What You Should Know Before Pursuing a Career in the Nursing Industry

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Nursing can be a rewarding profession; for those looking for something that requires compassion and willingness to help people, and offers the joys that come with seeing a patient get better, it can seem the perfect gift. Nursing, however, can be a difficult career path.  Those in this field have found it can be much more demanding than anticipated. If you’re considering a career in the nursing industry, consider these facets of the profession first.

The Education Path

There are several paths that lead to RN licensure. For undergraduate studies, there are three main routes to RN licensure. You may choose to attend a hospital-based school of nursing and receive your Diploma in Nursing. Others choose to pursue a two-year Associate Degree in Nursing, which is offered by community colleges and hospital based schools of nursing the prepare you for a defined technical scope of practice.  There are longer, four-year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, which prepares graduates for a full scope of professional nursing practice. If you’re looking for to expedite this type of degree, there are schools that allow for fast-track education programs, like the accelerated nursing programs at Gwynedd Mercy.

There are also graduate routes that advance the expertise of registered nurses, including Master’s Degree programs, Doctor of Philosophy programs, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, all with specific focuses and roles.

Be Prepared for the NCLE

Your bachelor’s degree and experience can definitely get you started on the path towards licensure. But if you don’t pass your NCLE, or National Council Licensure Examination, you cannot become a nurse. The right programs will have you prepared.   But keep in mind that you’ll put in thousands of hours of studying both in school and out. A simple practice test on free exam site 4Tests.com can give you an indication of how in-depth this test is.

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Do You Have the Right Bedside Manner?

Nursing requires a bevy of skills.  You need to be able to comfort patients, provide strength during hard times, and cater your communication style depending on who you’re talking to. You need to be a good listener, as it will provide not only comfort but also give you the opportunity to glean important information about the best routes of care. The best nurses are empathetic and obsessed with the details—this combines for an excellent bedside manner.

Consider the Financial Restraints

Nursing school is not cheap.  You will likely be scrambling to find loans and financial aid to handle all of the costs. The books and literature you’ll be required to purchase in nursing school are expensive. Beyond required books, you’ll also be encouraged to read recommended books. One of the best ways to cut costs on book expenditures is to avoid buying them from your school; use college book websites like Chegg that sell and rent both new and used books for a fraction of the cost.

While expensive, nursing programs can be a solid investment in your future, and there are ways to handle the cost. You may choose to pursue student nursing loans; either federal or private. Federal loans usually provide lower fixed interest rates, but they can be harder to procure than private loans. The downside of private loans are high interest rates and decreased repayment flexibility.

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Beyond scholarships (of which there are many), there are a few popular financial assistance programs for nurses. Loan repayment involves working for a health care facility; as you work, they pay off your nursing school loan in exchange. Grow Your Own nursing programs are created by individual facilities.  And, the one in which you work sends you to school on their dime. Tuition reimbursement involves working for a health care facility who reimburses your tuition costs while you work.

Experience is Key

A nursing degree alone won’t cut it in today’s competitive job market. If you want to be successful in the nursing field, you’ll need to have a bevy of experience. Employers won’t hire someone without plenty of practical experience; get involved with a local healthcare facility as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in nursing, keep these aspects in mind and be sure it’s the right route for your personality and skillset.


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