Interest in nursing has boomed over the last few years, with people from a wide range of diverse backgrounds currently considering a career in healthcare.
If you are among this group of people who are dreaming of a new career in nursing, then you will want the very best information on how to get started. By being fully prepared for what lies ahead, you can make sure you make the very best decisions in the present that will benefit you and your job prospects in the long term.
Working as a Nurse
Working as a nurse can certainly be very challenging at times. With people depending on you for their healthcare needs, you will want to be certain that you are able to provide the very best care.
Although it is often a high-pressure environment in which to work, nursing is also incredibly rewarding, both on a personal and a professional level.
Starting your Career as a Nurse
The very first step to starting your career as a nurse will be to earn an initial qualification. This will usually have to be a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, although there are also different routes into the profession in certain circumstances.
If you have an associate degree, as opposed to a bachelor’s degree, then you will still be eligible for certain roles within the nursing profession.
When you are starting from scratch and considering which degree course to enroll upon, you will have a much easier route into nursing if you opt for a bachelor’s-level course.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field, then you can still enter the profession through an accelerated nursing program. It is often the case that you can obtain your qualification this way in under 16 months.
For those looking to embark upon a graduate nursing program, Marymount nursing courses are a fantastic option.
Gain Clinical Experience
During your time on your bachelor’s degree course, you will be required to attend clinical placements for work experience. This will take place in a number of different settings and will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the work.
This clinical experience is not only essential for your ongoing education but will also help you to learn more about the specific areas of nursing you in which may wish to specialize in the future. This is also a wonderful opportunity to start building professional relationships within the healthcare sector and networking with other nurses and medical staff.
Get the Correct License
Licensing regulations for nurses vary slightly from state to state. This means you will initially have to pass an examination in the state in which you are going to work.
The national nursing licensure examination is a necessary requirement before you can start to apply for relevant nursing jobs. The specific exam that you will need to take will depend on the particular roles you wish to enter, so be sure to investigate the different options as per your plans.
It can be helpful if you obtain your bachelor’s degree in the state that you intend to later work as a nurse. This will give you a greater idea about the specific requirements and possibilities of doing so. However, once you are a qualified nurse, you will not have many restrictions over where you can work, so relocation will be possible. It may be the case that you have to resit certain exams if you are going to work in a new state, or even in a new country.
Your career as a nurse will truly begin once you have secured your very first nursing job.
Fortunately, it is not difficult for qualified graduates to find employment within the healthcare sector. This is because this is a rapidly expanding field that often has a shortage of workers. It is reasonable to expect that the need for nurses will only continue to grow, meaning that employment opportunities will continue to be widely available for qualified professionals.
Remember, you are not restricted to only working within hospital environments as a nurse. There are a wide range of settings in which you can gain employment, such as long-term care facilities and nursing homes.
Consider Your Specialty
Once you have started your very first job as a nurse, you might find that your attention shifts to what your future specialty might be. There is no rush to choose a specialty, although it can be great for your future career progression if you are aware of your goals early on.
There are so many wonderful areas of nursing to work within, and it will be possible for you to explore all of the options to see where you interest truly lies.
Some of the most common areas of specialization for nurses are:
- ICU nurse
- NICU nurse
- Nurse practitioner
- Oncology nurse
Another common area to specialize in as a nurse is within medical surgery. This is widely regarded as the most popular nursing specialty and attracts a huge variety of different people. It can be an incredibly fast-paced area to work within and will require an in-depth knowledge of a wide range of health issues.
Medical surgery nursing is a particularly popular choice for new graduates as it allows them to build a foundational knowledge before moving more deliberately into a particular area.
Progressing in Your Nursing Career
Once you have reached the point of thinking about career progression then you will have successfully started your career as a nurse.
It is natural that your career will progress as you build your experience within your existing role. You can also help to enhance your prospects by undergoing further education opportunities.
Going back into education may seem like a daunting prospect at first, especially if you currently feel quite comfortable in your existing role. It is worth spending some time considering your goals for the future and researching the most realistic ways to achieve them. You may find that pursuing a master’s degree in nursing gives your job prospects a serious boost.