employment in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.
4. Clinical Experience
In addition to completing coursework, nursing students must also gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations. These are typically offered at local hospitals or other healthcare facilities and allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. During these clinicals, nurses will work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed nurse or doctor to learn vital skills such as taking vital signs, medication administration, and patient care.
5. Licensing Exams
Once you have completed your education and gained enough clinical experience, the next step is to take and pass an exam for licensing. This test is designed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and covers a variety of topics such as patient safety, medication administration, ethics, and more. The exam is usually taken at an approved testing center and consists of both written and practical components. By understanding the education requirements and job outlook for nurses, you can make an informed decision about whether becoming a nurse is right for you.
6. Clinical Practice
Once you’ve completed your coursework and earned your degree or certification, it’s time to move on to clinical practice. During this stage, nurses understand the process of providing patient care by participating in hands-on training with experienced nurses and physicians. You’ll gain both theoretical knowledge and practical skills during this phase, allowing you to become a confident and competent nurse when you enter the workforce.
In order to practice as a nurse, you must obtain licensure from your state’s board of nursing. This process involves taking a test called the NCLEX-RN; passing this exam is the only way to be officially licensed as a registered nurse. Once you pass the exam, you can begin working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. It’s important to remember that all states require nurses to renew their license every few years in order to remain qualified for practice.
8. Career Advancement
The nursing profession offers many opportunities for career advancement. Some nurses may choose to specialize in a certain area such as pediatrics, gerontology, or psychiatry; others may opt to pursue management roles such as nurse supervisor or director of nursing. Nurses can also continue their education by earning higher degrees such as master’s or doctorate degrees in nursing, which can lead to specialized roles like a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. With the right commitment and dedication, nurses can look forward to a lifelong career with plenty of opportunities for growth.
Becoming a nurse is an incredibly rewarding career that requires dedication and hard work. Nursing students must complete coursework, gain clinical experience, take licensing exams, and practice in the field before becoming licensed to provide patient care. Additionally, nurses can look forward to plenty of opportunities for growth and advancement throughout their careers. With all the education requirements and job outlook information available today, there has never been a better time to pursue a degree or certification in nursing!