Nurses are professionals that are always in high demand. Whether they are needed to provide direct care to patients, advocate for patients, or work in advanced practice, management, admin, and research positions, healthcare industries around the world always require good nurses to provide the best standards of care to their patients. When you train to become a nurse, you will find that the correct education to work in this role is absolutely necessary. Whether your main goal is to become a registered nurse, or you are interested in eventually working in more advanced nursing career paths such as administration, nurse practitioner, nurse management, nurse midwifery, or something else, you need to get an accredited nursing degree qualification to get your nursing license and get your career started. If you are interested in this role where you can care for others and make a difference, here’s what you need to know about getting into nursing.
Choose a Nursing Path
A career in nursing can take you in many different directions. There are lots of options to move up the career ladder as you gain experience and get more advanced nursing qualifications or you may want to take advantage of the countless options to move into specialty nursing areas such as nurse midwifery, where you can work with mothers and babies. Online midwifery programs from Baylor University are designed to help you get into this career. When deciding on the right nursing path for you, consider the type of work you want to do, the kind of settings that you are most interested in working in, and the type of patients that you would like to work with. Since healthcare is made up of many different areas, nurses have the option to focus their work on a certain area of healthcare such as pediatrics or critical care nursing, for example. Consider what you are most interested in and if there are any particular areas of nursing that you are more drawn to working in than others.
Get a Nursing Degree
To get started in a nursing career you will usually be required to hold a degree in nursing. The quickest entry into a career as a registered nurse is to get an associate’s degree in nursing. This is usually a shorter program compared to a BSN. However, there are some drawbacks to consider including the fact that most advanced nursing degree programs require you to have gained a minimum of a BSN so you may find that it is a problem if you want to advance in your career in the future. Along with this, studies have found that more BSN-trained nurses can have a significantly positive impact on patient outcomes, which has led to more employers actively seeking nurses with a BSN and making it harder for nurses with an associate’s degree to find work.
If you can afford to do so, starting your nursing career with a BSN is certainly a better option as this will help you future-proof your career. New York State is already leading the way with the BSN-in-10 rule that requires all nurses without a BSN to get one within ten years of starting in the profession and other states are set to follow suit. Eventually, it’s likely that the ADN is going to be phased out and employers will require a bachelor’s degree for nurses, like in many other countries around the world.
If you prefer you, can choose to get your BSN online. This can be an ideal option for people who want to change their career to nursing but need to continue working full-time while studying. An online BSN will still involve exams and practical placements that you’ll need to make sure that you are available for, but the day-to-day classroom learning can be done in the comfort of your own home. An accelerated BSN is another option to consider for people who have already gained a degree in another subject. Taking your previous degree into account, this program allows you to complete your BSN in just two years rather than four.
Get a Nursing License
Once you have gained either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, you will then need to take an exam to get a license to legally practice as a nurse in your state. This exam is known as the NCLEX and a pass is required for you to get your license. If you fail, you will be required to take the exam again. Additional licensing exams may be required throughout your nursing career if you are interested in moving into different nursing positions such as advanced practice nursing, nurse midwifery, or nurse education, for example, all of which have separate examination and licensing procedures.
Continuing Your Education
Once you have a BSN, you will have the minimum educational requirement that is often needed to get onto advanced nursing degree programs such as a master’s of science in nursing or family nurse practitioner training programs. Along with this, you might find that to specialize in certain areas of nursing, such as becoming a surgical nurse, oncology nurse, or a nurse anesthetist, you will need to have a BSN to get the relevant certification.
Trauma and acute care nurses are also usually required to have gained a BSN to get the certification needed to work in this area of healthcare. You can sometimes begin advancing your nursing education right away after graduating with a BSN, but it is a good idea to get some experience as a registered nurse first. This is because many specialist nursing certification programs and advanced degree programs require applicants to have a certain number of years experience in nursing before they will be accepted. And even if you are able to find a program that will take you on with little to no nursing experience, this can get in the way of you finding an advanced nursing career in the future unless you are planning to gain your experience by working full-time as a nurse while studying online.
If you want a rewarding career where you can make a difference in the world, follow these steps to get into nursing.