Become a Nurse Educator Now

Nurses’ job does not start and ends with taking care of the sick. They did not only assist you to have a healthy and quality living. As a nurse, you can also venture your career to become a nurse educator. It is a noble career move to not only share your knowledge and skills to your students, but you becoming a great foundation in building a new generation of nurses today. As much as we need nurses to take care of our society, we also need nurse educators to produce a new set of excellent nurses in the future.

 

What is a Nurse Educator?

Nurse educators are sometimes called nurse teachers, nurse professors or nurse instructors. They are highly trained professional nurses responsible in training students who are aspiring to be nurses in the future. Their teaching responsibilities involve in the classroom and practice setting. This kind of profession is a combination of two vocational jobs; teaching and nursing. As a nurse educator, you impart knowledge and skills to your students to help them become a nurse which will assist in saving lives in the future and also still practice your profession at the same time.

 

What does a nurse educator do?

We can say that nurse educators are simply the teachers of the nursing students. However, being in this profession takes a lot of passion, skills and broad of knowledge. Their job usually starts on teaching nursing courses inside the classroom. Just like any other instructors of soon-to-be professionals, they also plan curriculum and creating training materials for their students. They assign homework and promote interactive discussions among them. They keep records and graded their students according to their performance.

Similar to a kid who needs someone to guide and teach them, a nurse educator serves as a guardian of their nursing students. Since nursing education is more of evidence-based training, the nurse educator act as a supervisor, assisting their students when they are handling patients and doing nursing duties while on their clinical exposure. They usually demonstrate the correct procedure and explains well the theories and rationales behind those procedures. They collaborate well with other health care professionals to design an effective clinical practice for their students. In my experience when I was a nursing student, I see my nurse educator as my second parent, aside from teaching, she gives some advice regarding on overcoming our limitations, identifying and enhance our strengths.

 

Benefits of Being a Nurse Educator

Aside from being able to share your knowledge with your students, you are still able to touch the lives of patients thru the presence and labor of your future nurses. Most of the educators feel rewarded whenever they see their students’ development during and after nursing education.

Same with other college professors, these educators able to plan their vacation leaves and get a summer job whenever the classes are off. This what makes this job not so stressful but enjoyable.

There are better job opportunities in being a nurse educator. You can work in any facilities and institutions that offer nursing courses, programs, and certifications. This includes universities, colleges and even hospitals or clinics that accept nursing trainees. It is predicted that by the year 2020, the job growth for this kind of profession will increase up to 19 percent.  The annual wage being a nurse educator is not so bad as what others think. In fact, it is included in the highest paying nursing jobs according to Bureau of Labor of Statistics. The average salary of nurse educators $71,974 annually which varies based on experience and skills. California has the highest annual mean wage for this profession as of 2015.

annual mean wage
High demands for this job results from the shortage of nurse educators that is still going around. According to ACCN’s survey report (2014), the national nurse faculty vacancy rate is 6.9 percent. New York has the highest percentage of nursing faculty vacancies. One of the major cause of this shortage is due to the retiring age of the nursing faculty.  On 2015, the age bracket with the highest number of nurse educators is within 46 to 60 years old, which causes the demands of the nursing educators to be high. And if the demands are still increasing, chances of getting a job for this profession is also high.

employment level

 

How to Become a Nurse Educator?

Generally, to be qualified as a nurse educator, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. There are five ways to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing which makes nursing education very accessible.

Nursing Education Degrees

 To be a registered nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Upon obtaining your license, it usually required by many employers to gain experience in the field for several years. Years of experience required depends on the chosen field, school or employers. Aside from the basic education and experience that you need to take, it is also recommended that you have to pursue continuing your nursing education. You may take Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) which averaging to two more years of study or proceed to Doctoral degree in Nursing (Ph.D.) which average length of education is 2 to 4 additional years. Both of these programs are offered online and campus set-up.
Generally, to be qualified as a nurse educator, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse. There are five ways to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing which makes nursing education very accessible.

educ path

Nurse educators may take the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Examination offered by National League for Nursing (NLN). The aim of this certification program is to promote an exceptionally advanced specialty role of the academic nurse educator. To be qualified in taking this exam, you must have:

  • Currently active license
  • Must have a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing

Sometimes, two years or more employment in a nursing program in academic institutions is also required. The effectivity of the certification is five year and after that, you may apply for a renewal.

There are some scholarships, grants, loans and other financial aids offered to nurses who wants to pursue nurse educator career.  You may apply by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your chosen school or program must have an accreditation such as Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Along with the educational requirements, you must have the traits and skills for you to succeed in becoming a nurse educator. Such of these traits are being organized, analytic, patient, active listener & speaker and compassionate. Along with these skills usually needed in this kind of job are critical thinking skills, accurate decisiveness, able to maintain interpersonal relationships, and planning & goal-setting skills.

 

Worth of Nurse Educators

As much as we need nurses in our society, we also need nurse educators who will play a vital role in molding the minds of future nurses. What will be our future nurses do in our community in promoting health and quality of life depends on how the nurse educators mold them. This is an exciting part in the life of being a nurse. Always remember, behind those hero nurses are their great nurse educators.

 

 

Reference:

http://everynurse.org/becoming-a-nurse-educator/

http://www.nursetogether.com/nurse-educators-role

http://www.nln.org/professional-development-programs/Certification-for-Nurse-Educators

http://www.nln.org/professional-development-programs/Certification-for-Nurse-Educators/eligibility

http://study.com/articles/Clinical_Nurse_Educator_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html

http://www.allnursingschools.com/nurse-educator/

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251072.htm

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Nurse_Educator/Salary

http://nursejournal.org/articles/nursing-educator-careers-salary-outlook/

http://tobecomeateacher.org/how-to-become-a-nursing-teacher/

 

 

About the author

cherry-ann-vincentCherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives.

 

Life of a Nursing Student

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a nursing student? It is a great adventure in every Nursing experience. Get to know more about the exciting life of a Nursing student.

Getting ready

Just like any other profession, there are some prerequisites needed to enter the nursing academe.

Before you could enter the nursing program, you must take the required subjects in high school. These include English, Science, and some Math subjects.

After my high school graduation, what I did was to look for schools where I want to study nursing. After, choosing the school, I took their entrance exam. Then I had an interview with the college admission officer. Some schools required the enrollees to undergo annual physical examination. This is also an opportunity to be aware of some basic medical procedures that you will usually encounter as you practice your profession. After passing the entrance exam, medical check-up and interview, I prepared all the requirements needed and started my nursing journey.

Congratulations, you are in!

You are now starting the journey of your nursing adventure. This is the time you will get to know the subjects that are you going to complete, the protocols, required paraphernalia and others. General subjects usually fall on this phase. The first few years of your nursing education is like a preparatory stage. This is just like a training for a baby that needs to learn walking and to speak. This is the stage where you started to learn the common nursing and medical terms, paraphernalia, books and regular practice.

The acquaintance periodnursing books

Most of the major nursing subjects fall here such as Anatomy, Fundamentals of Nursing, general psychology and others. This is the time I got to know my body parts and their functions. For some nursing schools nowadays, teaching human body parts (Anatomy) involves using of human body part models and visuals. Aside from studying, there are some days that you have to do experiments. Also on this phase, the students do the skills demonstration or the so-called “return-demo” where in you need to perform the procedure of a certain nursing practice. The student needs to recite the steps and the reasons behind those steps. Sometimes a student needs to use a dummy for demonstrations, but most of the time your classmate will be your acting patient. This what makes nursing classes more fun. You don’t have to sit all day trying to digest all your professors’ dialog, but you too need to move and act. Some of the skills that you will learn from return demos are applicable to your daily living. An example of this is bed making, proper hygiene, physical assessment and etc. Because of these return demos, I have learned that whenever I have to do something, there has to be a good reason behind it.

Nurses’ Kit

Just like other  college students, nursing students need to have theirtoools
own set of tools. Most of them have this carry-on Nurse’s bag or in my time, it is called O.B. bag. Inside this bag includes the thermometers, surgical/bandage scissors, bandages, first-aid kits, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer (commonly known as “blood pressure apparatus”) and others. This idea of having this kind of bag not only applicable to my nursing career but also to my daily activities. Up to this date, I still manage to keep a Nurse’s bag in our house which contains the medical tools that I use for my loved ones.

