If you have no idea what you want to do, but are pretty sure you want to be in the medical field, becoming a registered nurse (RN) might be the right path for you.
With the healthcare industry constantly in flux, there is always a need for qualified registered nurses. You will be offering care directly to patients, while working alongside nurse practitioners and doctors.
Is Becoming an APRN the Right Move For You?
There are many different types of nursing degrees, and many different types of nurses in the medical field. One highly sought after nursing position is that of an APRN, or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse.
An APRN is a trained and licensed professionals who work with other professionals. It also houses other types of nurses, such as FNPs (family nurse practitioners), under its umbrella.
APRNs enjoy the added benefit of being able to work with doctors and sometimes even having their own practice (those minute-clinics we’ve all had to visit from time to time are often run by APRNs).
A nurse becomes an APRN by obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing Degree from an accredited university.
Once you’ve obtained your degree and become a licensed nurse practitioner, the doors to various rewarding nursing careers are open to you. Everything from a nursing midwife, to a nursing anesthetist, jobs in nursing education, executive nursing jobs, the aforementioned private practice, and more.
APRNs are paid competitive wages and enjoy extensive benefits, and yet, obtaining a medical science in nursing degree is a great deal less expensive than going to medical school.
This is one reason that many prospective students who are interested in health and saving lives go into nursing rather than becoming doctors. They also find that there are extensive jobs available to them in multiple different fields, with ample possibilities for growth and change.
However, as with any health-related career, there are some restrictions imposed on the types of medical care nurse practitioners can provide in certain states.
You’ll want to brush up on the laws and mandates in your individual state to understand the regulations and determine what those are, before embarking on a career choice.
Becoming an APRN is not only a lucrative idea for yourself, but it will be of tremendous help to others.
Licensed nurse practitioners often provide care to those who cannot afford to visit a General Practitioner, due to being uninsured or underinsured, and help patients avoid visits to the ER or other stressful situations.
Many of them run low-cost or sliding scale clinics of their own or give back to the community by working at local health departments.
They’re often the first point of contact for a scared injured or ill patient, providing calm, supportive care.
APRNs also enjoy more autonomy and responsibility than their counterparts. You won’t be working in reception at someone else’s practice or answering to a doctor before making a capable decision. It is a rewarding and well-respected career.
It is also a challenging profession, one that is exciting and full of opportunities for learning and growth. You’ll literally be saving lives!
If you’ve always wanted to go into nursing, but dream of owning your own practice or working on your own terms, becoming an APRN, or licensed nurse practitioner, might just be the perfect career for you. These days, you can even obtain your Medical Science in Nursing Degree online, so there’s no reason not to get started on your dream today!
Here’s a step-by-step process that you can follow to get you through.
1. Get an Education.
Obviously, the first step to becoming a registered nurse is to go through nursing school, which oftentimes you can apply for right out of high school.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can look into accelerated programs that shoot straight into being a nurse practitioner (which is like the middleman between being a registered nurse and a doctor).
Check out the RN school at GMercyU for a good idea of what you can expect and how to achieve your goals.
2. Choose Your Path.
Once you decide that this is the career path you want, you have to decide how far you actually want to go in terms of schooling.
You can go for an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), both of which offer fantastic career opportunities despite their difference.
If you choose to get an Associate Degree in Nursing, you can expect to be in school for two years, which means that you can jump into a job much quicker than if you go after a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
That said, if you ever plan on advancing in your career, you will probably eventually have to go back for a BSN, which takes an additional two years, so you almost may as well get everything done at once.
3. Become a Graduate.
Easier said than done, we know. Nursing school can be incredibly difficult and life as a student is stressful.
While in school, you will essentially be walking through exactly what it will be like once you are in the workforce, so you can expect to be practicing everything from collecting a patient’s medical history to using syringes (don’t worry, you start out on silicon bags and rubber dolls before moving onto actual people).
You will be moving seamlessly from classroom settings with written tests to working in labs to eventually getting to clinical internships.
By the time to you get to the internship phase, you will be fully prepared for real on-the-job work.
But you’re not done yet! All of the schooling and on-the-job learning is meant to prepare you for the next step.
4. Ace the NCLEX-RN Exam.
Okay, so you passed your classes with flying colors, nailed your internship hours and walked away with either an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
All done, right? Nope.
Hate to break it to you, but now you have to ace the NCLEX-RN exam, which is the last hoop that everyone has to jump through in order to actually get a job as a registered nurse. It can be challenging, so you may want to consider choosing an NCLEX prep course to help you along the way.
Before you can take it, you have to apply to your state board for permission. Once they give the thumbs up, you can schedule it yourself.
State rules differ, but some allow you to apply to take it before you even graduate, but you still won’t be able to take it until you’ve finished school. Some states may let you start working with a temporary permit while you are waiting to take the test.
As daunting as the actual exam is (there may be 250 questions, ranging from detailed nursing questions to exercises meant to gauge your critical thinking skills), there are plenty of tools to help you get through it.
A quick search on the internet will reveal plenty of practice tests and study tools, so you can prepare yourself.
Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time prior to testing day to fully prepare, because although last minute study sessions may have pulled you through a few tests in nursing school, they won’t help you with the NCLEX-RN exam.
After all, this is the last hurdle, so why take the risk of blowing it?