The first thing you should do if you are planning on becoming a nurse is to sit down with a nursing recruiter. This is true even if you are sure that nursing is the career for you and you have spoken with nurses about the day-to-day work that they do. A recruiter has broad experience and will help you steer your career in the right direction. This person can help you choose the right nursing program and school for you.
Some of the questions a recruiter will ask include what area of nursing you prefer and what you expect to obtain through your training. Through your answers, the recruiter will be able to determine your career as a nurse, and how you can reach the goals you have set for yourself. A recruiter is exceedingly familiar with the job market for nursing and the qualifications and skills required. This person will be able to set you on the right path, so you can get the job you truly want.
Different types of nurses
By talking things over with a nurse recruiter, you will gain more information about the different areas that exist within the nursing profession. You will be better prepared to make a decision.
A CNA is a certified nursing assistant working in a hospital, a home health aide or a home health assistant. You will be working under a registered nurse. There are opportunities to work in a hospital, long-term care facility or even in a private home with this certification.
LPN stands for licensed practical nurse. Sometimes this position is referred to as LVN (licensed vocational nurse). Again, you would work under the supervision of an RN or a doctor.
The position of a registered nurse is one that requires advanced training. As an RN, you will perform nursing duties as well as assume responsibility for supervising other nursing staff such as CNA’s and LPN’s. You will care for patients, offering comfort, administering medication and keeping patient documentation up to date.
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is a requirement to become a nurse practitioner. It means more educational training and experience, along with more responsibility. In this role, you bridge the gap between nurse and doctor, as well as prescribe medication, interpret results of diagnostic tests and make diagnoses.
Set your priorities for your nursing career. Determine where you want to work, and the type of salary you want to earn. If you have a preference in a specific region in which you want to work, the recruiter will give you an idea of the job opportunities that exist in that location. You might even want to consider becoming a travel nurse.
If nursing salary is critical to you, the recruiter will help you explore the various areas of specialty to determine what opportunities exist in each one. You may need to relocate in order to achieve this goal.
Although there is a severe nursing shortage in the US, not all areas are affected. A nursing recruiter will be able to give you specifics about the parts of the country where the need is greatest, as well as areas that you should avoid because there are no job openings. In this way, you will know where to focus your efforts.
Areas of Specialty in Nursing
Gain information about the various specialties that exist within nursing. In this way, you can plan the educational route you want to take. For example, if your main interest lies in working with children; you might want to become an obstetric nurse, a pediatric nurse or a neonatal nurse. If your interest lies in working with the elderly, you might want to consider becoming a geriatric nurse. There are other options to look at that involve specific medical conditions. You can consider becoming a cardiac nurse, an operating room nurse, a critical care nurse or an oncology nurse.
The salary you can expect as a nurse will depend on your education and experience. LPN’s and LVN’s earn an average annual salary of $42,000. RN’s earn about $65,000 per year. These numbers come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov), a division of the US Department of Labor.
You can get a better idea of what your income possibilities are when you look at the area of nursing and the location in which you want to practice. Contact a nursing recruiter before you start your training.