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How Can I Prepare for a Nursing Career?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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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.


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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

Discussion Comments

By comfyshoes — On Oct 25, 2010

Icecream17-Many hospitals offer nursing career info and many have joint ventures with local community colleges and universities in order to have an incoming pool of registered nurses.

Baptist Health Systems in Miami has partnered with all of the colleges and universities in the area. They offer tuition assistance for the last two years of nursing school and they also offer these candidates an opportunity to do their internship there.

In addition for the tuition assistance the students will be offered a guaranteed job at the hospital as long as the pass all of their training and obtain their nursing license.

The nursing career salary grows over time and many that have a registered nurse career earn $75,000 or more. Those that do contract work can easily earn $45 per hour.

By icecream17 — On Oct 25, 2010

BrickBack-I always thought that having a neonatal nursing career or even a pediatric nursing career would be such a joy.

I really love children and thought this was the perfect career, until I saw it from a nurse’s perspective. Nurses in this field have to deal with children that are diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

This is difficult to deal with when you have adult patients, but I could not imagine dealing with a child in this condition. It is just so sad.

You also spend about twelve hours on your feet, so standing all day can not be a problem. But the plus side of these long shifts is that nurses tend to get many days off. They usually work three twelve hour shifts followed by one four hour shift.

By BrickBack — On Oct 25, 2010

GreenWeaver-A registered nurse career could be a well paying career that has opportunities for advancement as a nursing administrator.

A RN nursing career offers a fast pace environment usually working in a hospital setting. This profession requires a BA degree in registered nursing along with the passage of the nursing boards’ exam in order to obtain a nursing license.

I had a friend who studied to be a registered nurse in Puerto Rico, but when she applied to take her nursing exam in Florida, they would not recognize her degree because it was not from a United States school.

She was able to register for the exam in Colorado and is currently pursing her license there.

By GreenWeaver — On Oct 25, 2010

A career of nursing is a rewarding career but it is not for everyone. It really has to be a calling because nurses face stressful situations and often help patients that may not cooperate with you.

You also have to be compassionate because people in pain that are suffering no doubt act differently than when they are feeling better.

A nurse has to understand these momentary discomforts and do their best to serve their patient.

Sometimes nurses have to interact with the patient’s family so great interpersonal skills are a must for this profession.

It is also important to be able to handle death and terminal illness as a nurse will be confronted with these realities. If you are a person prone to depression, this may not be the field for you.

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a Practical Adult Insights writer, where she focuses on topics...
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