What To Expect From A Career In Nursing
Nursing programs at Ontario colleges come at varying levels for those in or interested in the field. Courses meet the needs of current Registered Nurses looking to diversify their skills as well as future nurses looking to get started.
Patient care demands exceptional attention to detail and a compassion for those in need. If you have these things and you see yourself starting or continuing in nursing education, heres what you need to know.
What You Can Do With These Degrees
Any joint degree will expand your opportunities for advancement and higher earnings. Specific roles will depend on the type of degrees you earn, but there are three common combinations.
Pairing an MSN with a Master of Public Health is designed for nurses who want to pursue leadership positions in community or public health organizations.
Combining an MSN with a Master of Business Administration is sometimes known as being in the Nurse Executive Program. Here, students learn the business skills necessary to hold executive-level roles in hospitals and other large healthcare organizations.
Earning an MSN with a Master of Health Administration offers similar benefits to those of the joint degrees listed above, but the combination is a bit broader. Youll be educated about making important decisions related to the management of various healthcare organizations and educational settings.
Complete A Registered Nurse Program
The first step to becoming a nurse practitioner is to complete a registered nurse program. This can be done by obtaining an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or a diploma in a nursing program. A diploma or associate degree can take anywhere from two to three years to complete, whereas a bachelor’s nursing program typically takes four years.
These five different types of bachelor’s degrees can be pursued to become a nurse practitioner:
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Is The Nursing Program I’m Interested In Good
Just because a school offers a nursing degree doesn’t mean it’s a quality nursing degree.
First, make sure every school and nursing program you apply to is accredited. Any nursing program you apply to should be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and Education . If you don’t choose an accredited nursing program, you CANNOT sit for the NCLEX and earn an RN license. You’ll likely have difficulty finding a nursing job after graduation.
Second, check out student outcomes. A nursing school may have a low tuition rate and be accredited, but the NCLEX pass rates could leave something to be desired. In 2021, the US saw a total NCLEX first time pass rate of 85.3%. A pass rate below this would be below the national average. BSN-prepared nurses had a higher NCLEX pass rate of 88.97% as compared to ADN-prepared nurses at 82.47% or diploma nurses at 81%.
How Long Is An Rn To Msn Program
Nurses who have earned their ADN can pursue an RN-to-MSN program that supplements the MSN program with the baccalaureate education that they are missing. This type of program can be completed in two-to-three years.
Similarly, those who already have earned a baccalaureate degree outside of nursing can complete an entry-level MSN program that supplements the MSN program with the nursing education that they are missing can complete it in two-to-three years.
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Clearances For Clinical Practice
Prior to beginning any course work in the nursing major, students are required to submit documentation for health and clinical clearance. Please review due dates on the form. Clearance documentation must be kept up to date in Castlebranch .
Clinical course schedules are determined by the School of Nursing based on resources and clinical facility availability. Clinical schedules may include day and/or evening hours on any of the 7 days of the week. Criminal background checks may be required by clinical sites. A student who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor will have to undergo investigation by the Office of Professional Discipline, which might result in denial of RN licensure.
Considering Nursing Program Cost
Another factor students need to consider is the cost of their degree. Tuition rates vary by school size, the type of institution, and the degree program. For example, public schools offer in-state tuition to residents, and ADN programs cost less than BSN programs.
Aside from tuition, nursing students need to consider other costs, including:
- School and lab fees
- Other course materials such as uniforms and clinical supplies
- Cost of living expenses which may include on-campus room and board
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Working While Earning A Nursing Degree
We know that school is expensive, and you may balk at the thought of quitting your job in order to pursue your dreams. While it may not be ideal, working through nursing school is doable. It may extend your overall time in school, but earning money to pay for school and other necessities may be worth it.
Brittney Wilson, BSN-RN and blogger at The Nerdy Nurse®, suggests finding a job that allows you time to study.
If you cant find something where you can study, find something where youll get good clinical experience, like working as a CNA, she says.
While you may want to finish school as quickly as possible, dont worry if you dont follow a traditional path. Wilson explains how it took her four years to earn an ADN. I did not get in the first time I applied, so I used the additional year to complete all the classes that would be required for my eventual bridge to BSN.
