As the public ages, nursing care has become a major source of employment for new technical program graduates. It is common for 90% or more of the class to find nursing jobs within 6 months. You don't have to become a registered nurse to make good money, as a licensed practical nurse with several years of work experience can earn well over $40,000 a year. The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
designation is the
first step in becoming a nurse. After Becoming a CNA, you will assist in caring for patients by monitoring vital statistics,
bathing, feeding and maintaining personal hygiene. Most CNA programs can be completed within a few months, allowing you to
begin working. As the public ages, nursing care has become a major source of employment for new technical program
The next step in a nursing career is to become a Licensed
Practical Nurse (LPN)
or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
. This is a one year long
program, in which you'll work under an RN, and be assigned advanced care work. Practice requirements for LPNs vary from state
to state, but basic duties include passing meds, wound care, and administering feeding tubes. 1-year nursing certificate
programs train students to pass the licensing test, in order to become an LPN or LVN. It is common for 90% or more of the class
to find nursing jobs within 6 months. You don't have to become a registered nurse to make good money, as a licensed practical
nurse with several years of work experience can earn well over $40,000 a year.
To become an Registered Nurse(RN)
, you will be required to earn a bachelors degree in nursing, and will enjoy an enlarged scope of practice over LPNs and CNAs, as well as command a greater salary. A 2-year associate's degree in nursing is generally considered the minimum educational requirement for RNs. These programs include basic courses in medical terminology, patient care and life sciences. Students will receive classroom instruction and clinical training in hospitals and other medical settings. Although ASN programs provide students with adequate nursing training, a bachelor's degree provides greater clinical experiences and a stronger general education. A 4-year BSN program allows students to study specialized areas of nursing, including pediatrics, geriatrics and mental health nursing. Students may also study allied health topics outside of nursing through elective courses.
An RN has to cope with more responsibility, and must oversee the work of LPNs and CNAs under their supervision. If you wish to continue advancement, a masters degree and several years of experience as a nurse, may qualify you for the NP (Nurse Practitioner) credential. The master's degree is intended for nursing professionals interested in supervisory positions. Nurse practitioners, nurse specialists and nursing instructors are often required to have a master's degree. Please check with your state board of nursing for practical details and exams that you must pass to become board certified.
Although entry-level nursing positions are available to beginning nurses with no professional experience, employment prospects are best, for nurses with at least 2-5 years of experience. Advanced nursing positions may require more than five years of experience or knowledge of specific fields, such as pediatrics, geriatrics or community health.
After completing your nursing education, you must be licensed by the state in which you'll be practicing. The state boards of nursing each have their own specific certification criteria. In general, the requirements include completion of a degree in nursing, and board certification by the relevant accrediting body. The two biggest certifying bodies are the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The license period varies by individual state, but is usually valid for either two or three years, at which time you'll need to renew.
Registered nurses (RNs) are not required to be certified in a certain specialty by state law. For example, it is not necessary to be a Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) to work on a hospital Medical-Surgical (MedSurg) floor, and most MedSurg nurses are not CMSRNs. Certified nurses may earn a higher salary than their non-certified nursing colleagues. In the US and Canada, many nurses become certified in a particular specialty area. There are well over 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties.
To keep your license current, you must take continuing education courses, and renew your license every few years. In any event, you'll wish to stay up to date on the newest advancements in nursing. There are a fixed number of credits that each state requires, and if you work in a hospital facility, these courses may be offered on-site.
Nursing Practice Areas
Obstetrics nursing, also called perinatal nursing, is a nursing specialty that focuses on helping patients who are attempting to become pregnant, or have recently delivered a baby. Obstetrical nurses provide prenatal care and testing, and assist patients experiencing complications, either during labor or in delivery. Obstetrical nurses work closely with obstetricians, midwives, and nurse practitioners. They also provide supervision of patient care technicians and surgical technologists. Perinatal nurses perform post-operative care, conduct stress-test evaluations, and perform cardiac monitoring. Obstetrical nurses must possess specialized skills, and must have the ability to function in a variety of clinical environments.
specialists are highly-qualified nurses that have completed additional training to be able to provide critical care during the different stages of surgery. Based in hospitals, they work primarily within operating rooms and associated recovery areas, but may also be involved with certain procedures on wards, clinics or in other areas such as cardiac units.
deal with a range of situations, including babies born with heart complications, teenagers who have sustained broken limbs, and child protection issues. Health problems can affect a child's development and it's vital to work with the child's family or carers to ensure that he or she does not suffer additionally from the stress of being ill or in hospital. Neonatal nurses work with newborn babies who are born sick or prematurely. Often, premature newborns have respiratory problems, which can be life threatening if they are not treated promptly and monitored. Also, ill babies need to be fed in a specialised way in a highly controlled environment that is kept warm.
entails work with older adults with diverse health conditions, both chronic and acute. Geriatric nurses must juggle numerous priorities simultaneously, and make use of all manner of interpersonal skills to improve the quality of patients' lives, sometimes in difficult situations. Work may be based in hospital wards, clinics or community settings and you be required to perform shift work, in order to provide 24-hour care. Learning disability nurses work in partnership with them and family carers, to provide specialist healthcare. Their main aim is to support the well-being and social inclusion of people with a learning disability by improving or maintaining their physical and mental health; by reducing barriers; and supporting the person to pursue a fulfilling life. For example, teaching someone the skills to find work can be significant in helping them to lead a more independent life.
Mental Health Nurses
are trained to care for people suffering from metal illness, regardless of age or background. Conditions range from personality and psychological disorders to neuroses and psychoses. Nurses who choose to specialise in the mental health branch of nursing, a complex and demanding area, work closely with psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. As people age they have more medical problems, and hospitals will require more staff. Wages vary by the employer and area of the county. Aside from their salary, most medical jobs include excellent benefits, as well as retirement plans.
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