While the need for qualified nurses has always been a factor in the healthcare industry, the demand is greater now than in the past decade. Who will make the Nursing Choice?
Nursing is today a very bright career option given its wide application and multifaceted nature. Though nursing has always been to support health needs of the people, but being an inseparable part of doctor-patient relationship, it has undergone many alterations effected by the changing needs of the people and the society at large. Today nursing has assumed a colossal role, encompassing all aspects of healthcare provided to the society. The testimony to its value lies in the fact that nursing makes the largest component of healthcare profession with about 2.6 million registered nurses (RNs) in US. So then what does a nurse do? By tradition, a nurse's unique function in health care is to assist the patient in regaining his or her normal health and activities within a reasonably short period of time. In other words, nursing caters to that function where a patient is helped to perform routine activities, which she or he would be in a position to do without aid under normal health conditions. Nursing differs from practicing medicine in that it aids in easing problems arising out of ailment rather than diagnosing and treatment of illness as is the case with medicine.
While this has been the traditional view, nursing today belongs to a wide gamut of healthcare activities. Thus, apart from catering to patients' well-being in hospitals, community health clinics, nursing homes, long-term care centers and home-care agencies, nursing is also a sought-after profession as teachers in nursing schools, as research scholars engaged or helping in research activities, as hospital regulators, as professionals in insurance and healthcare companies, and above all as administrators in nursing related entities.
Even as nursing career has diversified into many disciplines, the principal requirement of nurses remains in hospitals and different healthcare centers. However, many nurses prefer to function independently as nurse practitioners, certified midwives, specialist nurses for clinics, certified nurses for anesthetists and so on. Many of these specialized jobs call for nursing education up to master's level after having served as registered nurses that require bachelor's degree.
Let us now look at what a student needs to know in order to become a practitioner in nursing.
You need to be a student of Science in high school with chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, algebra, English, and preferably computer application. In order to enroll into a nursing school, you may need to take NLN Pre-Admission Examination in addition to other tests, such as SATs. It is always a good idea to seek admission in state-approved accredited nursing schools. For good career prospects, studying 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is preferable. Other common courses are 2-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program and 2 to 3-year Hospital Diploma in Nursing. A BSN degree will pave the way to study masters course in nursing, if later you so desire.
NCLEX Licensure Examinations
Assuming that you have already earned your bachelor degree in nursing, it is now time for you to pass one of the two licensure examinations conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The examinations are meant to test your competence to effectively and safely serve as a newly licensed, entry-level registered nurse. The two examinations are the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
For more detail information about the tests and how you must prepare to perform well, consider visiting the website of NCSBN.
Career opportunities are aplenty in nursing as briefly elaborated above. There is indeed a varying choice of attractive careers available today for nursing graduates owing to several factors, the chief among which being huge shortfall of qualified nurses projected over the coming decade.
Upon becoming a registered nurse (RN) with 4-year BSN degree, entry-level nurses can expect yearly income of $31,000 to $41,000. That translates to $15 to $20 per hour of work. Salary increases with experience. If you opt to become a traveling nurse later in your career, you may make between $23 to $35 per hour plus free housing, free insurance, travel reimbursement and lots of fringe benefits.
As you can see, nursing is a good career option loaded with immense opportunities.