How to Become a Certified Nurse

Nusre and a femal patient

Given that Nursing is currently one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs in the professions global healthcare sector, pursuing a career in Nursing will prove to be both a very profitable and astute decision in the coming years.

Nurses are present in virtually every division and subdivision in the healthcare sector, and as a result, there is a wide range of specializations you can consider as you prepare for a career in Nursing.

While considering a career in nursing, you should be aware that it is an incredibly competitive industry. You will require not only a solid educational background but a passion for healthcare and helping others.

Who is a Nurse?

A Nurse is a highly-skilled healthcare professional responsible for the direct care a patient receives. Their roles are varied and intersect multiple areas of healthcare. They are often the first personnel who attends to a patient and are vital for maintaining a well-rounded holistic treatment and management regimen.

Responsibilities of a Nurse

As a Nurse, you will have to be responsible for;

  1. Recording detailed healthcare histories
  2. Conducting preliminary physical exams
  3. Monitoring and analysing a patient’s physical and emotional needs
  4. Implementing treatment prescribed by the Doctor
  5. Drawing blood and performing other diagnostics tests
  6. Monitoring patient’s vital signs and responsiveness to treatment
  7. Coordinating patient’s care between health providers, physicians, and specialists

Skills required in Nursing

  1. Attention to detail – As a nurse, you must be detailed oriented in order to effectively perform your duties. With a single seemingly inconsequential action or miscalculation being able to have massive and sometimes tragic repercussions to a patient’s care and treatment, Nurses are expected to be incredibly detail-oriented to ensure they perform their duties effectively.
  2. Ethics – You must approach every dilemma and decision with a strong ethical framework in order to properly treat every patient with dignity.
  3. Adaptability – Whether in a hospital, clinic, school, etc, the nature and response to a patient’s needs and care can change at any second. As a Nurse, you are expected to be able to adjust yourself to changing healthcare dynamics.
  4. Critical Thinking – During the course of any working day, you will be faced with a myriad of crucial decisions relating to patient care, administration, and interpersonal relations. Your ability as a Nurse to rapidly assess a situation, find the most appropriate solution, and apply it deftly and often times discreetly is a very important skill.
  5. Empathy – As important as critical thinking is in nursing, it is often most effective when applied with empathy.
  6. Communication – No matter how proficient you are at your job, your skill and talent can often not serve you without effective communication. As a Nurse, you will often have to serve as an intermediary between the doctors, patients, relatives, lab technicians, and other healthcare providers. Your ability to communicate the needs and wishes of all these individuals, as well as your own professional opinions, with each other is crucial.
  7. Resilience – In your career in Nursing, you will face long hours, uncooperative patients, overbearing relatives, dismissive health care professionals, and many more. Your ability to build and maintain your mental and physical stamina is crucial to enjoying a long and successful nursing career .

Nurse attending to a male patient

Educational Requirements for a career in Nursing

To begin your career in Nursing, you will need either a diploma or a bachelor’s degree. Employment opportunities vary depending on which path you decide to take but more and more employers are requiring you to hold at least a BSc minimum in Nursing. Below are some reputable universities that can help kickstart your Nursing career.

  1. Florida Atlantic University, United States of America – established in the year 1961, Florida Atlantic University is a public university in Boca Raton, Florida, with five satellite campuses in the Florida cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort, Lauderdale, Jupiter, and in Fort Pierce at the Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institution. Their degree program is designed to prepare students for a competitive Nursing career and equip them as working professional nurses who are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to secure licensure as a registered nurse. Florida Atlantic University is ranked 47th as the best Nursing School in the United States. Tuition for international students is $67,000.
  2. University of Dundee, Scotland – The University of Dundee’s BSc Nursing program prepares you to care for individuals with a range of health conditions in settings such as hospitals, homes, and nursing homes. It aims to help you develop into a compassionate and knowledgeable registered nurse, ready to take on the exciting challenge of working in any modern healthcare environment. The University offers courses at BSc and MSc levels. It is ranked within the top 300 universities in the world and top 40 in the United Kingdom by national university rankings. You can choose between on-campus and distant learning options available at the institution. The University of Dundee is ranked 3rd among Nursing schools in the UK and 11th for student satisfaction. Tuition for international students comes in at around $23,000.
  3. The University of Massachusetts, United States of America – The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing offers the benefits and resources of a large, prestigious research university along with the College’s small classes, sense of community, caring faculty and staff, and state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. The Nursing faculty includes renowned professors whose widely published research puts them at the forefront of their fields and enriches the quality of their teaching. Offering undergraduate, MSc, Ph.D., and post master’s programs, the University of Massachusetts in Boston is an excellent place to begin your Nursing Career. The Tuition for International Students is $56,400.

