There is a shortage of nurses all over America. Because of this, many medical facilities are offering competitive wages in the hopes of attracting more qualified nurses to certain parts of the country. But in order to work as an RN, you first need to attend the best nursing schools and earn the minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Earning a degree in nursing can open up many doors in the medical field. Nurses can work in a wide range of positions such as staff nurse, lead nurse, pediatric nurse, and even neonatal nurse. With the right training and education, the possibilities of a successful career in the medical field are endless.
While in nursing school, some students choose to enter the medical field early in order to earn more experience by obtaining certification in a related field.
Many men and women who attend nursing school obtain CNA certification, which allows them to still earn a living while attending school. It also helps them to obtain some of the required clinical hours that can be put towards their nursing degree.
RN Training and Education
Your first step towards becoming an RN or a nursing assistant is checking out the different degree programs offered at local colleges. Many schools that offer accredited nursing programs will have their own specific enrollment requirements, such as a determined amount of training hours, minimum GPA, and credits in biology, or nursing science.
But there are other steps required other than enrolling in a degree program. The career path you’re interested in will dictate the type of nursing degree you need. A typical nursing program will include in-class instruction and clinical work. Working in the field will allow you to earn important hands-on training and knowledge. It will also give you the ability to learn how a real medical facility runs.
Many four-year bachelor’s degree programs can be earned online, with the clinical requirement portion of the program completed at a local college. The associate’s degree program can be completed in just half the time and will allow you to enter the field sooner, however, most employers prefer RNs with a bachelor’s degree because they’ve received more in-depth training.
In terms of clinical training requirements, this tends to vary by state. On average, you can expect around a hundred hours per semester for the first year. Before your second year begins you’ll need to complete a summer internship program, which consists of two to three hundred hours of training. The second-year clinical hour requirements range from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty hours per semester, with an additional three hundred hours of clinical work in the summer. Again, this will heavily depend on the state you live in and their specific licensing requirements.
During an internship, you’ll learn more about nursing duties. This can include:
• Administering medication
• Patient care
• Administering injections
• IV use
• Patient charting
• How to transfer patients
• Wound care
• Universal safety precautions
Once you complete your education and clinical work you’ll need to take a licensure exam to demonstrate your nursing skills and knowledge. The topics covered in the exam can vary, based on your career path and the field of nursing you specialize in. All graduates are required to take the NCLEX-RN exam.
After you earn your licensure you’re ready to enter the exciting field of nursing.
Each year, you’ll be required to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain valid licensure. The required amount of continuing education hours varies from state to states.
How to Become a Nurse Assistant
A certified nurse assistant provides basic care to patients, such as shower assistance, medication administration, basic wound care, and diabetic care. Other responsibilities can include feeding patients, checking vital signs, helping a patient to ambulate, and personal care. CNAs can work in hospitals, assisted living facilities, clinics, nursing homes, and private practices.
The aspiring CNA must complete an accredited training program and pass a certification exam before they’re eligible to work in the field.
How long does it take to become a certified nurse assistant? This often depends on the program and your availability. On average, CNA programs last anywhere from four to eight months, depending on whether the student is enrolled as a full or part-time student. On average, most programs require the completion of one hundred and thirty training hours.
These training programs are often found through teaching hospitals or community colleges. Program applicants must take a physical exam, aptitude test, and pass a criminal background check before they’re accepted into the program.
Students will take a wide variety of courses that are nursing related. There are no general education course requirements. Students will take courses in medical terminology, basic patient care, and CPR and first aid. There are also clinical work requirements. Clinical work will often take place at a local assisted living facility, nursing home, or clinic.
After the program is complete, just like nursing students, you’ll also be required to take a certification exam and complete continuing education requirements each year. These continuing education requirements aren’t as extensive as the RN’s. Often, you’ll only need to earn ten to twelve hours once a year or every two years.
Job Outlook for CNAs
After you complete a training program you can go on to work in many different types of medical facilities, however, advancement will be limited without ongoing education and training. Because of this, many nurse assistants go on to pursue an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Of course, there are also additional CNA certifications you can obtain that will qualify you for employment in hospitals and specialty areas, but most CNAs, regardless of their additional certifications, will not earn nearly as much annually as a registered nurse.
One huge plus of earning your CNA certification and working in this field is the fact that some of your clinical hours and work hours will go towards the clinical hour requirements in a nursing program.
Some employers will also pay for your ongoing education in exchange for signing an employment contract, which will require you to work as a registered nurse for your employer for a determined amount of time.