5 Must Know Facts Before Becoming a Registered Nurse

Compassionate, diligent, and symbolic with the word hope; this is how patients and their families remember the nurses they have encountered in their lives. Nurses are healers simply because of the patient-ear and calming reassurance their persona poses to the onlookers. 

But it takes a lot more to be a nurse than just a bundle of nerves and a nursing program. But if done right and with a bit of strategy and help, anyone aspiring to be a nurse can not just crack it at the NCLEX exams but also make it large in the nursing field. Here are five facts that one should know before they embrace the long journey of becoming a nurse:

Choose your programs

Nursing programs can be divided on the duration and type of the degree they offer broadly as 

  1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) takes anywhere between 12-18 months to complete 
  2. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes up to 2 years to complete the program
  3. Registered Nurse RN-BSN is a bachelor’s program and takes up to 4 years to complete
  4. MSN Nursing: It is a master’s program and taken after completing an RN-BSN program – 2 years (post-graduate)
  5. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): It is taken up after an MSN and takes up to 2 years (post-graduate)

While all have to clear the relevant NCLEX exam, it is important to choose the right program that fits a nursing student’s time, budget, and understanding of the scope of the profession.

If a person cannot afford to stay in college for a longer duration in the initial stages, then they can complete an LPN program and start working in a clinical or healthcare facility. Students who are interested in being a nurse but are confused about other factors, also should slow down and take an LPN or ADN program. Anyone who has done an LPN or ADN can enhance their skills by enrolling in a registered nurse (RN) program through an online or offline course. There is ample educational support for nursing courses that are offered by EdTech companies that are using the latest trends in technology to offer the best for students. With multiple videos covering a topic, simulated graphics to understand the concepts, and smart recall quizzes, these solutions are accessible round the clock. Any student pursuing nursing should use the advantage of AI-driven coaching solutions to ace their nursing coursework.

Choose specialty

Though base nursing courses have the same set of clinical procedures, there is a lot of demand for nurses with a specialty in specific medical genres. After becoming a general nurse one can specialize in various fields such as operating room nurse, oncology, nephrology, midwife, and neonatal to name a few. As a nurse, you have to choose a field that you will be good at and find long-term opportunities for growth and career advancement. 

Choose schedule

A nurse’s job is demanding as real lives are at stake and their decision can have a life-changing impact on their patient’s care and treatment plan. The schedules are often 40 hours per week and few healthcare facilities offer flexibility to choose between five, four, and three working days that can range between 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts respectively. If a nurse is looking to upskill and has taken up an online nursing program for advanced studies, then it is practical to choose a three-day work day and devote the rest of the time to studies. 

Set SMART goals

A nursing career can be enriching if advanced and fuelled in the right direction with a bit of planning and support that can be sought from the community and instructors alike. But to even know what a nurse wants down the line, one has to set goals that match the acronym SMART; Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Even big goals can be broken into smaller steps and achieved sequentially by first reviewing what a nurse wants in their career. 

A nurse has to be mindful of one’s abilities and try to grab and utilize as many opportunities as possible. 

Embrace change

Nursing fields are changing with the advent of AI-driven solutions both in nursing education and clinical setup. Nursing informatics is gaining traction as the healthcare industry is looking to mine the rich source of patient data they have access to. Using informatics the data is cleansed, streamlined, and organized in a way that it can be accessed instantly across hospitals through patient identification details.

Thus if a patient who has a case history of any specific ailment has a medical condition in a different city or state, then based on his ID details, all the details relevant to the patient’s information can be accessed. 

Similarly, telehealth services using cloud-based software enable secure data encryption of patients’ records. Nurses can access the digital records of patients’ information and monitor them remotely with various remote patient monitoring devices, train them to manage their health, deliver prescriptions and set up further consultations with nurse practitioners or clinicians.  

Nurses should embrace the new-age digital procedures and learn basic computing and understand informatics for a sustainable career in the digital age of nursing.

Conclusion:

If a nursing aspirant understands what is expected of them, what they want, how it has to be done, and what will work then they can strategize, work diligently and take smart decisions to improve their nursing careers. With all the knowledge and hard work, future nurses should also psychologically prepare themselves for all the good and bad that are part of the profession. While doctors and nurses do their best to save people’s lives, they also lose some. And some nurses, despite their best efforts, get attached to a few of their patients. Such cases coupled with the tight schedules, clinical rotations, and studies are sure to cause emotional upheaval for nurses. They have to be mentally stronger and be mindful of taking care of their psyche to protect themselves from burnout. An exercise, yoga, mediation, or meeting with friends and family can help them rejuvenate and bounce back to their nursing roles.

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