There are a lot of reasons why people want to become nurses. Maybe you want to do your part and help the nurses on the frontline. Others discover all the perks of being a nurse and realize how diverse the field can actually be. Nursing can be one of the most fulfilling careers when you choose the right path. You also need to have a certain disposition and be ready for what the job truly entails. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to transition from your current position to a nursing career.
Make Sure You Have What It Takes
Nursing is not for everybody, and if you think you can become a nurse just for the paycheck, think again. Sure, you might be able to make it for a few months, or even years, but it will eventually get to you. This is why you have to make sure that you have the skills, attitude, and character necessary to be a nurse.
One of the most important skills is being able to have some detachment. If you’re the kind of person who gets emotionally involved easily, then this is definitely not the job for you. Or at least, working in a clinical role might not be the right choice. But if you decide to move into a role that is less involved, you might still have to deal with tragedy from time to time, so that’s something you have to be prepared for.
When it comes to skill, being organized is probably the most important for a nurse. Having a strong memory is also an underrated skill that many don’t talk about. You might have to work on crowded floors, and will need to be able to remember important instructions and be able to monitor someone’s condition and progress.
Nurses also have to be great communicators and team players, and they need to have a certain level of physical fitness as it can be a very demanding job with long-standing and walking hours.
Do Your Research
The next thing you have to do is start doing your research on the field. A lot of people don’t know the difference between a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, or licensed practical nurse, for instance, but these will have very different roles and capabilities. They will also need different formations.
You should also see if you can test the waters before you start. You could take one class or shadow someone in the field you were interested in. There are also workshop intensives you can join. Changing career paths is not something that can be done on a whim, so getting a taste of what it’s like to be a nurse will help you tell if it’s something you could see yourself actually doing for the next coming years.
One of the best things you could do is get a job as a nurse assistant or volunteer as one before you start. This will give you a real feel for the job and should be enough to convince you if you’re made for it or not.
Consider Online Courses
One of the things you could do if you have a position and want to keep it while you study is to get an online degree. There are plenty of top rated online accelerated BSN programs that will allow you to get your credentials much faster as long as you have the prerequisites. We strongly suggest you start looking at a few programs, what they ask exactly, and what you can expect.
When looking for online classes, however, there are some things you’ll need to look for first. The very first thing you have to do is make sure that the college is accredited. Note that being accredited by a regional body holds more weight than a national accreditation. If you want to learn more about which ones to look for, check this list of recognized accreditation boards.
Speak with Former Students
Another thing you want to do before you enroll is to speak with people who’ve been there and done that. Speak with people who moved to the field you were interested in, and who preferably moved from another career.
Ask about the learning curve. Also ask how fast they were able to get a job, information on salaries, benefits, and advancement, and a few words on the work atmosphere. Ask what their biggest challenges were during and after their formation, and things you should be prepared for. Don’t forget to ask about the best parts of the job as well.
Prep for the Exams
The entrance exam plays an integral role in the nursing school admission process. Most schools will require that you pass your Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) or the National League of Nursing (NLN) test.
Don’t overestimate the time you’ve been away from school. You might find yourself struggling with standardized tests at the beginning. If it has been 5 years or more since you’ve taken a multiple-choice test, you might realize how much your habits have changed. To get prepared, you will have to get ready to re-learn how to study and dedicate yourself.
Know Your Options
Finally, know that you don’t necessarily need to work in an ER room to be a nurse. And don’t assume that your role will be any less important. One of the areas that are the most in need at the moment are in family practice in rural areas.
You may not be responsible for saving people in life or death situations all the time, but you could make a difference in the life habits of entire generations. You could get to see people grow healthy or turn their situations around thanks to your advice. So, make sure that you look at all the options that are open to you and pick those who cater to your personality, goals, and attributes the best.
Nursing can be a wonderful field and one that has great prospects for the future. Follow our few tips, and take the time to learn everything you can about the field before you jump if you want your transition to be a success.