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How is the whole process of becoming a nurse like ?

I'm a senior in high school about to graduate and go to college. I've been interested in joining my colleges RN program and I'm not sure what to expect in this field and I would like to hear someone's perspective that works in the nursing field.

Thank you comment icon Great job, you're definitely headed in the right direction! Nurses are in high demand all around the world, and a skilled nurse like you will be sought after not only in the US, but also in the Gulf regions. Plus, you can earn a pretty penny in some places! Just make sure to expand your knowledge beyond your studies, especially when it comes to key medical information and terms. This way, in the future, doctors will be lining up to work with you because you'll be able to quickly understand them and respond with top-notch professionalism. Reham Mohamed

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Subject: Career question for you

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Jordan’s Answer

Hello Melissa,

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

Have you considered volunteering or shadowing a healthcare professional in your preferred setting? I would highly recommend anyone considering a healthcare profession to do so, if given the chance.

Healthcare is a special field. I like to call working in healthcare a full spectrum emotional experience. You will have some of the best experiences of your life and some of the worst. I have worked in healthcare for over a decade now. I have experienced the spectrum of emotion. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

I am not a nurse. I started taking pre-requisite courses for nursing school; however, decided to go into respiratory therapy. I have worked primarily in critical care and ER with a short stent in outpatient cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. I started as a certified respiratory therapist. Once I started working with my first hospital I studied and passed my registry (RT), went on to get additional credentials, a bachelor's in healthcare business administration, and a master's in health leadership. I now take travel contracts, learning differences in healthcare around the country. I hope to be a part of advancing healthcare quality and innovation to improved the patient and provider experience. I will spend a lifetime learning and working toward a better healthcare system.

Once you start taking college courses, you have time to decide what area of healthcare you would like to go into. The pre-requisite courses are the same for several disciplines. Again, volunteering or finding a way to experience the healthcare setting is beneficial for confirming the route you want to take. You have many options. Registered nurse, nursing assistant (CNA, LVN), paramedic, EMT, social worker, respiratory therapy, radiology, phlebotomy, lab, health IT, administration, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, and physician are all some of the options available to you.

I will tell you that nursing allows a very wide range of work settings. As a respiratory therapist most of my options are in a hospital setting; however, as a nurse you can work in offices, surgical centers, schools, research, work remotely, provide consultation for insurers and lawyers, etc.. I think you have made a wise choice in choosing to becoming an RN.

Whatever you decide to do, know that once you start working in a hospital there are often options for tuition reimbursement. If you are looking for financial assistance, start working as soon as possible. The hospital often does not pay all of your school costs, but can pay a significant portion. Most hospitals require a two year commitment post graduation for tuition reimbursement.

The field has changed a great deal since I started in 2010. Be prepared for a very fast paced environment in most hospital and office settings. Learning continues throughout a healthcare career. It is impossible to know it all. Healthcare requires a team approach. It is easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning. Do your best and don't be afraid to ask for help. Find preceptors and peers that are willing to answer questions without judgement. There is no shame in speaking up when you are unsure. I still get nervous and run into things I don't know fourteen years in. Some situations you only encounter a handful of times throughout a career. Be honest and always put the best interest of your patient before your ego.

Quality patient care is always a priority, but please remember caring for yourself is a priority too. It is a rewarding field, but it does require a lot from us as human beings. Learn when to say no to the extra shift. Learn when to speak up when the work loads are too high. Create a good home routine. Eat well, exercise, and create a regular sleep schedule. Create a self care ritual. I cannot stress enough how important this is.

I wish you the best. I'm thrilled that you are considering a healthcare career. We need dedicated professionals!
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Nancie’s Answer

It is a lot of work and classes on everything from anatomy to physiology, English, chemistry and Math.
You must get prerequisite done first and then get accepted to a nursing school. Lots of competition too.
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Madi’s Answer

Hi Melissa -

Becoming a nurse is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice and a lot depends on the type of nurse, location, etc. Here's an overview of the process and what you can expect:

Education: To become a registered nurse (RN), you'll need to complete a nursing program. This can be a diploma program, an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. The duration of these programs can vary, with diploma programs typically taking 2-3 years, ADN programs taking 2-3 years, and BSN programs taking 4 years.

Licensure: After completing your nursing program, you'll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed RN. The exam tests your knowledge and competency in various areas of nursing practice.

Specializations: Nursing offers a wide range of specializations and career paths. Some common specializations include pediatric nursing, critical care nursing, psychiatric nursing, and geriatric nursing. You can choose to pursue additional education or certifications to specialize in a specific area of interest.

Clinical Experience: Throughout your nursing program, you'll gain hands-on clinical experience in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. This experience allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge, develop practical skills, and gain exposure to different patient populations.

Continuing Education: Nursing is a lifelong learning profession. After becoming an RN, you'll have opportunities for continuing education to stay updated with advancements in healthcare, expand your knowledge, and enhance your skills. This can include pursuing advanced degrees, attending workshops, or obtaining certifications in specialized areas.

Work Environment: Nurses work in diverse healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools, and community health centers. The work environment can be fast-paced, demanding, and emotionally challenging at times. However, it also offers opportunities for personal growth, making a positive impact on patients' lives, and working as part of a healthcare team.

Skills and Qualities: Nursing requires a combination of technical skills, critical thinking, and interpersonal abilities. Strong communication skills, empathy, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure are essential. Nurses also need to be adaptable, compassionate, and have a genuine desire to help others.

Career Opportunities: Nursing offers a wide range of career opportunities and job prospects. Nurses can work in various specialties, advance to leadership positions, pursue advanced practice roles (such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist), or even engage in research or teaching.

It's important to note that the nursing profession can be physically and emotionally demanding. However, it is also incredibly rewarding, as you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of patients and their families.

If you're interested in pursuing a career in nursing, I encourage you to research specific nursing programs, speak with current nursing students or professionals, and consider shadowing or volunteering in healthcare settings to gain firsthand experience. This will help you make an informed decision and prepare for the exciting journey ahead. Good luck with your college journey and future nursing career!


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