Having a clear concept of what you may anticipate from your nursing education might help you make an informed decision. Your specific course of study will be determined by a variety of criteria, including how advanced your degree program is, your educational background, and the nursing school you attend.
However, there are several courses that are common to all authorized and recognized nursing degree programs despite their differences.
Different Level of Nursing
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
In long-term care, home care, nursing homes, and the hospital environment, nursing assistants or nursing aids perform a variety of duties. They are there to support patients who require assistance with activities such as getting dressed, bathing, eating, and moving around.
The additional tasks include taking vital signs, wound care, and chart entries, depending on one’s credentials and training. CNA certification is required in many states, and the Red Cross has several training facilities where students may get the training they need to sit for the state exam.
CNA programs, which can last anywhere from four to twelve weeks, require applicants to have at least a high school diploma. State-specific requirements for CNA training range from 60 to 40 hours of classroom and clinical time. Courses on anatomy, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), infection management and recognition, and personal hygiene are common. Direct patient care should also be a part of the program.
Licensed Vocational Nurse
CNAs can advance to the LVN, which requires a current state license or certification, as well as six months of work experience. For example, Houston Community College requires licensed CNAs to have at least six months of experience working in an acute or chronic care setting.
It’s more common for LVN students to attend coursework in the natural sciences like physiology, pharmacology and obstetrics. Proof of specified vaccinations is required for those applying for the position.
An LVN program normally lasts one year, including the 500-750 clinical practice hours required by the state. Upon receiving state certification, there are positions in general hospitals, physician offices, blood banks, ambulatory surgical facilities, and dialysis clinics.
The title “Licensed Practical Nurse” (abbreviated as “LPN”) is also used to describe this occupation. An LPN is a licensed practical nurse who has completed further training beyond the LVN level. In some states, the two titles can be used interchangeably. LVN is the preferred designation in California and Texas, whereas LPN is the preferred designation in the majority of states.
Hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and physicians’ offices are all common workplaces for both sorts of nurses. Patients are cared for in much the same way by these individuals, who aid RNs with various activities such as vitals taking, wound care, mobility support, and so on.
Registered nurses or RNs must have at least an associate degree in nursing in order to practice. There may be a prerequisite for candidates to have taken chemistry in high school for some programs.
Examples of courses include microbiology and psychology; basic pharmacology; nutrition; anatomy; physiology; and math. At a local community college, the ADN or Associate degree in nursing may be offered. This saves both time and money.
As part of the ADN curriculum, students learn how to accurately evaluate a patient’s status. There may also include lessons on leadership, ethics, communication, and mental health nursing.
The LVN to RN curriculum at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology may be completed in six months. Students in Dallas can earn an ADN in as little as 12 or 18 months by attending full-time sessions. Afterwards, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.
Licensed practical nurses must first get an Authorization to Test (ATT) from their state’s nursing regulatory agency before taking the test (NRB). The NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing) website provides information about testing sites.
College-Level Science Classes
The natural sciences will make up a significant portion of your curriculum, regardless of the level at which you choose to pursue a nursing degree. Microbiology, in particular, is a vital field of research. As you’ll see in the following paragraphs, chemistry is frequently needed as part of a registered nursing degree program.
LPN and LVN curricula, on the other hand, emphasize more fundamental knowledge of pharmacology. Nursing students must take anatomy and physiology courses in order to graduate.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has taken a nursing course. How else would students learn about patient care?
The courses you take in nursing are heavily dependent on your degree of education. Nursing fundamentals and introductory courses for adult, pediatric, and geriatric patients are the primary focus for aspiring LPNs and LVNs.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Depending on whether they lead to an ADN or a BSN, RN programs differ. Students in both degree programs will be required to take courses in the foundations of nursing and health assessment.
An important distinction between ADN and BSN programs is that BSN students have the chance to learn more about public health, nursing administration and research, and nursing leadership.
Another important distinction is the length of time required to get an ADN, vs a BSN, which is typically completed in four years. The latter, on the other hand, is more likely to lead to greater career prospects and higher wages. Nightingale College statistics shows that median salary (2020) are as follows:
- Licensed Practical Nurse or LVN: $23.75/hour or $49,409 annual
- Registered Nurse (without a BSN): $35.97/hour or $74,811 annual
- RN with a BSN: $44.95/hour or $93,590 annual
In 2020, California, Massachusetts, Alaska, and Oregon had the highest median annual wages for BSNs at $147,830 per year. Alabama was the cheapest state at $68,960, according to the data.
HIGHER PAY, HIGHER EDUCATION
Several sciences at the undergraduate level may be required for a BSN program. Depending on your grade point average, University of Washington applicants need to have completed three or four prerequisite courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and nutrition before being admitted to the university. If you have a GPA of 2.8 or less, you need four, whereas if you have a GPA of 3.0 or above, you just need three.
Chemistry is not omitted at Simpson University in Redding, California, where admissions demand students to have basic chemistry, college-level writing, microbiology, physiology, and psychology as prerequisites. ADN programs may not meet the entry standards for many BSN programs, as stated above.
Anatomy, chemistry, psychology, microbiology, and pharmacology are all part of the Simpson BSN curriculum. Students study about public health concerns, neonatal care, leadership, care for severely sick adults, and research throughout the third and fourth years.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
RNs hoping to advance to management positions should think about pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN). All APRNs must have a master’s or post-degree master’s in order to practice, according to the NCSBN.
As a nurse practitioner, you will be able to do a variety of tasks that include ordering tests, diagnosing illnesses, and writing prescriptions for your patients. These doctors may specialize in family medicine, pediatrics, mental health, or geriatrics, among other options.
The following are the available choices for practitioners:
In a master’s degree program, Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNPs) might choose to specialize. As an example,
- Adult Gerontology – Primary Care (AGPCNP)
- Adult Gerontology – Acute Care (AGACNP)
- Family Nurse (FNP)
- Pediatric Nurse (PNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health (PMHNP)
- Women’s Health (WHNP)
If you want to get an MSN from the University of Texas-Austin (UT), you’ll need to take coursework in health policy, health care research, and leadership. After completing their training, nurses might choose to specialize in a particular area of study. There are six practicum hours for the Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, as well as seminars on sickness prevention, acute and chronic care, and adult health challenges.
In addition to the 24 hours of pediatric primary health care principles covered in the UT Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program, there are a number of elective courses available. At least one year of full-time RN experience working with children or adolescents is required for candidates.
NPs in mental health who specialize in psychiatry will encounter more science than those in other fields. Advanced Pharmacology and Advanced Pathophysiology are included in the online BSN to MSN in Psychiatric-Mental Health program offered by Walden University. In the first, researchers look at how drugs may be used to treat a variety of mental health issues.
Most of the credits, on the other hand, are earned through practical practicums at a mental health care facility. In order to earn two credits for a practicum, nurses must log 160 clinical hours in the hospital setting.
An MSN or DNP is a doctoral-level nursing degree that includes advanced study in nursing theory and practice. According to U.S. News & World Report, most master’s degree programs in nursing include advanced curriculum in nursing theory, pathophysiology, nursing research, and nursing education.
Students training for a career as an APRN will spend a significant amount of time focusing on their chosen speciality. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners are the most well-known APRN specializations. Anesthesiologists and midwives learn to administer anesthesia safely and successfully in their training programs, whereas aspiring nurse anesthetists learn how to safely administer anesthesia.
Nurse anesthetists get among the highest wages in the industry. May 2020’s median salary for the nurse anesthetist, midwife, and NP vocation was $117,670, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The average income for a nurse anesthetist was $189,190 on average. The 45 percent employment growth rate over the next ten years is even more astounding.
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals employ the largest number of nurses in this field (21,560). (14,030). The national average salary for outpatient care centers is $224,810, with specialty hospitals coming in second at $201,220. The typical yearly salary in these metropolitan regions is more than $200,000:
- New York-Newark-Jersey City
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington (MN-WI)
- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia (NC-SC)
It is essential that you have an interest in biology and chemistry in order to work as an anesthesiologist. CRNAs will be required to hold a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice (DNP) degree by 2022. (DNAP). In this field, an MSN is no longer sufficient.
BSN or MSN students interested in pursuing a career as a CRNA must have completed these courses:
- Human Anatomy
It’s not just critical care or medical-surgical nursing that most programs demand. Licensed nurse anesthetists are allowed to provide anesthesia and pain drugs without the presence of a physician in many jurisdictions around the country. In remote hospitals, this nurse may be the only anesthesia provider. Further data may be found on the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiologists website (AANA).
Nursing is not a subject that can be taught only in a classroom setting. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, students at every level of nursing degree are required to complete a supervised clinical practicum. You may anticipate spending hundreds of hours in a clinical environment during your nursing school since clinical practice is so critical to learning about the profession.
Forensic nursing, nurse informatics, nursing education, and nursing leadership are some of the other options for advanced nursing degrees.
General Education Requirements
The General Education Requirements are an important part of a four-year program, which learning institutions include in the curriculum. The objective of these seminars is to provide you a well-rounded education prior to your major or core courses.
Along with your degree-related scientific and nursing courses, you’ll need to fulfill additional nursing school prerequisites. Math, English, social science, and humanities are among the most common courses required by most colleges and universities.
Why is it necessary for a nurse to learn about these topics? You’d be astonished at how much they’re actually worth. Nurses utilize math on a regular basis, thus they need good fundamental and medical math abilities. Understanding and interpreting health data is an essential part of a nursing degree. When it comes to a career in nursing, communication and critical-thinking abilities are vital.
Students wishing to pursue a career in nursing must meet the general education and major course requirements of their chosen institution.
How to Succeed in Nursing
In addition to academics, there are a few characteristics that characterize a nurse’s success. These include:
- Emotional Stability
Over three million registered nurses work in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because of the present COVID pandemic and the aging population, there will always be a need for nurses.