If you have always wanted a career where you can give back to your community and help others, becoming a nurse could be the right thing for you. It’s an incredibly rewarding career, with job security, good salaries, many opportunities for progression, as well as being a career that will challenge you. If this all sounds appealing to you, perhaps it’s time to start looking into how you can become a nurse? Below are a few simple steps and tips for you to use to get started on your nursing career journey.
1. College Education
You will need to get a degree in nursing to get your license and be accepted for an entry-level role as a registered nurse. There are plenty of colleges that offer excellent nursing degree programs to choose from, so it should be easy to find one that suits you. Usually, it can take 4-years to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you could look at accelerated BSN programs to help you move into nursing quicker if you don’t want to spend another 4-years at college.
2. Nursing Apprenticeships
If you want a more flexible approach to your learning to qualify to become a nurse, consider looking into nursing apprenticeship opportunities in your area. This is a great way to study and get paid work experience while you complete your qualifications to become an RN. For those that can’t afford to work reduced hours, or are worried about paying high tuition fees, this is a great alternative path into nursing. However, it can be very competitive to get a place on these apprenticeship schemes, so be prepared to work hard on your application.
Volunteering is not only a great way to get some additional experience, but it also looks impressive on your resume as it shows how dedicated you are to your career and helping others. You could volunteer with a healthcare charity abroad for a year if you would like to combine learning new skills with traveling. Or perhaps ask your local healthcare clinic if there are any opportunities available with them? Any additional experience you can get will help you stand out as an applicant when it comes to searching for jobs once you’re qualified.
4. Find a Mentor
Either during your studies, apprenticeship, or when you start in an entry-level role as an RN, consider finding someone at work to be your mentor. Some hospitals or clinics will have mentorship programs in place, and you should find out more about how you can get involved if they do. Having a mentor will help you feel more supported as you train to be a nurse, or get to grips with your new role. They can offer you feedback on your performance and could even advise you on the different career paths you could take later on. They could also help you when it comes to networking opportunities or applying to new vacancies.
5. Think Ahead
There are many options for nurses when it comes to choosing career paths, and although you might change your mind later on, it’s always worth thinking ahead about what direction you might want to take your career in. For example, do you like working with the elderly? Then perhaps geriatrics nursing could be something you specialize in? You could find employment at a nursing home or be a private nurse who makes house calls? Take some time to explore the different opportunities available to you to help you plan out your career path.
Both during your studies and once you become a qualified, employed nurse, make sure you’re taking the opportunity to network professionally. You can join online forums to keep up to date with the latest news in your area, and to make contacts at various healthcare centers there and further afield. Spending time with your colleagues will also help you to become a more established member of the team and perhaps give you a better chance of being considered for promotions or other career-enhancing opportunities.
7. Further Training
Finally, once you have received your nursing degree, consider finding out about further training opportunities, or enrolling in a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner. You must be willing to keep learning as a nurse, so actively seeking to improve your performance and boost your skillset will help you enormously in your career.
If you have always wanted to become a nurse or have recently been considering it as a career option, use the tips above to help you get your career started.