How long does it take to become a nurse?
Becoming a medical professional is an exciting and rewarding career and as such jobs in the medical field are first on the list as the top occupations. One particular area of interest is nursing. There is a high demand for nurses especially registered nurses and a great deal of high school students, mostly females (according to recent statistics), will pursue a career in nursing. So how long does it take to be a nurse?
The field of nursing encompasses many areas. Although you may enter a community college that offers a two year program and receive an associate degree, it is recommended you seek a four year college and receive a bachelors degree, as the field can be competitive. It is not as easy to enter the field as some may think. There is a shortage of educators and thus only a small number of students may be accepted at a time. Sometimes out of hundreds of applications only 25 students are selected once a year and even a great deal of the community colleges have waiting lists. Something to keep in mind is that a student must have all of the per-requisites including English, Math, and Science. All in all the two year programs are competitive since only a limited amount of students may enter the program and in some cases an NLN (National League for Nursing) test is administered to determine the students capability of completing the program.
The time it takes to become a registered nurse varies. An associate’s degree consists of classroom education in the areas like psychology, human anatomy, physical fitness, and on-site clinical rotations at local healthcare institutions. The curriculum may change according to state regulations. Some students may decide to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Licensed practical nurse’s require approximately a year to 16 months to receive a diploma. They record vital signs, take blood pressure, pulse, respiration and give injections. LPN’s, as they are called, work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors. After receiving a diploma, LPN’s may take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse) for the license and must pass the exam to work as an LPN.
Registered nurses that pursue a bachelor’s degree have may more options for employment. In order to obtain a bachelor’s degree a student must be proficient in the areas of chemistry, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, psychology and other more advanced areas. Bachelor degree programs also include training in critical thinking, communication and leadership. The programs include clinical supervised training at local hospital departments such as: pediatrics, surgery, maternity and psychiatry. Registered nurses have many options in employment such as health departments, physician offices, hospice and other areas. This can lead to nursing in the operating and emergency rooms, which pays more and is considered a higher level of nursing.
A registered nurse may also pursue further education and become a nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner will complete the graduate level which is a master’s degree or doctorate degree although they still must ultimate pass the same national board tests in order to practice.
A lot of students may start their medical career by becoming a nursing assistant or medical assistant before pursuing a degree in nursing. There’s much to consider before becoming a nurse. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to complete the education but also, these same skills will be required after graduation. If you take health occupations in high school, ask your health occupation’s teacher how long does it take to be a nurse and colleges and universities you may consider applying to.
How long does it take to become a nurse really depends on your career aspirations, which can lead you from about 18 months to nearly 6 years. Good luck!