Find a schedule and combination of work and school thats right for you. Rememberyou are not alone, and many have been in your shoes before. With a little perseverance and determination, your nursing career goals can be achieved.
Why Should I Get A Bsn
While licensed graduates of a bachelors, associate, or diploma program may qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse, some employersparticularly magnet hospitalsmay require a bachelors degree, according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook for Registered Nurses.
Additionally, entering the workforce with a BSN offers a competitive advantage from a hiring perspective in many settings, as well as greater career advancement opportunities, according to the ANA.
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Types Of Nursing Roles
Nursing is a diversified profession. Theres no right or wrong answer to what type of nurse to be, but knowing what responsibilities and duties that come with each can help you determine which would be best for you. If your dream is to become a registered nurse , both an associates degree and bachelors degree can help you get there. If you have hopes of becoming a nurse educator one day, youll likely need a little more education, including a masters or a doctorate.
One of the many great things about being a nurse is that there are a lot of ways to advance in your career and education. Many of these degrees build upon or transition into one another. This means the credential or degree you begin earning now doesnt have to be the one youre stuck with forever. Common nursing credentials include:
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Registered Nurse
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
There are many nursing credentials that can go deep into various medical specialties and some that stand for certain education levels, so well walk through some of those as well. Lets start with the basics.
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Jobs Requiring 1 Year Or Less In Nursing School
Entry-level nursing jobs require the least amount of time in school. Nurse assistant programs are the quickest path to a career in nursing, with certificate programs typically lasting less than a few months.
Nurse assistant duties are limited to basic services, like checking patient vital signs. Licensed practical nurses sometimes called licensed vocational nurses may be able do more advanced tasks, such as running routine tests or maintaining patient records.
Taking on those additional duties requires passing the NCLEX-PN exam and spending extra time in nursing school. LPN certificate and degree programs typically last about one year.
Common Nursing School Prerequisites
Prerequisites for nursing school provide the foundation for advanced level college courses. They usually consist of general education and science courses taken in high school, a minimum GPA, and other requirements. Students who plan to enroll in either a two-year associate degree in nursing or a four-year bachelor of science in nursing should expect similar prerequisite courses such as anatomy, nutrition, and statistics.
Traditional and online BSN degrees typically include prerequisites in humanities, advanced science, and college-level reading and writing courses. While both the ADN and BSN degrees prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Examination , the more competitive BSN, which incorporates clinical experiences and training, seeks applicants who wish for a broader academic background.
Because nursing school requirements vary by degree level and institution, you should always check the school’s website for up-to-date admission eligibility. Below are common nursing school prerequisites.
- Anatomy and physiology
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Dive Into Masters Degree Programs
Masters degree programs are available for students with a bachelors degree in another discipline. The masters programs can take up to three years to complete and include the course work needed to qualify for a registered nursing license. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports there are 60 entry-level masters degree programs available for students with a bachelors degree in another area. A traditional bachelors degree-to-masters program in nursing can take 18 to 24 months to complete.
Discover Bachelors Degree Programs
Bachelors degree programs require students to complete courses in mental health, geriatric and pediatric nursing. A bachelors degree program also requires students to complete general education courses such as arts and humanities, history, life science and physical science. Science courses include chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology. Nursing programs that qualify students for a license as a registered nurse must include clinical practice to meet state requirements. A bachelors degree program in nursing can take four years to complete.
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Brandy Gleason Msn Mha Bc
Brandy Gleason, MSN, MHA, BC-NC, is a nursing professional with nearly 20 years of varied nursing experience. Gleason currently teaches as an assistant professor of nursing within a prelicensure nursing program and coaches graduate students. Her passion and area of research centers around coaching nurses and nursing students to build resilience and avoid burnout.
Gleason is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners here.
NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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Going To Nursing School
There is more than one educational pathway leading to eligibility to take the standardized National Council Licensure Examination .
As someone thinking about a nursing career, youll want to decide whether to pursue an associate or a bachelors degree before you can figure out what you need to enroll in school.
