Nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions, and the demand for healthcare professionals has never been higher. So just how do you prepare for a career you love but that may not be available in your hometown?
The good news is that there are countless nursing opportunities, both in-person and online. The challenge is finding those opportunities without paying through the nose, signing up for a loan, or getting swindled by someone who says they can help prepare you for your future.
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Choosing a Nursing Program
When choosing a nursing program, the first thing to ask is: Is this program accredited? Accreditation or certification is a mark of quality and a sign that your education and the school where you choose to study are serious about their students’ success.
If you attend an accredited Registered Nursing program, there’s no need to worry about whether your credits will transfer to another school.
This means you can switch schools if you attend an online RN program instead of enrolling in a local one, take time off between semesters and still come back later, or pursue a second degree at another accredited school and have your credits transfer easily.
With many courses, you can expand your education further than your first program by doing courses such as the bsn online or the Online RN to BSN program or the Online RN to MSN program.
For those who are thinking of entering the nursing field to make money, there are different fields that you can go into, such as social work, pharmacology, and education.
To get a good job, you have to have skills in these areas because nursing is a very competitive field.
Here are a few tips to know before going into nursing.
1. Get your Essentials – What you need to survive nursing school
The essentials cover everything from your books to your funding to your self-care plans. It’s a fact that nursing schools want to see you are committed ahead of time.
Even if you choose an accredited nursing program, there are many requirements and options out there.
Different resources can help you make a decision as to what you need to further your career.
2. Explore Your Options
If you’re interested in pursuing post-graduate studies, don’t just limit yourself to a nursing program.
Think about the best way to move up in the health care industry and maybe consider the best way to go from one degree to another degree, such as MRes or MSN.
3. Find Help Once You Get There – Talk Therapy & Counseling at Nursing School!
While it may be hard for some, finding help with your mental health and emotional well-being is necessary for some students entering nursing school and beyond.
Mental health is a big topic in both nursing school and in the wider healthcare world, so there are resources available to help you find the help you need.
4. Get a good education – Go to an accredited program that gives you a solid education
Health care is a field that relies heavily on the work of nurses.
As new and exciting technology is developed, many nurses have to keep up with this technology as well as continue to provide patients with the best possible care.
Nursing schools are now requiring students to take classes such as psychology, sociology, and basic biology courses to expand their education and help them to become better and more well-rounded nurses.
5. Take care of yourself – Make your health a priority
Taking care of yourself while in school, whether you’re an online student or in-person, is necessary. While many students choose to go into nursing because they want to help other people, personal aspects still need to be attended to.
One way for nurses to take care of themselves is by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and making sure that they are resting up after a long day at work.
It’s also important for students to keep up with their education, even when it comes to an understanding of their own health.
6. Do what you love but be realistic – Know the difference between a rosy outlook and the cold, hard facts
Nursing is an amazing career that offers flexibility and rewards those who do what they love, but it’s important to be realistic about the nature of nursing and not let the “glow” of this field blind you to what goes into the job.
On the flip side, nurses shouldn’t be scared off from this profession or choose something else just because it’s scary—it’s part of their job to take care of sick people, and if they’ve chosen a nursing degree, it’s because they’re up for that challenge.
7. Aim high – Be ambitious but realistic in your goals
Nursing school is hard work, plain and simple. It takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. But it’s worth it. Nurses come out of school compassionate, patient, and knowledgeable about a wide range of health issues.
Suppose you have a backup plan or are thinking about making the choices in your career that will lead to other options in the future; great! But don’t let that make you lose sight of the opportunities available to you right now.
Visiting with a career advisor before signing up for nursing school can help you make plans and set realistic goals. If you walk into this program thinking it won’t be hard work, no one is going to believe you later when you say that nursing is tough!
8. Get out there
Students often say they wished they had worked harder and feel like they wasted their time in school.
Getting involved in school activities is very important, so when it’s time to look for a job, you can put it on your resume that you were a member of the Student Nurses Organization.
This is a bonus for two reasons, firstly because it will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants, and secondly because going to school can be lonely and stressful if you’re not around others who are going through similar experiences to you.