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.
- 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