Types of Nurses

  1. Registered Nurse (RN) – To become a Registered Nurse (RN), you will need to have a diploma or associate’s degree minimum or BSc. You will have to pass The National Council Licensure Examination NCLEX-RN and any other certification necessary in your state. As a Registered Nurse, you will interact directly with the patients and be responsible for Basic care, Management of Care, Administration of treatment, Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies, Risk Reduction, and other duties.
  2. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – As an LPN you will be under the authority of a Registered Nurse. You will report changes in patient care, perform basic care needs, and other minor duties. LPNs usually go through a year of study and obtain a certificate.
  3. Nurse Practitioner (NP) – As a Nurse Practitioner, you will operate on a higher level of patient care than Registered Nurses and be given greater authority and autonomy regarding patient care. You will be able to prescribe medication, administer physical exams, diagnose illnesses, and provide advanced medical treatment similar to a doctor. To become a Nurse practitioner, you will need to obtain an MSc or Ph.D. in Nursing and pass the NCLEX.
  4. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – As a Certified Nursing Assistant, you will help patients with daily tasks, such as bathing and feeding. You will also answer patient calls, clean rooms, prepare rooms for admission, and will also be responsible for recording information and reporting issues to a Nurse. To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, you will be required to obtain a Nursing Assistant Certificate or Diploma and that the necessary certification exam.

Job Outlook for Nurses

Nursing is seen as one of the most in-demand jobs in the healthcare sector. Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow by 12% at the end of 2028 and demand for Nurse Practitioners is expected to grow 36% between 2016 and 2026.

With the fallout of the recent Corona Virus pandemic still being felt around the world, Nurses are expected to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.

Typical Employers of Nurses

Nurses can work in almost every area where a healthcare professional is needed. In a career in nursing, you can work in various healthcare settings including Acute Care, Critical Care, Outpatient Care, Public Health, Mental Health.

The following are examples of typical employers of Nurses:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Clinics
  3. Sporting teams
  4. Hospices
  5. Schools
  6. Community health centres
  7. Private Clients

Salary Estimates for Nurses

  • com estimates the annual salary for a Registered Nurse to be between $50,000 – $80,000 depending on location and level of experience.
  • As a Nurse Practitioner, you can average between $90,000 – $130,000 a year, according to salary.com, depending on location and level of experience.
  • According to salary.com, you can average between $40,000 – $60,000 a year as a Licensed Practical Nurse, depending on your location and level of experience.
  • com estimates that Certified Nursing Assistants average between $20,000 – $42,000 a year depending on location and level of experience

A Nurse playing with an adult patient

Postgraduate Options for Rehabilitation Counsellors

In order to specialize and increase your employment value, it is important that you possess an MSc or Ph.D. in Nursing. Alternatively, you might decide to begin your Nursing career with a diploma and later decide to become a Registered Nurse, in that case, you will need to apply for programs to help you obtain a degree in nursing.

The following are degrees you can get;

  1. Doctor in Nursing Practice (DNP), Washington State University – The degree is a clinical doctorate, as opposed to the research-focused Ph.D., and is designed to prepare students for a career as a Nurse Practitioner. The program is designed for licensed RNs with a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in nursing. The program usually consists of 33 to 43 credits and at least 500 clinical practice hours. This can translate to one to two years of full-time coursework and two to three years of study on a part-time basis. The tuition costs $49,000 for international students.
  2. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), University of South Florida – The Master of Science in Nursing is suited for students who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and wish to further broaden the scope of their knowledge. You can expect to spend approximately 18, 25, or 36 months in an MSN program. The tuition for international students is $33,000.
  3. Master’s in Advancing Practice, Robert Gordon University – The postgraduate degree is suited to experienced Nurses looking to gain contemporary knowledge to take forward the rapidly changing primary care agenda. It presents a critical, innovative, and reflective approach to addressing the healthcare needs of individuals, families, carers, groups, and communities. The program costs $16,000 for international students.

Careers Related to Nursing

  1. Occupational Therapy Assistant – An Occupational Therapy Assistant works under the direction of an Occupational Therapist (OTR/OT). They assist patients unable to perform daily activities due to various illnesses, injuries, or disabilities. Their duties include treating patients by using therapeutic and self-care activities designed to improve function under the direction of the occupational therapist, monitoring a patient’s activities to make sure they are performing them correctly, documenting patient’s weekly progress in relevant records, maintaining office treatment areas, equipment, and supply inventory, etc. To become an Occupational Therapy Assistant, you will need to obtain an associate’s degree in occupational therapy assisting and pass the necessary certification exams. The annual salary for occupational assistants is estimated at $50,000.
  2. Respiratory Therapist – Respiratory Therapists are healthcare professionals whose main focus is the assessment, analysis, and management of health conditions involving the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory Therapists usually work as part of a team involved in the patient’s care. They are responsible for managing mechanical ventilation systems, administering aerosol-based medications, monitoring equipment related to cardiopulmonary therapy, educating individuals in cardiopulmonary health, etc. To become a Respiratory Therapist, you will need to obtain a degree or diploma in Respiratory Care and then pass a credentialing exam. The estimated annual salary for Respiratory Therapists is estimated at $60,000.
  3. Medical Assistant – Medical Assistants are multi-skilled personnel who perform either administrative or basic care duties in hospitals, clinics, or healthcare centres. They have a wide range of responsibilities including filing patient records, arranging lab services for patients, moving patients to and from locations in the facility, prepping patients for examinations, monitoring and recording vital signs, answering phones, etc. You can become a Medical Assistant by obtaining a Diploma or a Certificate. Certificate courses for Medical Assistants can take anywhere from six weeks to 12 months and can cost between $2000 to $12,000. Annual income for Medical Assistants is estimated at $35,000.

 

 

 

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