As the American population ages, the demand for quality healthcare and new nurses increases every year. From 2020 to 2030, there will be an average of 194,500 vacancies for registered nurses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many advantages for those interested in nursing, from the ability to pursue higher education to personal satisfaction to helping patients and their families in their time of need. Many people who wish to enter the nursing profession wonder how long it takes to become a nurse. Nursing degrees can range from two to four years, depending on the program you choose. Each program differs, so the time commitment, curriculum, and institution can influence the duration of your training.
Do I Have to Wear Scrubs in My Nursing Program?
Like many healthcare professionals, nurses are required to wear scrubs. Since most of your classes will be practical labs, there will come a point in your program when you’ll need to wear scrubs. For a nursing school to effectively train future RNs, it needs to emulate the real-life environment of hospitals. All nursing students should learn how to use the same tools and technology as their registered nursing colleagues use when working with patients. To provide adequate healthcare, they also wear scrubs as part of their uniform.
Nurses find that wearing comfortable scrubs helps make them more recognizable to patients and colleagues. They must stand for long periods during their shifts, lift patients, walk around their unit for hours, and risk exposure to hazardous germs. Scrubs provide nurses with a comfortable range of movement, enabling them to perform their tasks with no constraints while keeping their personal clothes sanitary for the end of their shift. Your nursing program may permit you to choose your scrubs, so you’ll want to find scrubs that are not only affordable but also long-lasting. Scrubs pants come in a wide range of styles, from jogger scrubs to flared pants. Scrub tops also come in a variety of styles, colors and patterns. Choose a set that is suitable for moving and working long hours in a hospital or clinic and embraces your personality and style.
What Are the Available Nursing Programs?
Consider your options and get familiar with different nursing programs. The field of nursing is vast, from helping nurses to conducting clinical research. As you progress in your nursing career, you may choose to earn higher nursing degrees, depending on your future career goals. In addition, make sure your program is accredited and not from a degree mill, which has been a problem within the nursing field. Check the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing to see if your nursing program has accreditation from them.
Practical Nursing Diploma
A practical nursing (PN) diploma is the shortest path to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. Practical nursing diplomas usually take one to two years to complete, depending on the college or technical school’s nursing program and the number of semesters. Getting a diploma requires both classroom and hands-on training in the medical field.
An LPN provides basic level care such as dressing, feeding, and caring for patients, or they may help other nurses with normal medical duties. Diploma programs are often shorter than other degrees, but working in a real-time healthcare environment ensures students gain the basic skills to become successful LPNs. Students with practical nursing diplomas can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)-PN exam, the prerequisite for becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse.
Associate Degree in Nursing
After completing a standard two-year college curriculum, aspiring Registered Nurses (RNs) earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN or ADN). With an associate degree in nursing, they are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN test to become a Registered Nurse. They can work in various healthcare settings, from hospitals to urgent care centers, to care for patients. RNs who earn their ASNs often enroll in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program once they establish their careers and earn income.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
Students pursuing a BSN usually complete the program in four years. This degree is suitable for those who want to learn everything there is to know about nursing as a career. As a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree, you can expect a higher starting salary in hospitals and benefit from more educational opportunities if you desire to pursue them.
The LPN-BSN and RN-BSN programs, which the last one to three years, are available to LPNs and RNs who have previous nursing experience and licenses. They can apply those credits toward their bachelor’s degree and complete the BSN program quicker than the standard four-year program. Accelerated BSN programs offer another route for people seeking nursing careers with a bachelor’s degree in another field. Regardless of your chosen nursing program, you must pass the NCLEX Examination. Applicants should apply to their state’s nursing board before they are eligible to take the test. Passing this important exam can determine how long it takes to achieve RN certification.
Master’s Degree in Nursing
Nursing professionals with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees can specialize in health informatics, clinical research, and healthcare administration. They can also become nurse practitioners who work in nontraditional settings, such as schools and community healthcare centers or local and state governmental agencies. Getting an MSN depends on your previous clinical experience, degree, and schedule. Taking full-time courses can allow you to finish your MSN within 15 to 24 months if you have clinical experience and a BSN. Those who already have a BSN but wish to earn their MSN part-time while working full time may spend two to four years earning the certification.
Becoming a Registered Nurse Offers Limitless Career Options
Regardless of the degree path you choose, you have a wide range of career options. One of the benefits of nursing education is that you can keep learning and progressing. Even if you start with an ASN, many options are available for pursuing higher education and meeting your career goals later in life. Going through a nursing program will push you outside of your comfort zone. With dedication and hard work, you can finish your studies and help patients in your local community, nationally as a travel nurse, or overseas at an Embassy.