What Accreditation Is Available For My Program
Accreditation is a sure-fire way to know if a program meets nationally recognized nursing education standards. Independent accrediting organizations register schools once theyve undergone an arduous application process. For students, attending an accredited school is a must if youre hoping to receive financial aid. Secondly, earning a degree at one accredited school allows a student to pursue further education at other accredited schools.
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Pursue A Doctoral Program
Students seeking a doctorate in nursing may complete a bachelors-to-doctoral program, which can take three to four years to complete. These programs include clinical experiences and allow students to select a focus in research or nursing practice. A Doctor of Nursing Practice program prepares students for a career as an advanced practice registered nurse such as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse-midwife or clinical nurse specialist. For students seeking a career in research, the Doctor of Philosophy in nursing degree focuses on scientific discovery in the field of nursing.
Make The Most Of Your Time
Nursing school is a journey, and thinking about the entire program can be overwhelming. Remember to plan your life one semester or course at a time and be patient as you learn.
Beck says the toughest part at the beginning of nursing school is learning how to talk like a nurse. There are so many medical terms and acronyms that youll have to learn early on. They may seem foreign and confusing, but trust that youll be speaking the nursing language in no time.
As a nursing student, you will have many resources available to help you adjust. Aspen University offers student resources within the online classroom to help you better understand specific subjects.
The nursing faculty will also have plenty of experiences to share to help you learn. Your peers are a great resource, too. Take advantage of time with other nursing students by:
- Partnering up with a study buddy or accountability partner
- Identifying a mentor such as a student whos further along in the program
- Finding out what study schedule works for other students
Beck shares that as a nursing student, the feeling of being a beginner is frustrating, but it gets better.
Lean into being in the role of the learner, she says. Take advantage of all the optional activities and free resources your nursing school offers. If theres an optional study session, go.
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What Are The Clinical Requirements
As you move into core nursing courses, you will get the chance to practice taking care of patients. You may start in a simulation lab, where you learn basic nursing skills on a mannequin. This is an exciting time as you begin applying concepts from class into nursing practice!
After you have learned the basic skills, you will beginclinical rotations, often referred to as clinicals. Depending on your nursing program, you may care for patients in a clinical setting once or twice a week. Nursing clinicals often start in a long-term care setting and after that will move on to specialized units such as pediatrics.
The typical clinical day is 8 hours long, but its common to stay for 12 hours as you get closer to graduation. Keep in mind that your nursing school clinical hours include more than the time you spend with your patients.
You may need to visit the hospital the day before to collect information about your patients. This will help you plan the care you will provide for your shift. After your clinical day ends, you may be asked to submit a written or video assignment to reflect on what you learned that day. You will be expected to discuss topics like patient diagnosis and medication regimen.
While it may seem like a heavy time commitment, clinicals help nursing students begin learning how to manage patients while on a shift.
Goodwins Nursing School Timeline A Recap
- Associate Degree in Nursing: Just 20 months part-time, after prerequisite courses.
- RN-to-BSN Degree: 16 months part-time, in an online or hybrid format.
- Accelerated BSN Degree: 16 months full-time, with flexible scheduling options.
- Masters in Nursing Degree: 20 months part-time and online.
- Family Nurse Practitioner Degree: 27 months year-round, entirely online.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree: Seven semesters, part-time.
Now is the time to enter the nursing field. Nationwide, there are more open positions in nursing than there are qualified candidates to fill them. Specifically in Connecticut, nursing job openings are well-exceeding all other occupations. According to the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, there will be twice as many nursing jobs in the next few years than there will be accounting jobs, more than three times as many nursing jobs as teaching jobs, and about ten times as many nursing jobs as jobs in civil engineering. Amidst a global pandemic, aging baby boomer population, healthcare reform, and advancing medical field, the demand for registered nurses is growing higher than ever.
If you dream of becoming a nurse, stop worrying about the time it takes to become a nurse. Now is the time to get started. You can become a nurse at your own pace and there are fast nursing degree options available. Do not put your nursing degree on hold.
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