Clinical ExperienceDemo

After the return demos, here comes the nursing exposure or the clinical experience. The clinical experience is often times the keystone of the nursing
student’s career. It is the time you are about to perform what you have learned from your nursing classes to a real patient. This may sound chilling but don’t you worry, your clinical instructors will guide you all throughout your duty. On your first few days, most of your tasks will be taking blood pressures, interviewing your patients and charting (documentation). Sometimes you are going to shadow the nurses while they’re performing their tasks. Some nurses-on-duty will also teach you how they do it and often times they let you do it on their patient. It is not always that your exposure will be exclusive to hospitals.
During my clinical exposures, I was also assigned to one of the private psychiatric institutions. This is the most challenging duty that I have ever had. Although it may sound scary to others, I felt safe and thankful. On this exposure, all nursing students will learn how to use the therapeutic communication, to be compassionate and to see those patients not as abnormal beings but as humans that need help and extra understanding. Other clinical exposures include assigning students to a community, school clinics, and large companies. In community exposure, students conduct health prevention programs same with school clinics, and large companies.

Group activities

Aside from thesis which is common to all college students, nursing students also do case studies and presented to the panel or fellow students. Students select one patient to study. It is quite exciting because you will learn what are the causes of the patient’s disease. The series of his/her disease. This type of activity doesn’t require students to memorize but to familiarize. This what makes studying nursing very cool.

Cost of Nursing Education

Everyone’s connotation of taking up nursing is quite expensive. But to give you an idea, there are some ways to avail nursing education in cheaper ways.

Tuition – During my time, I wasn’t looking for the best schools but I was looking for an affordable school as you know the price of pursuing a nursing profession is somewhat costly.

There are some schools and organizations here in the US that is affordable and sometimes offers scholarship programs. Community colleges which offer BSN programs cost lower than large universities.

For community colleges, tuition for full-time ranges from $864 to $3,168 per semester. Whereas, cost per credit hour usually ranges from $72 to $216.

Books –  The cost of books differs, it depends if you buy a brand new or a used one. Usually, it is only on your fist few years that you are required to buy those books but moving forward you may not need to buy anymore. Books cost from $1,000 to $3,000 each year. You may try borrowing books from others who were recently completed their semester or visit the library more often to gather all the information that you need. This technique works for me throughout my college years.

Miscellaneous Fees – these cover the uniforms, vaccinations, Name tag, Supplies and apparatuses, Healthcare programs, graduation fee, laboratory fees and other fees which vary depending on the school you are enrolled in. These may cost around $600 to $800.

Being in a nursing school is one of a kind experience for a student’s life. You may have bad days, bad grades, sleepless nights, and heartbreaking moments with your patients and professors but the value of the experience that you will get is priceless. Aside from learning inside the classroom, you also learn to face the reality of life.  This what makes this journey seems to be a roller-coaster ride feeling.

Additional references:

http://www.careerigniter.com/questions/how-much-does-it-cost-to-go-to-nursing-school/

http://www.rnprograms.org/tuition-and-fees.htm

About the author

cherry-ann-vincentCherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

A nurse’s job is not only as simple as taking care of the sick patients and following doctor’s orders. Being a nurse is like having a passport which allows you to explore numerous career advancement opportunities. One of the most known career advancement for nurses is becoming a nurse practitioner.

What is a nurse practitioner?

 Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have advanced clinical education and training in a health care specialty that have more responsibilities for rendering patient care than Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses. They are authorized to work independently which focused on managing people’s health conditions, identifying the risk factors and preventing disease. They can prescribe medication, assess patients, diagnose diseases, request diagnostic tests and provide treatment which almost the same with what primary physicians usually do. NPs are the providers of choice for millions of Americans.

Career outlook for Nurse practitioners

According to Bureau of Labor and Statics (BLS) May 2015 data, the annual average salary of a nurse practitioner is $101,260. This is almost a double amount of annual average salary of RN’s and LPN’s.

Some of the top paying nursing practitioner jobs are General Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthetist, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner.chart1.jpg

The demand for Nursing Practitioners is still increasing. As matter of fact, the projected demand will grow up to 31 percent within 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average demand rate for other occupations. The increasing demand for NP’s are due to the shortage of primary care physicians, the lower professional fee of NP’s compared to physicians, large aging population, more demand of nurses underserved and Rural Areas, and increasing demand for outpatient care. Aside from their skills as an NP, their traits and personalities are very appealing to the community. NP’s are compassionate, empathetic, calm even under stress, resourceful and good decision maker.

Like any other professional there are prerequisites needed to be accomplished for you to be a Nurse practitioner.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

1. After graduating from High school, pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from an accredited program which usually takes 4 years to complete. There are two main NP accredited program agencies: The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).

2. Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a Registered Nurse.

3. Once you have your license, the next step is to gain experience. It is common for aspiring NP’s to have their experience and training in their chosen field.

4. After getting experience, the next step is to apply for graduate schools that offer advanced degree programs, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). DNP is usually taken for four years. It is the highest level of nursing education and is the recommended end degree for nurses who wants to be a nurse practitioner.  However, most aspiring NP’s still choose to MSN as their degree to take. MSN is only taken for two years and it is more required by some states to acquire licensure and do not required a DNP degree for nurse practitioners.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, don’t you worry. There are institutions that offer special bridge programs that assist nurses who do not have bachelor’s degrees, or currently in a different field, to earn their advanced degree in nursing. These are called RN-to-MSN programs or ADN-to-MSN (Associate Degree in Nursing to Master’s).

Some schools offer financial aid or scholarship programs for those who wants to pursue nursing practitioner degree.

According to Nurse Journal, there are top 10 affordable schools that are offering bridge programs. Most of them are private except for the University of Arizona. All of these schools are accredited by CCNE, only Frontier University have both accreditations (ACME and CNE).

schools

5. After you have gained enough experience and completed the required curriculum, the next step is to earn your licensure and certification. Exam requirements differ from state to state. Certification requirements depend on the specialty that an aspirant wants to pursue. American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) categorized the 50 states into three practice types.

Full Practice: This is the most recommended model by the Institute of Medicine and National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The scope of practice almost similar to responsibilities of a physician which includes assessment, diagnosing, prescribing and requesting treatments or diagnostic tests needed.

Reduced Practice: The scope of PN practice is limited to at least one element. The state requires a collaborative agreement with other health practitioners.

Restricted Practice: This restricts the ability of a nurse practitioner to practice her responsibilities independently. The state requires the NP’s to work under supervision or physician’s order.

6. After all the requirements were completed, you may now start working as a nursing practitioner. Some of the nurse practitioners pursue further specialization.

Nursing Practitioner Specializations

Being a nurse practitioner is a gateway from which many professionals move into specialized roles. There are many places where a nurse practitioner could work such as community care programs, hospitals, hospices, physician’s offices, the military, the prison system, Nurse-managed clinics, schools, and homes. Here are some popular nurse practitioner specialties nowadays.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner – focuses on serving families, younger children, and women. Among all the specialization of NP’s, this is the most popular.
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – usually serving older patients. Their responsibilities are focused on longevity and management of adult life span. Acute and chronic care for geriatric patients is common on this field.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – The responsibilities under this field is geared towards primary care from infancy to adolescence. If you love babies and kids, then this one is suited for you.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – focuses on intensive care newborns especially those who are high-risk neonates up to two years of age.
  • Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner –  their scope of practice includes assessment, diagnosing, and treatment of individuals or families with psychiatric disorders.

This what makes Nurse Practitioners distinct among other health workers today. They may have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill but the title itself and the privileges of being NP is a worthwhile and profitable job.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Resources:

About the author

cherry-ann-vincentCherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives

Is Nursing Shortage Still A Threat?

Written by Cherry Ann Vincente, RN

We often read reports and write-ups about the nursing shortage. Regardless of many written articles, the dilemma of decreasing number of registered nurses is still there. Since nurses are the “front-liners” of healthcare, they play the vital role in our healthcare delivery system. If we gradually lose them, it will be a great impact not only on one’s health but also in the country’s welfare.

According to statistics, nursing shortage will rise by 260,000 vacant jobs by 2025 and it is twice as large as any nurse shortage since 1960’s. One of tagehe major factors
of this impending shortage is the aging population of nurses itself. Way back 1980’s, a majority of the nurses are within the age bracket of 20-39. 12 years ago, most of the nurses are within the age bracket of 30-45. As of 2016, 53 percent of working nurses are above 45 years of age. It is pretty obvious that in the next few more years, there are more nurses that are going to retire compared to a number of nurses that are of the middle age group.

