Date Published: July 6, 2022
Before enrolling in nursing school, it is important to reflect on if this path is a good fit for you. To determine this, you’ll first need to educate yourself on what the nursing career truly entails. Here are some ways you can learn about the different paths to becoming a nurse and the different criteria to decide if a career in nursing is right for you.
- Do your research
Just like any other job, there are many things to consider about the profession itself when thinking about a career in nursing. You should realistically assess if nursing is the right opportunity for you based on all of the different parts of the job.
Some criteria to take into consideration are:
- Your skills and interests
- Certifications and degrees needed
- Job market
- Roles and responsibilities
- Work-life balance
- Other professional priorities
Remember that it’s not enough to consider one of these aspects without the rest; all of these factors work together to make up a career in nursing, so think through all of them when considering this career choice.
- Consider the different paths
There are many ways nurses can be certified to practice. Each require different licenses, skillsets, and responsibilities. Below are just a few of the opportunities that exist.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): Licensed practical nurses, known in some states as licensed vocational nurses, work under the guidance of both physicians and registered nurses. Some of their daily duties include bedside care, taking vital signs, and laboratory testing.
Registered Nurse (RN): Registered nurses are responsible for many roles, but they’re primarily responsible for patient care. Each day is hands on, from administering medication and treatment to performing diagnostic tests and analyzing the results. There are three-degree paths associated with becoming a RN:
- Associate of Science Degree in Nursing (ADN) – This degree path typically takes two years to complete.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – A BSN degree program typically takes four years to complete.
- Nursing Diploma/Certificate – Diploma programs are often associated with a hospital or provider. The duration of this degree path will vary.
Related read: Is a career in nursing for you?
- Check out the admissions process
Depending on the degree you are striving for and your location, the admission process into nursing school can look very different from program to program. Before committing to applying, make sure you look into what will be required of you for various programs. (For example, will you have to take the TEAS exam?)
Pro tip: Research the schools that are most likely to fit with your budget, living situation, and any other relevant factors, and apply to the schools that work best with your personal circumstances. You’re more likely to get accepted and have options when you apply to more than one school.
Check out our article “What to expect when applying to nursing school” for some tips on all the things you should look out for as a part of the admissions process.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to selecting nursing as a career path, but luckily there are tons of resources to help you get started and support you along the way. Check out the Pre-Nursing Prep and Nursing School Success sections of our blog for more helpful advice from the pros, and join us on Facebook to connect with other students who might be considering a career in nursing, just like you!