Being a nurse is quite rewarding indeed. This is a career that entails professional service to guarantee the well-being of humans. The paycheck is also high. In order to become a qualified nurse, there are some educational requirements to be met. One can either acquire a Bachelor’s Degree, Associate Degree or Diploma to be able to apply for the jobs. This is usually at the entry level. For the higher levels, there are several other factors that come into play. In the past, nurses were also required to take additional tests in order to practice in different states. Many states have now signed the ‘Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement’ which exempts nurses from any extra tests.
Nursing Educational Requirements
Chemistry, Microbiology, Nursing, and Anatomy are some of the subjects to be studied in all the nursing programs. The theory part of the course is covered in class and the practical part in the hospitals. Students are normally required to attend supervised sessions in different departments such as surgery, maternity and psychiatry. After securing employment using the Associate Degree, you can pursue a Bachelor’s Degree to access more job opportunities.
Credit transfer is also allowed for those with Degrees that cover modules related to the nursing field. Each university is usually given the mandate of creating its own selective process of dealing with transfer of credits. Even after graduating, nurses are required to complete several assessments tests periodically. Practices are getting more advanced with time meaning that the job description requires constant amendments.
To practice, all nurses must take the NCLEX-RN (National Licensing Examination). It is computer based and basically seeks to test the knowledge of nurses to determine whether or not they’re qualified to be promoted for the next level.
What to Expect as a Nurse
The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) released a report in 2010 that indicated employment in the nursing industry is expected to grow by 26% after a decade. In addition, the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is predicted to be more marketable than the rest. Some employers have already started implementing policies which advocate for the BSN. However, most employers prefer to hire all qualified nurses and then giving them a time frame for completing the Degree.
The healthcare industry is evolving and the role of Registered Nurses is shifting towards outpatients. This has been brought about by the aging Baby Boomer generation that is need of caregivers. In the hospital setting, nurses work in shifts. Primarily, they’re entrusted with the responsibility of looking after patients and educating them as well. A good rapport must also be built, especially with the patients’ families.
The daily activities of a nurse vary a lot. The work environment ranges from dermatology, cardiac care, geriatric, neurological care, and pediatric. You will be observing the behavior of patients, recording the information and administering medication to them. In a situation that requires a second opinion, you’ll be required to consult with other professionals in the healthcare industry. Additionally, you’ll also be supervising nurse assistants and attending to medical emergencies like burns and heart attacks.
Nursing Career Specializations
There are numerous positions available in the healthcare industry for nurses. Some of the specializations include:
- Chief Nursing Officer- The CNOs are nurses mainly delegated with the job of designing systems of patient care. This includes all aspects of facilitating delivery of the plan. They’re also responsible for ensuring that work relationships are advanced. Chief Nursing Officers also maintain networks with other healthcare facilities.
- Nurse Anesthetist- The job of administering anesthesia during surgery is complex and can only be performed by few medical specialists. Nurse anesthetists possess advanced knowledge and can, therefore, work independently. In normal circumstances, they work under the instructions of qualified anesthesiologists. They also conduct examinations before and after the surgical procedure.
- Critical Care Nurse- These are nurses who work in the ICU. They usually supervise patients admitted in the cardiac, pediatric and neonatal care units. These are normally patients with severe conditions hence require constant supervision.
- Clinical Nurse Manager- These professionals play the managerial role. Their responsibility is to oversee budgets, evaluate the performance of employees and read patients’ records. On top of this, they also collaborate with other professionals in the healthcare industry to ensure that the patient care delivered is of excellent quality.
- Labor and Delivery Nurse- These nurses play the role of midwives. They assist women to deliver children. They also take care of the mother immediately labor pains start kicking in and during the child-bearing process. The baby is also taken care of during birth and afterwards. These professionals are trained to handle all sorts of complications that may arise during child birth.
- Patient Educator- These are nurses who basically provide education to patients. This is with regards to suitable lifestyle choices for an overall improved health status. They work with the patients’ families as well by assisting them in making better decisions. This is achieved through the implementation of preventive care by adopting health behaviors that are positive.
The Earning Outlook for Registered Nurses
According to a survey conducted by the BLS in 2011, salary for nurses varies due to several factors. Level of experience, qualifications, demand and location are all major determinants. On average, the low level nurses receive $59,329 per year while the highly skilled receive $96, 630 per year. Data collected from the entire country reveals that some nurses are enjoying higher salaries than their counterparts. This is despite the fact that they possess similar knowledge and skills. Some states are without doubt faring well than others with top on the list being:
This state is quite lucrative for nurses of all levels regardless of experiences and qualifications. Statistics released by the ‘Physician’s Practice’ indicate that the lowest nurses can expect salary amounting to more than $69,110 per year. The state is ranked on the top when it comes to excellent hourly wages for the nurses. Job growth is anticipated to be at an all time high before 2020. Working here is demanding because the ratio of patients to nurses is overwhelmingly high. However, the laws are favorable and the weather is incredible.
Nurses in Texas are a happy lot when compared to their counterparts in the East. This is because the state has more to offer in terms of job variety, higher wages and educational variety. Hourly rates are higher with nurses receiving approx $68,813 per year on average. Healthcare facilities in Texas are highly ranked in terms of patient care delivery. Studies show that 86% of patients in the region are satisfied with the medical attention they receive from nurses. This is an indication of a happy population of nurses.
The lowest salary nurses get in New York averages $61,283 per year. According to reports, nurses from this region boast of high wages. They are ranked fourth in the entire country. The ratio of patients to nurses is fair and healthcare facilities in the state are of exceptional quality. At the present moment, psychiatric nurses are the most sought after professionals there. Surprisingly, the ‘Code Happy Poll’ released a report that stated only 4% of nurses in New York are extremely happy.