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nursing career information: what you need to know to become a nurse

Updated on May 8, 2013

Nursing Career Information is easy to find

Nursing Career Information: What you need to know to become a nurse

Nursing is one of the largest American professions. Nurses are essential members of our communities. They take care of people who are sick. Thousands of people each year enter the nursing profession. If you are thinking of becoming one of them here are some basic things you must know.

Becoming a Nurse: How to Start

Nurses are divided into two types: LPNs (licensed practical nurses) and RN’s (Registered Nurses). Each type is distinguished by the educational background needed to enter the profession and the types of duties practiced.

An LPN has at least a year (and very often eighteen months) of post high school training. Licensed practical nurses attend community college or hospital classes in basic nursing practice. They learn practical information such as how to give injections and change bandages as well as take basic classes in biology and chemistry. They also take a term of hands on training under the supervision of a nursing instructor. Once they graduate they must take a state licensing exam in order to seek employment.

An RN is a registered nurse. Registered nurses take at least two years of college training in nursing practices and education in the sciences. Once they pass their basic college classes, they get on the job training at a hospital or other health care facility. After graduation, an RN must pass a state licensing exam to get a job. An RN may also get a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Typically LPNs work under the supervision of RNs who have more training then they do.

Where Nurses Work

Nurses work in many different places. A nurse may work in a hospital setting administering medication to chronically ill children. She might also work in an emergency room, labor and delivery room or cancer treatment ward.

Nurses also work in schools as school nurses. School nurses supervise the well being of children. A school nurse will make sure children are up to date on their immunizations, work with children who have ongoing medical needs such as diabetes and assist parents in finding proper medical care for their kids should the needs arise.

Nurses also work for private doctor’s offices. A nurse may assist a doctor as he examines a patient or prepare a patient by taking his vital signs before the doctor enters the room. Nurses will also do tasks such as taking a patient’s medical history and making sure the patient understands any after care instructions such as when to take medications and when to seek additional treatments.

Different Nursing Careers

Many different types of nursing careers exist. Many nurses work as staff members at a hospital where they assist patients who are seeking medical treatment.

Other nurses choose specific nursing specialties such as pediatric nursing, labor and delivery nursing or neonatal nursing. Specialized nursing requires the acquisition of additional credentials. This may take the form of on the job training as well additional classes. Many specialties ask that the candidate demonstrate specific knowledge in certain procedures such as how to insert a feeding tube or understanding the psychiatry of young children. Nurses seeking employment will usually have to take a specific test to prove they have acquired the necessary fund of knowledge to perform required duties.

Another nursing career is that of a supervisor. Nursing supervisors supervise other nurses as they go about their duties. They are also in charge of other tasks such as making up weekly schedules and seeing that the supplies needed are always at hand. In order to apply for a job as a nursing supervisor, you will need several years of nursing experience as well as usually at least a bachelor’s degree in the field.

A nurse may also seek additional education in the field of nursing. If you want to become a nursing instructor who teaches nurses you will need at least a bachelor’s degree and very often a master’s degree.

Some nurses choose very specific specialties that require a high level of training and expertise. A certified nurse midwife is a nurse with a master’s degree in the field of nursing. Certified nurse midwives are qualified to perform many tasks for pregnant women including delivering her baby and administering medication during childbirth.

Other Factors to Consider

Salaries for nursing vary depending on specialty, where you work and your qualifications. Typically licensed practical nurses earn the lowest salaries while nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives earn the highest. A nurse can expect to earn a salary that is about the mean for a worker with post college training and experience.

Summary: Some Pros and Cons of a Nursing Career

Becoming a nurse requires you to complete at least year of on the job training. You can decide to opt for more training and thus enter the profession with a higher salary and greater chance for advancement.

Once you’ve earned your credentials, you can often choose which field you like. You may work to work with young children or you may like the idea of helping people of childbearing age or those facing an ongoing medical issue. You might also want to go into teaching nursing or work in the field of medical research. Nurses can also earn even further credentials and become in demand specialists who deliver babies or supervise other nurses.

On the downside, a nurse may have to work long hours with people who are anxious, noncompliant and emotionally upset.

As a nurse you can expect to earn a salary that will enable you to support yourself comfortably. You may also expect to embark on a career that can provide endless challenges and opportunities.

If you have done your research in advance and learned all you can about nursing career information you should have your answer.


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    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Notrum! There will be never decline in the demand for food and healthcare, thanks to the ever growing population of the world. You have shared great piece of info here.