As baby boomers age and the need for healthcare grows, hospitals around the country continue to face a nursing shortage.
That means there’s never been a better time to become a nurse!
Before you embark on this lucrative and rewarding career, there are a few points you should consider. This advice is meant to help you expedite the process of becoming a nurse and ease the transition as you go from nurse-hopeful to actually assisting patients' bedside.
Get into the Mindset of Nursing
Make sure that nursing is the right career choice for you. As a nurse, you are under a lot of pressure to care for your patients in a high-stress environment. That being said, there are few careers as rewarding as nursing. If you commit to helping people, and enjoy interacting with others, you’ll have an easier time managing the long hours and staying calm under pressure. Just be aware of all that goes into the job before you commit to the schooling, licensure exam, and everything else that goes into qualifying as a registered nurse.
Decide Your Educational Path
There are many educational paths to becoming a nurse. Because the demand for nursing is so great, a number of nursing schools have emerged to educate and prepare a new generation of students for a future in nursing.
You might choose an ADN program, which will help you secure an associate’s degree in nursing. Or maybe you’re more geared toward the four-year BSN program, which will yield a bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you already have an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in another field, there are also accelerated programs you can take to obtain your BSN in nursing in record time.
With more hospitals preferring to hire nurses with BSN degrees, it pays to put one of those programs along your educational path. Do your research to find the educational path that best aligns with your nursing career ambitions.
Then there is the master of science in nursing (MSN), which is a higher-level degree. The MSN can be helpful if you hope to grow your career beyond patient care. Many master’s degree programs focus on education, leadership, and the business side of the medical field.
Apply to an Accredited Nursing School
Once you have an educational route in mind, start applying to one or more nursing schools. Your choice of schools will vary depending on your geographical, educational, and financial needs. Look for accredited programs and compare them based on their tuition and fees requirements, as well as the time it takes to graduate.
Fulfill All Nursing School Prerequisites
Getting into nursing school isn’t always very straightforward. Many nursing institutions have prerequisites you must fulfill before you’ll be accepted. These may include a certain school GPA (such as 2.0 or 2.5 and above), a resume, letter of intent, professional letter of recommendation, and transcripts from a previous study program. You may also have to pay an application fee before your bid for nursing school will be accepted.
Graduate from Nursing School! Congrats!
Nursing school is often cited as the hardest thing many nurses have ever done. Nursing school will have you struggling with complex material and the schedule is often relentless. However, though it won’t be easy, eventually you will graduate from the nursing program. This is a time to congratulate yourself. You just accomplished something few other people ever will, and that’s a cause for celebration.
As difficult as nursing school was, you’ll come away from the experience feeling gratified. That’s not to mention all the friends you will undoubtedly make along the way.
Now that you’ve graduated, you’re almost ready to begin working as a nurse.
Apply for Your RN License
Before you can become an RN, you’ll need to apply for your RN license. Many schools will tell you to file your application for a license during your final semester of school. You’ll need to pay fees and fill out some paperwork, and you’ll also need to register for the NCLEX, which is the test you need to pass to receive your nursing license.
Pass the NCLEX
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is put into place by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to determine the competency of nursing school graduates. This computerized test is made mostly of multiple-choice questions and a few multiple response questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and drag-and-drop questions. You must pass this test to receive your license to work as a registered nurse.
Find Your First Nursing Job
With your nursing education and license under your belt, the only step remaining is to find a job. The nursing field is expected to grow by 15% through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s more than double the growth rate for all other jobs. With nursing so popular, you are bound to find a job quickly. You can accelerate your job search by partnering with a healthcare staffing agency such as Prolink.
Apply with Prolink to Fulfill Your Nursing Career Goals!
At Prolink, we can pair you with a nursing recruiter who is motivated to match your job goals with an available position in the field you want. Whether you have an ADN, BSN, or master’s in nursing, we can help you find fast placement at the facility of your choice, anywhere in the country. Get started today by calling (866)777-3704.