Aside from the rising number of nursing retirees by the year 2025, the majority of the country’s population is getting older. And as the population gets older, the demand for health care services ascend. Around 80 percent of the aging population is acquiring chronic diseases which need more manpower for health care services. Remember, there are from the younger population who still needs health care.

Another factor of a forthcoming nursing shortage is the limited schools for nursing. And even though a lot of colleges for nursing that will be opened this year, still, it will take a time to educate and train new health care workers. Maybe, the most critical factor affecting the nursing scarcity in the U.S. is nursing schools’ inability to increase enrollment due to lack of nursing school faculty. Even if registered nurses do gain their entry-level degrees, many facilities are hesitant to hire brand-new nurses because of the experience gap between them and retiring longtime nurses.

Other factors that may contribute to this issue is the career shifting. Some nurses who used to work as a hospital or clinical nurses transfer to a different profession which is not related to nursing. Some nurses leave this profession due to issues regarding salaries, working protection and set-up.

By these factors, most of the states all of the country is affected by the upcoming nursing shortfall. According to the research of Olivet Nazarene University, states with the highest demand for nurses are;  New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. However, nursing demand is lowest in other states such as Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Data was collected last October 2016.us-states

We have now learned the truths of the nursing shortage. What we need to know now is how can it affect not only the individual but also the country’s welfare.

Apparently, if we lack nurses it may cause understaffing. When there is understaffing, nurses tend to have a lot of workloads and they need to work for long hours. The responsibilities of nurses include paper works. Most of us stayed in the hospital beyond our shift just to complete all the required documentations. They are assigned to several patients during their shift. It can be a stressful working environment to them. If nurses are stressed, they can get sick and exhausted. Thus, some of them force to leave their job. In my experience, when we don’t have enough numbers of nurses on-duty for a particular shift, we are required to maximize our time so we are able to manage to handle a lot of patients. Some medications were not given exactly on time and the therapeutic interaction with our patients lessen. We are unable to do our thorough nursing assessment to some of our patients as we have to reserve our time for other critically ill patients that need our attention. We can’t give our 100% nursing care for each of our patients. As a nurse, it doesn’t feel good at all.

When lack of nurses on duty, the nurses may feel burn-out. And if they do, they are prone to commit mistakes which may harm them or their patients. The quality of health care is at stake. The common example of nurse’s error that we always hear is the medication errors. Many nurses commit it because of a short time to analyze the doctor’s order. It is because the nurse has a lot of patients to tend in her whole shift. Most of the time, the nurses are unable to carry out doctor’s orders correctly due to exhaustion and no meals or breaks taken. So, when the quality of care suffers, the recovery period of the patient may prolong. This may lead to a lack of vacant rooms for patients that need to be admitted. More people may get sick. Hence, the mortality rate may increase. The mortality rate is another concern of the country that needs to be addressed as it may proceed to an economic crisis. It is like a chain reaction. The diagram shown below is an example how great will be the impact if the nursing shortage will not be addressed a few more years from now.

effects

We need to recruit more nurses than we can ever imagine. Just thinking the scenario of 1 nurse for 10 – 15 patients (without a nursing assistant) is something that is very disturbing. In fact, this scenario is already happening in some countries that are lack of nurses.

On a brighter side, there are some strategies that are currently being implemented to prevent the impending nursing scarcity. One of the approaches is to offer nursing schools with lower tuition fee. Moreover, it is recommended for the employers to hire not only the experienced nurses but also the young or fresh nurses. We know for a fact that is much easier to hire experienced nurse than the inexperienced one. However, young nurses nowadays are more aggressive in terms of skills development. They just not focus on what they have already learned but what they can learn more so that they can perform their duties well. Also, young nurses are very much willing to contribute something for their community. They want to step up. They are energetic, which what is really needed especially if they need to maximize their time and doing multi-tasking. Their training is much modernized than the older generation.

Nurses should be considered always as a V.I.P.’s (Very Important Persons). What they do are very crucial to all of us. The nursing shortage is frightening. You may ask yourself, “What are we going to do without them?”

About the author

cherry-ann-vincentCherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives.

