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    All about nursing school: Knowledge & Tips from a True Care RN

    August 11, 2023

    As the backbone of healthcare, nurses care not only for their patients but also for their patient’s families. If you’ve decided to take on the role of nursing, you are well on your way towards becoming part of the largest share of health care jobs in the United States, and playing a vital role in medical facilities and their communities.  

    From ensuring the most accurate diagnoses to the ongoing education of the public about critical health issues; nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health. Read along as we discuss the path towards becoming a nurse with special insight from True Care nurse Laura S., MSN, RN, CDP, WCC, on what it truly means to fill this valuable and heroic role.

    The Nursing path– different types of nursing careers:

    There are many paths to becoming a Registered Nurse. For instance, you can start as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and then work towards becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), earn an Associate degree in nursing (ADN) or Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and then sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) immediately upon graduation, or take an alternative route. You can also change nursing specialties once you’ve started your career. Whatever path you choose, it could be useful to explore your options.

    While there are different degree programs you can choose, becoming a nurse is ultimately about what type of license you have–you can have a Bachelor’s degree, for instance, but you will still need to pass the NCLEX to earn an RN degree. Check out the box below for the differences between the 4 primary pathways into nursing:

    Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): CNAs help patients with activities of daily living and other healthcare needs under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). This license requires a 4-12 week state-approved training program.LPN: LPNs responsibilities are more limited than an RN. They monitor patients’ health and administer basic patient care. This license requires the completion of a 12-15 month diploma program or a 2 year Associate's Degree program.ADN-RN: ADNs work directly with patients, monitor and record vital signs, administer medication and provide medical guidance. This degree requires a 2-3 year Associate’s degree program, followed by NCLEX licensing exam to earn your RN license.BSN-RN:  BSN nurses are qualified for more complex procedures and more leadership opportunities than ADNs. They also have more opportunities for career advancement and specialization. This degree requires the completion of a 4-5 year Bachelor’s degree program followed by NCLEX licensing exam to earn your RN license.

    Laura found her will to start her nursing journey from her love of  guiding people in the process to find their new home as a real estate broker. Since then, she knew that helping people was important to her but she was looking for something more meaningful. Once she decided on nursing school, the first step she took was determining if any of the credits she had taken in high school could be applied towards the prerequisites for nursing school. To do so, she met with a student advisor to review her background and apply any college credits that she has taken as a high school senior towards her nursing degree, as she did not have any college experience prior to starting nursing school. 

    Nursing Obstacles:

    When Laura first graduated from nursing school she had trouble finding a job. She couldn’t work nights and she didn’t have childcare to work 12-hour shifts. She began with a staffing agency administering flu shots. She saw it as a great opportunity to get her feet wet and interact with patients independently for the first time. She then found her first job in home care, which better accommodated her child care and hours conflict. Though she loved the thought right away,  there were still obstacles.

    When pursuing a nursing degree or license, one is likely to be busy with lectures, labs, assignments and projects. Nursing students can expect many hours of reading, independent case studies and presentations during their time at school. The curriculum can be rigorous and fast-paced, making multitasking and time-management a must. Following obtaining a degree, Long hours have been one of many consistent challenges for nurses. They typically have demanding schedules because nursing is a 24/7, round-the-clock job. These long hours can also mean working overtime, several 12-hour shifts in a row or being on-call.

    Home care nursing also proves to have its challenges, with little control over the conditions of the homes they work in. This situation can look different for any HHA or caregiver. Though limited resources can provide unique challenges for homecare nurses, some challenges can be faced by any nurse, such as:

    • Witnessing loss
    • Exposure to bacteria & viruses
    • Physical demands

    For Laura, she faced the obstacle of finding herself with minimal support and training. She also struggled with reaching people at her office of employment to ask questions or resolve issues. However, she feels lucky to still be in home care many years later and have the ability to provide the training and support for other nurses, understanding how important this is to be successful in the career.

    Joys of Nursing:

    There are many opportunities and advantages that come with joining the trusted profession of nursing. One of the first being the opportunity to help others. Whether it be through providing direct health care to patients or educating people on necessary topics such as vaccination, disorders, mental health, and more, as a nurse, you will always be playing an instrumental role in helping society. 

    Laura’s favorite aspect of  nursing is talking to the clients about their lives, where they grew up, what type of work they used to do and other amazing stories about their hobbies and families. She tries to make every interaction between her and the client about more than just their disability or health issues, hoping to learn something from every client she has the pleasure of working with. One of her most meaningful experiences was when she cared for a holocaust survivor who was a patient for the first time. Since then, she’s cared for several more holocaust survivors and other people who lived in Europe during World War II, humbled each time by their bravery and resilience. 

    Is Nursing for you?

    While these options and insights are true, they’re just that, options and insights. Deciding on whether you want to be a nurse or not should be entirely according to you, your preferences, personality, and priorities. Some pros might be cons to some and vice versa. And so, whatever you do choose, let it be after careful thought and consideration.

    Laura’s advice for anyone working towards a nursing degree is to expect it to be a really hard road, but not impossible. You should expect to study many hours every single day and join study groups whenever possible, especially if you are like Laura and have no medical background and no previous college experience. To this day she remains very grateful that she chose nursing because it gives her everything she’d hoped for and much more. Being a nurse has taught her that healthcare interactions are about trust and respect and that all people, no matter the situation, deserve empathy and understanding. 

    While she admits that sometimes it's hard to separate her own feelings and experiences from her clients, and it can be really difficult to fully listen to the client, she credits working on her mindfulness and self-awareness as the way to  improve and give the clients the experience that they deserve. Laura’s nursing degree has impacted her life in ways that she could have never anticipated, shaping her life and the lives of her family members. 


    The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. 

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