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Last Updated on May 15, 2020
Nursing is a very rewarding career, and you don’t need to work endless hours at a hospital either. You can work in clinics, in universities, schools, even in research tanks. The possibilities are endless when you are a nurse, especially if you go through the effort of becoming an advanced registered practice nurse and gain a specialization.
Nursing, of course, seems like a difficult field to get involved in. Doctors have almost a decade of education before they are allowed to do their job, but thankfully that isn’t the case with nurses. There are many avenues for you to become a nurse, so follow these top seven tips to help you enter your dream career.
- Volunteer First
Nursing is not for everyone, so the first thing you need to do if you believe it is the right job for you is to volunteer. This can be done when you are a teenager all the way up to any point in your life. You won’t be doing anything you will need a state license for, but you will get a feel for nursing life, what they do, and, more importantly, if it is right for you.
If you love it, then you can move on to pursue a career in nursing.
To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do in spite of all we go through; that is to be a NURSE.
– Rawsi Williams
- Start Researching Nursing
Once you know for certain that nursing and all it entails is right for you, then you owe it to yourself to do some research. There is more than one way to become a nurse. You can enter the industry quickly by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, which only takes a few weeks of learning and then an exam.
You can also bypass a lot of those early years by directly obtaining a BSN.
You need to know what your options are so that you can plan out the best route for your career.
- Determine What You Need to Qualify
There are multiple ways to qualify as a nurse, and though it will depend on what you need and want from your career, one of the best ways is to go through formal education. By working towards a BSN instead of going the other route, you keep your career open to later completing a Master’s in Nursing and furthering your career that way.
That being said, not many can just apply for a BSN. Even accelerated programs have course prerequisites that you have hopefully already completed in your foundational year, such as your own bachelor’s. You will also need to take the HESI exam beforehand to apply.
Knowing these requirements can help you better strategize what to do next. If you need help, however, just get in touch with the admissions department to learn what you can do if you don’t have everything they need.
- Find the Right Course or Degree
There are many nursing degrees and courses out there to help interested people become a nurse at any level. For the lower certifications, like becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant or Licensed Practical Nurse, your focus will likely be on what is closest to you.
For your BSN, however, you will want your degree from a top institution, and one that helps you achieve your goal the way you want to. Some degrees are designed for working professionals. Others are full-time online accelerated BSN programs for non nurses. Courses such as this will take 62 hours to complete and require you to have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline.
- Improve Your Study Habits to Learn Better
We all have unique ways in which we learn. By understanding how you learn best, you can devise the right study habits that will help you see more impact with less effort.
Not everyone does well with revision. Others need to build stories around facts in order to ground the information in their long term memory.
Though how you learn immediately during a lecture or when you read an article will remain relatively the same, what you do after is entirely up to you.
- If you learn best by reading, then typing up notes and reading them through a few times again and again will be enough.
- If you learn best by doing, then try handwriting notes for the theoretical work and try to connect what you learn with a physical action as soon as you can.
- If you learn best by listening, use voice notes to create audio transcripts so you can listen on the go and combine studying with a variety of other activities.
- Care for Your Mental Health and Wellbeing
Just like studying how we each care for our health and wellbeing is going to be unique to us. By finding out the best ways to manage stress now, you can better compartmentalize and deal with the stresses that come with being a nurse later.
It is important to note when caring for your mental health that therapy is not a last resort option. Many find it useful to try out different strategies first, but even then, there is no issue if you want to find a therapist to help you develop coping strategies as one of the first steps you take.
The skills you learn now are going to be critical. Nursing is a demanding job. At the end of the day, you will be working with the sick, the injured, and the dying. That can and does take its toll on your mental health.
By working out strategies to help maintain a healthy mind while dealing with studying stress, you can have the building blocks necessary to thrive in a career like nursing.
- Find The Area of Medicine You are Most Passionate About
Every nurse has the opportunity to advance their career further into a specialization. If you don’t know what that specialization is yet then you have a few options:
- Try to shadow or volunteer in different departments
- Read up on different areas of medicine
By finding what you are most passionate about, you can keep your ambition and motivation beyond just completing your BSN. It can take a long time to reach that goal, but it is how you can do what you love and get paid well for it.