Hi Lucia, my name is YoonJi, and I'm the Partnerships Manager at CareerVillage.org. My sister is a pediatric ICU nurse at a renowned hospital in California. I saw your question and asked her to respond. Here's what she had to say. Best of luck in your career path exploration and journey!
"I took an alternative route in obtaining my BSN. Initially I completed my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and then decided to pursue a degree in nursing. Having my bachelors degree allowed me to apply to an accelerated BSN program. These programs are typically a year and a half to two years in length. The school I attended offered a 13 month program. Due to the nature of completing 2 years of studies into a 13 month program, nursing school was very fast paced, very intense, and was challenging. Although nursing school was challenging I found the 13 months in length to be a great advantage for me to enter the work force faster. Regardless of the program being condensed, nursing school in general is rigorous and very time consuming. Most schools require a minimum percentage of mid to high 80s in all courses to pass. To apply, I finished some required prerequisite courses, wrote an entrance essay, obtained letters of recommendations, and took the GRE which was required for some (not all) programs. After graduating school you will need to take the NCLEX exam to receive your RN license degree. This exam is also difficult and although nursing school does well to prepare you, you will need to study for it once you graduate. Ultimately, I took a unique route, but there are different ways to get a BSN degree. You can apply for a community college to receive an associates degree or apply directly to a four year university after high school and major in nursing. All routes will lead you to a degree but keep in mind some hospitals do not want to hire those with an associates degree in order to maintain the hospital as magnet status. Becoming a nurse definitely takes drive and passion and is truly a very fulfilling career if this is where your heart lies."
yoonji recommends the following next steps:
- If you are in college, research accelerated nursing programs and complete the prerequisite for your desired school.
- Research scholarships for nursing. (For example, you could go to programs that pay for your education if you work for a few years at a specific hospital upon graduation in good standing.
- Look at nursing blogs (allnurses.com) to gather more information
- If you are in high school, start by looking at colleges that offer undergraduate degrees in nursing.
- if you are able to get in contact with a nurse or nurse manager definitely see if you can shadow the nurse to understand work flow etc.