A Guide for How to Become a Nurse

A Guide for How to Become a Nurse

Apr 1, 2015 | 11:00 am

Nurses usually know they are nurses way before they become a nurse. There are certain characteristics common to care givers such as these that are not understood by regular people. There is a curiosity of sorts, coupled with high levels of compassion, integrity, and an interest in the art of comfort and healing.

Many nurses also have technical and uncommon strengths in management.

First Things First

Though many people choose nursing as a second career later on in life, actual planning to become a nurse usually starts in the high school years for most students. Some courses that are definitely beneficial are Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Anatomy and Physiology, if offered. A great priority in planning a nursing career will be to check out the surrounding colleges and their nursing degree programs and make sure that all of the well planned academics will stand good for background when the college counselor is consulted.

Choosing a Nursing Degree

Remember there are different types of nursing degrees, each requiring different time spans and financial commitment. One may choose to start as an LVN (licensed vocational nurse) or an LPN (licensed practical nurse). These are good options for short-term study, but they are extremely limited in their capacity to manage and move upward on the ladder of success. These programs may only take 13 to 18 months to complete, but the average annual salary can run as much as $10,000 less than that of a fully degreed registered nurse.

Associates Degree Program

Associates Degree program is one of the best ways to become a nurse. This is usually a two-year program, with possibly some time spent finalizing prerequisites before entering clinical rotations. These types of nurses can easily work full time, and depending on the family situation may be able to take other classes moving toward their Bachelor’s Degree while employed. One great benefit to getting this kind of degree is that the nurse can be paid during her educational process. Also, many hospitals and other healthcare facilities will have tuition reimbursement of some sort, countering for one or two years of commitment from the student following graduation. This type of contract tends to benefit both the student and the employer.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

These types of programs are a bit more time consuming. A Bachelor’s Degree for someone who wants to become a nurse will lend more marketability and a wonderful background to excel later on with Master’s Nursing Degrees and PhD.
Bachelor’s Degree programs usually take anywhere from 3 to 4 years to complete and may offer some type of specialty classes that are beneficial to the graduate, depending on that student’s long term aspirations.

Things to Look For in a Nursing Program

First of all, studying the attrition rate (this is the number of people who drop out before they are forced out due to failing grades and absences). Any program will have this attrition factor, but some programs seem to try to eat their young, seeming to make their program punitive, or punishing to try to “see what you are made of.” This is an unfair tactic; however, it does exist.

Study the pass rate among those who actually finish the program. These pass rates are easily found online by state. The board of nurses’ examiner website for that particular state will usually have those pass rates posted within a stringent time frame sometime during the spring of the following year.

The period between January 1 and ending December 31 is used for the purpose of determining programs’ NCLEX-PN® examination pass rates. This report provides final 2013 NCLEX examination pass rates of first time test-takers from the vocational nursing (VN) education programs in Texas. Programs designated with an asterisk (*) are commended for pass rates of 90% or higher. New programs that have not had graduates or first time candidates during the examination year are not included in the report.

Word of mouth is also a great way to learn how to become a nurse. Interviewing nurses who went different routes for education will help to realize what is best for an individual, personally. Online classes for some things may be better than doing actual classroom studies. These may free up some time and give more flexibility in schedules. It is also wise to interview nurses to find out who are the troublesome instructors in order to get some insight on how to handle difficult personalities before the shock factor hits home. Some instructors are better than others.