Nursing is a profession that is becoming increasingly popular with men, and this is for a good reason. Few professions are as rewarding as nursing as you get to make a big difference in people’s lives, work in the healthcare system, and face new challenges each day. Of course, nursing is also a profession that can be extremely stressful, upsetting, and demanding, but this is all part of the experience, and many find it more to be a way of life than a job. So, if you want to get started with a career in nursing, then how can you go about doing this?
Choose A Path
One of the first things to do will be to pick a career path as nursing is a very large field with many different areas to consider. You can start as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and then find areas to specialize in, such as pediatrics or critical care, and progress to more senior positions like a nurse administrator. It can be daunting at first but spend some time researching online and think about work that you would feel passionate about doing.
Work/Volunteer in A Hospital
You do not have to, but many people find it helpful to work or volunteer in a hospital to get an idea of what working in this environment is like, as it is quite unlike. You may find some work as an orderly, but even admin or reception work will be valuable. In addition to allowing you to dip your toe in the water, you should also find that this could help your future applications to stand out as it shows that you have some relevant experience.
Speak to Students & Nurses
It is a good idea to speak to nursing students and practicing nurses before you get started. This is so that you can determine whether or not this is the right profession for you and to get some tips – nursing is unlike any other profession, so it is always helpful to speak to those that are already working in this field to get a clearer idea of what it will entail and what to expect. If you are unable to find people to speak to, the internet can be a good resource, and it should not be too hard to find online nursing communities to become a part of (this is also helpful for networking).
Take an Accelerated BSN
You will need a qualification to start your nursing career, and there are a few options here. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a great option that can open more doors than other qualifications; plus, you can find an online nursing degree for non nurses that will see you complete 62 hours of nursing coursework online along with clinical experience in the field. These accelerated programs will teach you all that you need to know and help you to kick start your nursing career.
Once you have completed your course, you will then need to get licensed before you can begin practicing as a nurse. You will need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination, which is a computerized test, and after this, you will then be able to obtain your license to practice (how you do this varies between states).
You will now be able to start looking for work as a nurse. Nurses are currently high in demand, which means that hopefully, you will be able to find entry-level work in your area, but you may also need to look further afield. While there is high demand, keep in mind that it is competitive, so you will need to work on your application and interview skills and find ways to make your application stand out from the crowd, such as voluntary work or additional qualifications.
Continue to Study
Leading on from this, you will want to continue studying if you want to advance your career and specialize your knowledge. This will involve a master’s degree, which will help you develop into more specialized areas, such as nurse anesthetists or nurse-midwives. If you want to go further still, you will want to enter a doctoral program. In addition to these qualifications, there are also more certifications such as nursing management, which can help to bolster your resume. You do not have to continue to study, but if you want to climb the ladder and command a high salary, then this will be essential.
Find A Mentor
It is also a good idea in the early stages of your career to find a mentor that can provide help, support, and advice during these early stages of your career. Mentors are always useful in any industry, but especially in one which is as demanding, stressful, and competitive as nursing, and a mentor could even help you open new doors for you through their professional network.
Network as Much as Possible
Following this point, to succeed as a nurse, you will need to develop a large professional network, which means that you need to make an effort to get to know as many people as possible, whether this is while you are working at industry events or online. This helps improve your professional reputation, meeting new people that could support you, and opening new doors.
Look After Yourself
One final point is that you need to make sure that you are looking after yourself throughout these stages. Life can be tough as a nurse as the work can be upsetting and stressful, you work long hours, and the stakes are always high. This means that you need to make sure that you look after yourself and make the most of your time off not to burn out and stay passionate.
Nursing is a noble profession and one which can provide amazing levels of job satisfaction. Hopefully, this post will help you to get the ball rolling on your nursing career and help you to find work.