The nursing profession is different from other careers outside of healthcare. For one thing, the career path in other industries isn’t necessarily clear when studying and completing a degree.
Whereas for nurses, moving up from a Bachelor’s in Nursing to studying for a master’s degree provides many new opportunities for advancement, which are clear before embarking on this type of study program.
In this article, we provide people who are curious about nursing (or who are just looking for an interesting new career) some clear information to think about. So, let’s get started.
Tentative First Steps Into The Healthcare Profession
There are different avenues to take with healthcare to get your foot in the door.
While it’s not possible to work as a nurse without being properly trained and qualified first, there are other ways to get some experience within healthcare to get a taste of it. Then you can figure out if a career in nursing would suit your personality, interests, and work ethic.
One approach is to volunteer at a healthcare organization. This might be a hospital, but it could also be at a clinic, a nursing care home for elderly people, or another type of facility.
Your involvement will be limited, but you’ll still get to observe other healthcare professionals at work.
Volunteering is often only for short periods of time and you can incorporate consecutive stints at different healthcare organizations to broaden your experience.
Another approach is to become a scribe for a few months or years. These are people who are trained in how to maintain patient health records to reflect what medicine was prescribed, lab tests ordered, and medical procedures carried out.
They’re on the hospital wards and in the operating rooms, where necessary, to maintain an accurate record of what care was provided to each patient.
A scribe is an excellent way to get exposure to working in a hospital without needing to commit to a multi-year degree and qualification program to do so.
How Can I Get Started In Nursing?
To be a nurse, you need a Bachelor’s in Nursing. This is a multi-year course of study that provides all the initial training and knowledge required to be a nurse on a ward, at a school, a residential home for the elderly, and other places.
The training should only be undertaken at an accredited and registered nursing school or college because otherwise, it won’t be accepted within the profession as a whole.
It is critically important to verify this status before proceeding because studying for a degree at a school that isn’t accredited makes you essentially unemployable in the US and possibly internationally too.
Once having acquired an accredited nursing degree, it’s then a requirement to complete the national NCLEX-RN examination. The purpose of this is essentially to verify that you have the requisite knowledge to work as a nurse.
While this may be confusing if you’ve already passed a nursing degree course, think of it as a bit like lawyers that gain a law degree but then still must pass the Bar exam! It’s very much the same approach to medicine as it is to the law in that sense.
Can I Work In Any States As A Nurse?
The nursing profession is regulated at the state level through a system of applying for and obtaining the necessary license from a given state.
Each state has its own license and procedures. Only when licensed in a given state is it permissible to work in that state. This process allows individual states to decide how to approve nurses for work, what to look for, and ones to avoid.
For instance, a decade long break from work might give some state’s pause due to questions over modern medical procedures. A nurse who has been absent from the profession for so long might raise some questions.
Regardless of the requirement for state licensing, there are plenty of travel nurses who stay in RV’s, vans or tiny homes and work periodically in different states. This way, they can see more of the country and not be tied down to a single hospital.
A Master’s Degree: The Way To Advancement
To gain traction in a nursing career, it’s often beneficial to take a master’s degree in Nursing (MSN). This broadens and extends the medical knowledge and also focuses more on the managerial side too.
There are approved nurse practitioner schools in Michigan that have excellent nursing degree courses at the master’s level, which are worth reviewing when you’re ready for this stage.
For many nursing roles, an MSN is a prerequisite. This applies to management positions within nursing but also to a wide variety of nursing positions with different specializations or greater responsibilities not suitable for a less qualified or inexperienced nurse.
Indeed, even when an MSN is not a requirement to apply for some nursing positions, candidates who’ve made this extra commitment to their career tend to be favored over less qualified job applicants.
Choose Your Career Path Through Specializations
With a typical MSN degree, it’s possible to specialize when going down a certain path in the medical professional. This is ideal when it matches the area(s) where you’re working currently or wish to do so in the future.
One of the specializations is as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This type of nurse can work independently more often because they’ve acquired clinical experience through extra training. Also, their focus is on family healthcare, specifically.
Another possible specialization is in Adult-Gerontology. This is a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Degree where the caregiver has been trained in providing a high level of advanced care for adults through to seniors.
For people who are keen on getting into the healthcare field, nursing is an excellent opportunity. With more education and an ongoing commitment to learning, nurses can have a lengthy and satisfactory career.
At the higher levels, they can earn high five-figures or possibly even higher. Such is the expertise required and the demand for high-quality nurses within healthcare facilities today.