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Are you considering Nursing as a career option?

Nursing is a profession with unlimited opportunities because of the versatile roles that nurses play in our community. There is a profile to suit just about every aspirant in the nursing field and gratify their serving mentality.

How to be a nurse?

Before one can rush off to care for the sick and dying, one has to prepare for the licensing exam required to practice in one’s state.

 

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The Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) program which is for duration of two years is the minimal study required to qualify for the registered nurse licensing exam. It is usually offered in community colleges. For managerial positions and for specialty units like the intensive care unit (ICU) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing (BSN) program is usually required but not mandatory. Graduates of the BSN programs take the same licensure exam as the ADN graduates which is the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Exam –Registered Nurse) exam. Online accredited BSN programs are also an option for students with work experience as an RN or CNA for at least a year. Some online universities have an on-campus site as well like the University of Phoenix while some are exclusively online like the Western Governors University which is an excellent online university for working individuals with affordable pricing as well.

Accreditation

Accreditation is very important while selecting the right institute or program for Nursing. The National League for Nursing (NLN) council, all of whom are nurse educators, conducts a comprehensive evaluation of all the aspects of the program and makes reports based on the study. Accreditation is usually granted for 8 years. There is a separate NLN Council for each type of program, for example, the NLN Council for Associate Degree Program sets its standards. Students should be aware of the importance of accreditation by NLN council because usually the universities and employers require that the student or candidate be from an accredited program. In fact, financial aid also depends on this factor. (Cherry & Jacob 76-77)

Median pay for nurses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics government website states that the median pay for nurses as per the statistics for year 2010 is $64,690 which is $31.10 per hour. This is the pay for a staff nurse with an associate degree in nursing. As one specializes and pursues further education and certifications required for a specialized unit, the pay will increase as also with experience.

Nursing roles

There is a plethora of nursing jobs to choose from including bedside nursing, GI lab, doctor’s clinics, community health nurse, school nurse, ICU nurse, pediatric nurse, NICU nurse, labor and delivery nurse, emergency room, operating room, staff training, nurse educator, triage nurse, mobile intensive care unit (MICU). All these jobs have one thing in common. They require certification depending on the area they work in.

Certifications

In addition to the college degrees, a nurse must acquire basic certification like the Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare which trains the learner in implementing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in emergency situations. There are BLS courses catered for the healthcare professionals as well as for the general public. Consider the example of 20 year old Lucas McKinney who had just completed his EMT and CPR/BLS course. Working part-time at Lowe’s he immediately went into action when a customer fainted. He said it was the first time he implemented CPR. This timely action and knowledge of CPR helped save the life of the customer.

In addition to the BLS a pediatric nurse would have to acquire Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course, a NICU nurse should have the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), a nurse working with cardiac patients and in the ICU would require the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

Certifications are usually good for only two years due to the wealth of information and updated technology that calls for constant revision of existing techniques. Therefore, it is necessary to re-certify the same course every two years.

Sun Maag writes for HealthEdSolutions.com – a leading provider of online certification and recertification for advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) courses.

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