Nursing is an incredibly popular choice among people entering the career field of medicine and for good reason: it’s recession proof and easy to find a job and most important, it pays very well. There are some things not as well known about nursing as others though, especially confusion of the level of schooling required and what kind of nurse you can choose to be. You have the entry-level things like CNA (certified nurse assistant) and higher, top of the ladder stuff like Nurse Practitioner, but what are the differences in schooling and certification?
Why go to college for nursing?
There are even state licenses to consider, which very from place to place. For example, Missouri’s nursing system works a bit differently than Colorado’s or California’s. Most of the regulations are the same but there are smaller differences amongst the varying locations. Regardless, you can count of the core components being the same: required clinical hours, an education and some work experience. There are different levels of nursing as well. Whereas a doctor really only has an MD and DO (PhD if you want to include that for research), a nurse has tons of different levels to choose from. For example, a couple steps above the CNA would be a CMT, which means you pass medication or divide it up among patients according to a chart created by the charge nurses and doctors (doctors will provide the times and correct doses of medications for patients, in which you’ll use a cart that’s secured to prevent any theft of medication).
There’s also taking into account what you’ll do in the field of nursing. A lot of nurses will start out as a CNA, cumulating hours and experience over time while they advance higher up the ranks through education and school. Associates degrees and bachelor degrees do come into play, for instance you cannot be a nurse practitioner with an associates but you can be an LPN or something similar. Much like the military, each bit of education and experience pushes you higher on the career field, meaning you’ll get paid much more handsomely than someone who’s just coming into the game. That being said, CNAs are still paid better than someone flipping burgers usually and have a foot in the door in terms of career advancement. It does require some serious effort in keeping your grades up, however. You can’t skim by with low grades if you’re planning on utilizing the joys of the medical world. Employers, registrars and the state you’re in will expect you to know what you’re doing and for very good reason: even at the lowest ranks, you’re still handling the wellbeing and life of another person. With that kind of responsibility, it’s important for potential employers and hospitals to know that you paid attention and understand the impact of your decisions. If you have bad grades and poor attendance, it shows you won’t be a very good candidate for taking care of the elderly, patients fresh from an operation or standard physical stats from an individual.