First off, before you do anything you want to decide what type of nurse you want to be and plan out a course of action for reaching that goal. For instance, you can either become a Certified Nursing Assistant and work while you study for a higher degree, or you can go straight to school and begin working on your degree minus the hands on experience and what you learned while getting your certificate. Here is everything you need to know about what nursing field you would like to enter.
Certified Nursing Assistant
When polled, 90 percent of nurses said that the best way to start a nursing career is as a nursing assistant or nursing aide. To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, you do not need any medical experience but it is required that you take a class. Depending on your location, there are local health care facilities that offer free classes or the opportunity for you to get paid while you're becoming certified. These classes are usually 2-6 weeks of full-time study. If you are willing, Community Colleges and The Red Cross offer classes, but they require anywhere from $300-$600. Those classes are longer and some believe offer a more comprehensive study, but can take up to 6 months based on the college's schedule. After the course is over you will be scheduled to take a State administered Test and once you pass you will become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Regardless, any nurse will tell you though, that the real training begins when you get out on the hospital floor and start working with patients hands on. The median salary for a CNA in the United States is around $24,000 per year, but will give you a lot of the necessary knowledge/experience you will have to learn if you plan on furthering your career in another nursing field. Certified Nursing Assistants can become orderlies, home health aides, or patient care technicians.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Your next step on the nursing ladder would be to become a Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse. To become an LPN/LVN, you will have to take one year course at either a vocational school or at a community college. The course work in these classes will be much more advanced than that of Nursing Assistant classes; you will be taking classes such as Physical Anatomy and will have to learn the fundamental basics of patient care. You will also get hands on experience from hospitals, medical treatment centers, and doctor's offices. Clinic practice will include administering medication and first aid. Once you successfully complete the program you will need to take a test to get licensed in the state you plan on working in.
What do you do once you become a Licensed Practical Nurse? Well as an LPN, you will be working underneath physicians and RN's, who will give you direction. LPN's do things such as prep patients for surgery, make sure food and water gets to patients, take vital signs, administer injections, provide treatment to wounds, and keep watchful eyes on patients in serious condition. The demand for LPNs is exceptionally high and because there is a shortage places of medical practice are willing to pay qualified LPNs very well. Currently, the median salary for LPNs is around $40,000 dollars per year.
Becoming a Registered Nurse
Now, for those interested in going beyond an LPN or CNA, your final destination in nursing would be to become a Registered Nurse or RN for short. There are two different types of RN degrees you can pursue: an Associates Degree Nurse (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree (BSN). You can apply for either or at a local college or you can apply to get your Nursing Degree Online. An Associate Degree will take you two years to obtain and even though what you learn won't be as extensive as someone with a Bachelor Degree, job positions for Associate Degree Registered Nurses are extensive. Getting a four year Bachelor Degree will increase your salary potential and put you in a better position to specialize in a certain area of nursing care.