Want To Become A Nurse? Here’s How!
Right now, you’re just a sophomore in high school. You’re not really thinking about a long term future because you’re still, in some ways, a kid. Adult responsibility of career, bills, housing and food are light years away to you. But you really should give it some thought, because as any adult in your life will attest, time flies a lot quicker than you think. Three years from now is not the time to start thinking about major life choices.
So how about becoming a nurse? In this day and age, even male nurses are in demand, as a lot of men who seek care in a hospital or hospice setting would rather be cared for by a male than a female for obvious comfort zone reasons. Dominated by females, nursing is great as a career choice by girls too. The money you make as a nurse depends on the level of nursing and the education you pursue.
What Classes To Take To Become A Nurse?
In high school, right now, the best preparations begin with courses in biology and anatomy, and if you’re lucky and your school is in a major city, you might be able to take physiology too. Courses in chemistry and/or biochemistry are an added plus. Some mathematics are involved, as you will have to convert dry and wet items from the standard weights and measurements to the metric system in nursing ALL the time. Keyboarding and office applications classes are particularly useful as all documentation in the last ten years has moved to computer systems. Of utmost importance is your grades; high marks in all your courses and graduating from high school with a G.P.A. of at least 3.0 is necessary for you to enter into any nursing program in a local college, tech school or vocational college. Graduating with honors or high honors will guarantee you your school of choice.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Nurse?
Next, if you’d like to be a nurse’s aid, which is the bottom rung in nursing and generally means you do all the grunt work, a three week on site course in a nursing home or a six week course at the local technical college will give you the certification you need. Be aware that this means an hourly rate of $8-$12/hour once you find work. For a single person this isn’t bad, but it’s murder on your body and results in injuries if you’re not careful about rolling people over in bed, lifting them, or making other physical comfort adjustments for your patients. You will also come in contact with more urine, BM, vomit, oral unpleasantness, and genital areas than you ever wanted to see in your entire life. If you can stomach this and find a rewarding career in it, then you can stop here. The sad thing is, even though you provide the most personal care to the patients and are their first link in a long chain of healthcare professionals caring for them, you’re not considered a nurse by most of the nursing and medical professionals above you. This amount of disrespect is often flagrant and unpleasant, but your patients will tell you how much they appreciate all your help, and sometimes that really balances things out.
The next rung on the nursing career ladder is the Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. An LPN gets their career training from a college program that usually runs about six months to a year, depending on where you attend. An LPN’s job involves passing meds, acting as the go between for nurses’ aids, making recommendations for care, and handling injections and other jobs not left for the nurses’ aids. More respect is given to an LPN because they pay to be licensed as a nurse in the state they practice in. They earn $14-$21/hour, which is quite a bit for a single person, but you will have many more responsibilities than a nurse’s aid that will not involve the unpleasantness of personal cares. You may even work longer hours or be required to work overtime.
The highest rung in nursing is the Registered Nurse. These ladies and gentlemen make the most money, before any specialization, than any other type of nursing. It requires between two years for an Associate’s Degree to four or more years for a Bachelor’s Degree to become a Registered Nurse. Registered Nurses tend to wounds, irrigate open, pus-filled sores, bandage areas of the body, assist doctors in emergency rooms, prep bodies for surgery, and a whole host of other major responsibilities. It is an extremely stressful career, and many nurses develop Alzheimer’s later in life because of Alzheimer’s link to jobs with extreme stress. However, you can make up to $35/hour in this line of work, so you have to decide if the trade-offs of mental health and potential degeneration are worth it. It is important to note, that Registered Nurses appear on state registries and have to pay for their registration and licensing every year, which can be costly. More importantly you can be sued like a doctor for malpractice if a patient deems you were negligent in their care, and many registered nurses carry professional insurance which is also costly. This position has the greatest respect though, so maybe if you’re a natural born leader it’s right for you.
LPNs and nurses’ aids both have to continue their education annually. That means they have to take more nursing classes every year to keep their licenses and certifications. Often that means twelve to twenty-four credits must be achieved, depending on the state you live in. Some employers are nice enough to reimburse you for this and even let you take days off to take classes, some are not. You just have to do your homework when it comes to accepting a job with an employer.
Lastly, any one of these basic nursing positions can be turned into a specialized field that pays more. E.g., a nurse’s aid can work in the cardiac area of a hospital and earn more respect and money. It’s worth considering.
Look for nursing scholarships for high school seniors here.
Most related articles: