Have you always wanted to be a nurse, but didn’t believe you had the time or money for a four-year degree? Are you an LPN or paramedic who wants to take the next step to obtain your RN license? Then an associate’s degree in nursing is just what you’ve been looking for!
Before you begin your studies, think about whether you have what it takes to be a nurse. Of course, if you are already an LPN or paramedic, you have plenty of experience. If you are new to the medical field, however, ask yourself: Did I enjoy my science classes in school? Am I observant, responsible, and detail oriented? Do I have a good memory? Can I keep my head in crisis situations, and work well with people who are stressed or unpleasant? Can I keep my emotions under control and accept human suffering and possible death? Can I follow orders, yet take charge when required? Do I have the mental and physical stamina it takes to give my best work at all hours and under any condition? If so, you could be an excellent nurse.
Choosing a Program
Associate degree programs are ideal for working adults, and for people with little time and many responsibilities. They are also perfect for those whose high school records might not be stellar, but who are now ready and able to apply themselves in an academic setting. Not every college offers an associate degree, so look around. You may find what you’re looking for in a community or junior college. Make sure your chosen school is accredited; you can find a list of accredited schools on this site. Ceck out financial aid and child care options. You will also want to know about possible internships and career placement services; ask where recent graduates have found employment. You can find a detailed list of LPN to BSN training programs here on our site.
What to Expect
Nursing education programs are demanding; after all, patients’ lives and wellbeing will depend on your knowledge and skill. Your school will require you to take basic education courses, such as English composition, math, chemistry, or technical writing. However, most of your coursework will be nursing-related. Your classes might include: anatomy and physiology; psychology, medical-surgical nursing, maternal child nursing, psychiatric nursing, and pharmacology, among others.
Most classes will include clinical and/or laboratory experience, and you will get to know many members of your local medical community—useful contacts for your job search! Once you receive your associate’s degree, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, the national licensing exam for registered nurses. After you pass, you can enter the job market, or go on to study for a bachelor’s degree. Nurses are in demand in all capacities: hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, industry, schools, and the military, just to name a few. You will be a respected professional, building a career that fits your schedule and supports your family, while caring for others. The nursing life is, indeed, a rewarding life.