A career in the healthcare field is a spiritually fulfilling and financially-rewarding path. But over the past decade, the number of registered nurses around the globe have surged. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, there are more than 19 million nurses and midwives currently active. To compete in this highly saturated job market, one must possess not just the right academic background but solid soft skills and personality as well.
Prepare the Prerequisites
High school should be your starting point. While you don’t necessarily have to take specific subjects to be able to apply for a nursing major, honing your technical knowledge and skills as early as possible builds a good foundation for college. Tailor your high school schedule with classes in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language. The latter is ideal if you plan on practicing nursing care overseas. Recommended science subjects include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.
Invest in Nursing Programs
Due to the apparently increasing number of software and hardware changes in the healthcare field, the need for specialized training has led employers to look for candidates who have an IT background. If you are still in high school, use this as a head start towards a lifelong career in nursing. Apply for computer science courses in your high school and then pursue a nursing informatics program right after you graduate. Nursing informatics deals with the design, creation, and testing of new and modified data solutions that the facility uses.
Get an Associate’s Degree
Although not as prestigious as a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree in nursing puts you at a faster track to work. It takes two to three years of study and allows you to apply for the NCLEX-Registered Nurse examination, which grants a license to work as an RN in the country, granted of course that you pass the test. A similar track you can take is an LPN program, which allows you to work in the profession after as short as one year of study. Of course, you’ll still need to take and pass the NCLEX-Practical Nurse examination.
Determine Eligibility for Financial Aid
The cost of your nursing program will vary depending on several factors, such as whether you’re taking an RN-BSN or LPN program and the school and state you are planning to apply in. Typical tuition fees per semester for full-time in-state students will range between $870 to $1,020. Add to this estimate other expenses like books and lodging and you might find yourself knee-deep in debt.
The educational path to becoming a registered nurse is long and challenging, from the financial expenses that can lock you into debt to sleepless nights of thesis papers and on-the-job training. Nevertheless, making it to the end is a worthwhile endgame to pursue.