Choosing Nursing As a Career

Written by Cherry Ann Vincente, RN

I remember the first time I was asked by my clinical instructor what makes me decide to take up nursing; all I can say is “it’s my parents’ choice.” That’s it. I have no idea what nurses do aside from taking care of the sick people. It doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve anything just because you are a nurse.

Aside from helping others and saving the lives, there are still many reasons why you have to choose Nursing as your career to take.

Being a nurse does not start and ends with taking care of an ill person. The curriculum of Nursing education is not only focused on healthcare. This profession doesn’t limit you to work in a hospital or clinical setting. There’s a lot of jobs out there that require Nurses. Nurses are very flexible. They are trained not only to take care of the sick or follow doctor’s orders but to be an educator, which they can go to some communities educating health and wellness. They can also be a researcher working on Research Laboratories or even entrepreneurs which businesses are linked to the promotion of health. Some of my former classmates are now working as managers, clinical instructors, doctors and professors.

Wherever you go, everyone needs a Nurse. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for healthcare services will rise until the year 2024 because of the aging population and the increasing numbers of people acquiring diseases not just the elders but also the young ones. Furthermore, nurses have higher salaries than other professionals. As of 2015, the median annual salary of a nurse was $67,490, not bad right?

The nursing profession does not only improve your career growth and financial stability but also brings out the best in you as a person. There is a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment because you are not only making the patient comfortable but you also get to know them and learn from their experiences. Every day is a new experience. You will encounter several cases and kinds of people. You will also deal with different emotions. I remember when I was a Staff Nurse before, I used to hear so many stories about the lives of my patients. Some may open up their problems and even tell me their happy memories. Unlike other medical practitioners, Nurses are the ones who spent most of the time interacting with patients.

Like any other professionals, there are prerequisites needed for those who want to be a Nurse someday.

Aspiring nurses must earn a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. To prepare for nursing studies, you need to take some subjects in high school to give you a head start on your nursing prerequisites in college.

These include:

  •  4 years of High School English
  • 3-4 years of Math subject which includes Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry
  •  2 to 4 years of Science Subjects which includes biology, chemistry, physics and computer sciences
  • 3 to 4 years of Social Studies
  •  Foreign Languages are not required but recommended.

Aside from acquiring these classes, a student who wants to take up nursing should maintain the required grade point average (GPA). Some universities require a target grade for a student to be accepted in Nursing Programs. Also, you need to take some entrance exams for you to get in those programs.

Since Nurses are in demand all over the world especially in U.S., there are several schools and colleges offering Nursing educations.  These are the schools that were highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

  • University of Washington in Seattle – offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science and Master of Nursing and other graduate degrees. https://nursing.uw.edu/
  • Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD – offers pre-licensure, Master’s & Doctoral degrees, post-master’s programs for nurse practitioners, nurse educators and clinical nurse specialists. It was the first nursing school in the U.S. to have the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program, which allows students to study and work abroad. https://www.jhu.edu/
  • University of Iowa in Iowa City – also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) geared toward first-year nursing students, as well as a Registered Nurse/BSN for registered nurses. https://uiowa.edu/
  • Rush University in Chicago, IL – Offer’s Master’s degree, DNP, Ph.D., or Certificate. Nursing students can focus on a particular subfield, such as public health, neonatal care or anesthesia. https://www.rushu.rush.edu/

Selecting a school depends on Nursing programs that you want to enter. There are two entry routes to Nursing profession. These are becoming Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and Registered Nurses (RN).

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) performs basic patient care and some administrative tasks under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. LPNs must complete an approximately 12-24 months of state-approved training program. Once completed, they need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). After that, they may work while acquiring certification program for specializations that they want to pursue, or they may proceed advance education.

Registered Nurses (RN) on the other hand, undertake more responsibilities than LPN’s. They deliver care to their patients under the doctor’s direction. They require formal education. They can earn the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Let’s take a look at these two education programs.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) requires two to three years of complete study. Completing this program qualifies them to obtain NCLEX-RN that is why it is an attractive training pathway for registered nurses (RNs).

This program covers general subjects: Pharmacology, Fundamentals of Clinical Nursing, Microbiology, Anatomy, Physiology and Psychology introduction. Its focus is more on technical skills.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a 4-year Nursing program which offers extensive and advance training. The career opportunity for BSN graduates is broader than LPN and ADN graduates. It is the common qualification required by many employers. This degree allows you to work a variety of medical and health care settings such as schools, Medical clinics, Physician’s offices, Community Health facilities, etc. BSN subjects are Anatomy & Physiology, Health Assessment & Promotion, Clinical Adult & Elder Nursing, Surgical Nursing and others. After completing this degree, you can proceed taking the NCLEX.

It doesn’t end there. After completing the program and obtaining your license, you can still continue studying and enhance your skills and knowledge in the field of Nursing. You may have your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees or Doctoral nursing degrees.

Some of the educations programs listed above are also available in other countries like the Philippines.

The training exposure is almost similar to what we have in the Philippines which I found it very fun and challenging.

With what I have experience from being a Nursing student until I became a professional Nurse, I am very certain that it is not only my parents who are grateful that I became a nurse but also myself. Choosing this profession is not a regretful decision, but rather it is a privileged that I came to be one of the trusted professionals in the world. I am now confident that I can tell to all so many reasons why choosing nursing as a career is one of my best decisions in life.

About Cherry Ann Vincente:

Cherry Ann A. Vicente was born and raised in Laguna, Philippines. The eldest among her four siblings took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing and became a Registered Nurse in 2009. She was an active volunteer of Philippine Red Cross, an organization which is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. After a year of doing charity works, she started to work in a primary hospital as an Emergency and Staff nurse. A small but terrible one, she used to assist geriatric, pediatric and post-operative patients where most of them are classified as critically-ill patients. She was working in the hospital for almost two years when she got pregnant with his only child. Then she stopped working for a while and focus on taking care of her child.

Currently, she is a freelance writer and a full-time Quality Analyst for an insurance company. Her passion for serving others continue as she signed up in Philippine Red Cross and became a blood donor. She uses her writing talent to widen the awareness of the society regarding the value of Nurses. She may not be working in the hospital now, but by assisting others to their health care concerns, she is still practicing not only her profession but also her vocation to save lives

Why did you become a registered nurse?

Think back to the time in your life when you decided to become a registered nurse. You were filled with great anticipation and excitement with a burning desire to help people. You frequently dreamed of the day when you would start working in a hospital or any other health care facility taking care of real live patients. Remember how you felt filling out the application for the college, university or nursing school of your choice and the sense of achievement you felt when you received notification that you were accepted into the nursing program. If you could go back to that time would you change your decision?

There are many men and women who have become registered nurses who wish they could go back and choose a different career. Why is this? What dimmed the torch you once held for your nursing career? Was it a difficult co-worker or several co-workers who were not supportive of you on a unit? Was it because of a manager who didn’t realize your potential and made your life miserable or was it because of the politics of the facility you work for – that made working as a nurse -caring for your patients merely impossible? There are many other reasons besides the ones I mentioned which may have been the reason your spirit for nursing was dampened. What would it take to get that spirit and desire you once had back?

Registered nurses are needed more than ever today and registered nurses continue to have more career opportunities than ever before. This is an exciting time to be a nurse. People are living longer, requiring the need for nurses to specialize in the field of geriatrics and since people are living longer, more nurses are needed to care for patients who have chronic illnesses. Nurses are also able to have their own private practice as nurse practitioners and other nurses may choose to work from the comfort of their home in telehealth. There are a myriad of possibilities for registered nurses.

Nursing is a calling and if you were fortunate to attend college, pass your nursing state boards and land that first nursing job, then there was a reason for you becoming a nurse. You are needed by the medical field. If you are not happy in your career, evaluate your present situation and begin to write a plan how you could stay in nursing but in a different field. We are great at writing care plans for our patients well-being, now it time to write one for your emotional well-being. Be kind to yourself – you deserve the best. You worked hard to get where you are, don’t be miserable.

Start making some changes. For instance if you’ve worked on a busy med/surg unit for years, consider a different field of nursing such as pediatric or dialysis. Making that change may make all the difference in your career. If you’re fed up with the politics of the healthcare facility you work for, don’t be afraid to apply to another facility. Change is good and may be just what you need to get that spirit, sense of excitement and anticipation you had back which you once had for the field of nursing.