Q (Frequently Asked Questions) – Why is registered nursing a great career choice?
Very few professions allow you to have such a profound impact on lives of people and their families. If helping people is important, this career is for you! There is never a dull moment! The challenge is tremendous; and a very exciting career that takes intelligence, ‘guts’, and decision making.
A professional career in nursing has something for everyone:
§ A nurse can get a job in any city or state in the nation Nurses can work when they want to. If you are not a morning person, you can work an evening or night shift. If you like longer periods of time off to travel or enjoy your family, you can work 12-hour shifts and have 3 or 4 days off in a row If you like excitement, you can work in the emergency room or be a flight nurse on a helicopter that goes out to remote areas to pick up accident victims
§ If you like being part of happy occasions, you can work in the delivery room where babies make their way into the world or the nursery where new parents learn how to take care of their babies
§ If you like a new and different challenge every day, you can be a home health nurse going into the community to help people recover from their illnesses in their own homes
§ If you want to have summers off to be with your children, you can be a school nurse.”
Nursing is always challenging, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are very few professions able to do that.
Does the shortage of nurses I hear about mean I will, or I won’t, get a job?
You will definitely have a job. As a matter of fact, the US Department of Labor projects that nursing will have the largest job growth rate through 2010. Nurses are in high demand because nurses are critical to the delivery of health, to the health care delivery system and our patients! In hospitals, nurses are there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
What’s nursing school like? Are the courses hard?
Nursing school is hard. You must stay focused and have good study and organization skills. It is fast paced and you are expected to learn a lot. But if you want to be good at what you do and have a life-long career, then working hard for your goal is a good thing.
Nursing school is different from high school and from other types of college classes. Instead of going to a 4-hour chemistry lab, the nursing student’s lab is an actual health delivery site (hospital, clinic, etc) where the class will probably last for 6 or 8 hours. Nursing school teaches students the information, and then takes them to a hospital with an instructor to help them apply the knowledge. It is instant use of the information you learn. By the time you graduate, you are ready to take your place in the workforce quickly and to progress rapidly. Yes, nursing school is hard. So is every other worthwhile endeavor you will undertake in your life.
How long does it take to become a registered nurse?
Well it depends on what type of degree you want. Entry into professional nursing can be achieved through one of three educational programs:
§ a Nursing Diploma Program: usually takes three years in an on the job training scenario within a hospital (only two such programs left in Texas) and results in a Certificate, not a college degree
§ an Associate Degree Nursing Program: usually takes approximately two-three years in a technical program located in a community college and results in an Associate Degree in Nursing
§ a Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Program: usually takes 4 years in a university and results in a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing.
Why should I become a nurse?
Very few professions allow you to have such a profound impact on lives of people and their families. If helping people is important, this career is for you!
What if a guy wants to be a nurse?
Then you should become a nurse! I strongly recommend it if you want to make a difference, if you want job security and if you like working with people and enriching their lives! Although nursing in Texas is still about 94% female, the population of male nurses is growing fast. Men are realizing the vast opportunities nursing allows them to craft their own careers and to make a good living. Men are highly valued in nursing. They often choose the advanced practice role and become nurse anesthetists or nurse administrators. They also choose bedside nursing and direct care giving. Nursing is a great equalizer, so gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics do not matter. Men are considered a minority in nursing and thus have incentives to achieve in nursing. Nursing holds many opportunities for men to have a fulfilling career along with balance and meaning in their lives.
Are science and math skills important to become a nurse and practice nursing?
Definitely! A nurse’s job, along with the rest of the health care team, is to make sure patients are helped to heal and are cared for safely. Daily, nurses use math skills to calculate correct medication dosages or to figure the drip rate for intravenous drugs so that they are administered effectively. Through the study of sciences, such as biology, chemistry, anatomy and pharmacology, a student nurse learns, for example, how and why chemical reactions can trigger physiological reactions. Together, knowledge of science and math prepare a nurse not only with scientific skills, but also teach a nurse how to observe, think critically, and problem-solve. Yes, science and math skills are essential keys to the successful and safe practice of a caring and competent professional nurse.
What about nursing salaries?
Nursing salaries in most Texas markets range from beginning salaries of $30-35,000 to over $200,000; salaries reflect level of education, sub-specialization and longevity.
I don’t have enough money to pay for school. Where can I find money?
Any Texas citizen can attend school in Texas very economically …and receive financial aid from a variety of sources. There are grants (such as Pell Grants that don’t require payback), scholarships, and loans available to students. The first thing you need to do is visit the financial aid office of any university or college and complete the application for financial aid. Be proactive and you will find the money. Some hospitals, geographic areas, and groups will pay for a nurse’s entire education in return for a guarantee that after graduation, time will be paid back by working in their area or hospital. The US military has terrific incentives for pre-nursing students.
I’m not your traditional college student. What chance will I have for success?
Your chances of success in nursing school are much more closely related to your study habits and past success in school than they are to your age. The average age of nursing school graduates is in the mid-thirties, so a person aged 40 would be close to the middle of the age group. You would want to consider what other demands you have on your time as well. However, most nursing students today have families, jobs, and ‘commutes’ that they manage quite nicely using time management strategies and priority setting. Both of these qualities are as important for nursing as they are for life in general. Age is not a barrier for nursing school. The type of work, flexible hours, and variety of locations for working as a nurse make this career option attractive to people of all ages.
Why get a BSN in nursing vs. an ADN?
The BSN is the premier degree which prepares you for management and leadership positions.
Does acceptance into the university mean acceptance into the nursing program?
No. You will need to complete a separate application for the nursing program and meet all of the nursing school’s requirements.
Can my parents call to check on my grades?
The only way parents will have permission to check on your grades is if you allow them. You must first complete a FERPA form and turn it into the Registrars Office.