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The exceptional impact nurses make in our communities and our world is unparalleled. The month of May marks National Nurses Month Celebration with May 6th being National Nurses Week. If you have a strong work ethic and have a passion for helping others, choosing a nursing career path can be an extremely rewarding choice. Here are 5 benefits to becoming a nurse:

  • High Reward
    Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers out there. Your care and compassion for others can improve and save the lives of others.
  • High Demand
    Nurses are needed all over the world and demand is only increasing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated job growth for registered nurses will increase by about 9% or 276,800 jobs.
  • High Earning Potential
    While salaries depend on location, education, and experience, the national average salary for a registered nurse is $78,459 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As you grow in your career, your advancement opportunities increase, which will likely lead to higher compensation.
  • Flexible Schedules and Great Benefits
    Depending on the facility where you work, flexibility in your schedule may be available. You may have the option to work part time or full time (or shift in between full time and part time) or on a seasonal basis. Many facilities also offer nurses exceptional employer-sponsored benefits.
  • Diverse Opportunities
    There are several different types of nurses within the nursing field. This allows for both variety and advancement. 

If you’ve decided to pursue a rewarding career in nursing, you’ll want to find the right nursing program that will meet your needs and align with your goals. This can be a big and overwhelming decision. Not only will you want to find a great school with proper accreditation, you’ll want to consider cost, financial aid opportunities, and location. In addition to these factors, however, you will need to research a few more things about your prospective schools. Here are some steps to take to help narrow down your school and/or program search:

1. Determine what type of degree you’d like to pursue. Common Nursing paths include:

  • Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN)
    As an LPN and/or LVN, you’ll typically report to and support a Registered Nurse (RN). The time commitment to complete this certification program is usually one  year. To become an LPN, enroll and graduate from an accredited LPN program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Peterson’s has the tools you need like practice tests, interactive study materials, and flashcards to help you ace the NCLEX-PN.
  • Registered Nursing (RN)
    As an RN, you’ll apply critical thinking skills to evaluate and care for patients. To become a Registered Nurse, you’ll need to acquire an associate or bachelor level degree in nursing. After you’ve received your nursing degree, you’ll need to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to become a licensed nurse. Peterson’s test prep gives you access to practice tests and study tools to help you pass the NCLEX-RN.

2. Consider your skills

There are several nursing careers you can pursue once you become a licensed nurse. When choosing a school and what type of nursing career you’d like to pursue, it’s beneficial to pinpoint your skills and interests. Are you a natural born leader? Do you have a soft spot for the elderly or for children? Or maybe you care deeply about other people’s emotional and mental well-being. Identifying your skills and what brings you happiness can help you build a fulfilling career in nursing. Here are just a few different types of Nursing careers:

  • Registered Nurse (RN)
    Common Duties: Evaluate patients, issue medications and treatments, conduct testing, and emotionally support patients and familiesRequired Education: ADN or BSN
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
    Common Duties: Assist RNs and doctors, collect blood samples, monitor patients and relay information to RNs or doctors
    Required Education: Certificate or diploma from an accredited program
  • Labor and Delivery Registered Nurse
    Common Duties: Assist mothers through labor and delivery and perform exams on infants, educate and assist mothers in their post-delivery care
    Required Education: ADN or BSN
  • Nurse Case Manager
    Common Duties: Determine the most cost effective care plan by working with patients, insurance companies and medical teams. Evaluate the care and make adjustments to treatments if necessary
    Required Education: BSN
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
    Common Duties: Diagnose patients and direct and prescribe treatments and medications accordingly
    Required Education: MSN
  • Nurse Educator
    Common Duties: Create educational programs, trainings and initiatives for continued education and improved patient care, be point of contact and educational and support resource for staff
    Required Education: MSN, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse
    Common Duties: Support surgeons and care for patients throughout their entire surgical process
    Required Education: ADN, BSN is preferred

3. Ensure that your clinicals align with your chosen nursing profession

Towards the end of your degree, you’ll often have to go through a clinical placement. During your clinicals, you will be working with and caring for patients in a medical setting. Make sure that some of the nursing schools you have in mind will be able to place you in clinicals that fit or align with your specialization.

Want help preparing for the NCLEX? Check out Peterson’s NCLEX test prep.