If you are considering a nursing career, you should begin preparing for it with a careful assessment of your personality. Nurses frequently deal with people who are struggling with illnesses and health conditions. Often, these people are not at their best, because they are feeling unwell and worried about their health. To have a successful nursing career, you should possess a patient personality, a thick skin, and plenty of compassion. Good communication skills are an absolute must as well.
The educational preparation you’ll need depends on the nursing title you are hoping to attain. If you’d like to begin your nursing career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you’ll need a high school diploma or a General Educational Development diploma (GED). You’ll also need to complete a CNA certificate program. Often, these programs are offered through community colleges, certain medical facilities, and private companies. Students in CNA programs take classes to learn basic skills necessary for a nursing career and participate in hands-on training activities. Students also take classes in anatomy, nutrition, and other related subjects.
If you want to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN), your preparation will be more extensive. You’ll need a high school diploma or a GED, as well as a diploma or degree from a nursing program. For example, to prepare for a nursing career as an LPN, candidates are typically required to complete a one-year nursing program. With this preparation under your belt, you’ll be able to perform more nursing tasks than a CNA, but less that an RN. However, you can use the skills and knowledge you gain as an LPN to help you if you choose to enter an RN program later in your nursing career.
If you choose to begin your nursing career as an RN, you can do so by obtaining an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree. Generally, an associate’s degree program can be completed in two years, while a bachelor’s degree program takes at least four. There are also hospitals that offer three-year nursing programs for those hoping to become registered nurses.
Though the decision to enter a particular nursing program is a personal one, many consider it a good idea to start a nursing career with a bachelor’s degree. This is because many hospitals and other employers offer pay that is based, in part, on the job candidate’s level of education. Also, obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can give you a head start if you choose to obtain further education in order to branch off into a nursing specialty.
In the midst of this, it's key to ponder over the thought of what to do if you hate your job. It's possible that you may step into a nursing role only to realize that it's not what you'd hoped for or expected. It's crucial to remember that it's never too late to pivot your career or enhance your education. Feelings of dissatisfaction can act as catalysts for change. They can prompt you to explore various specializations within nursing, or even consider a career shift outside the medical field. Therefore, continuously reevaluating your job satisfaction is as important as obtaining the initial qualifications for your nursing career.