So you've started to look in to nursing as a career and you're feeling rather overwhelmed. LVN? LPN? BSN? MSN? What do they all mean? Are there any differences? Here is a brief guide to nursing for beginners that showcases five things you probably didn't know about nursing that can help you decide if it's the right career choice for you.
1. Did you know that there are different ways to become a nurse?
- LVN/LPN certificates refer to licensed practical or licensed vocational nursing certificates. These aren't university degrees but rather one year programs that award you with a nursing certificate. You can obtain these as long as you have a GED or high school diploma.
- BSN degrees are bachelor degrees of science in nursing that qualify you to become a registerd nurse (RN). These degrees are generally offered by colleges or universities and take four years to complete in a full-time program.
- MSN degrees are master degrees of science in nursing that qualify you to become an RN. These are graduate level degrees that you can obtain after a BSN or through a combined BSN-MSN program. The MSN programs alone tend to take two years for full-time students to complete. Combined with a BSN, the degree is generally earned in five to six years.
2. Did you know you can still be a doctor if you're a nurse?
If you're torn between a career as a doctor or a nurse, you can have the best of both worlds because a RN can be a doctor. Most people don't know that you can get two different types of docotrate degrees as a nurse. There are both PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programs that are geared towards subjects like healthcare delivery and clinical research as well as DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) programs that are focused on translating novel research into practice.
3. Did you know that nurses make one of the highest salaries across America?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the mean annual wage of a registered nurse in America is $67,930 per year. The national mean annual wage of a licensed practical or vocational nurse is $42,400. With the mean national wage at $45,790 per year, this leads RNs to earn over $22,000 more per year than the average American, and a LVN earns about $3,300 less.
4. Did you know that nursing isn't really like what is shown in the media?
Nurses are responsible for patients' welfare and well-being to a greater extent than what is shown on TV and in movies. Many nurses complain that medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy downplay the role of a nurse or portray nursing inadequately.
5. Did you know that nurses can work in a variety of different places?
Here are some settings that a nurse can find work in:
- Health clinics
- Wellness programs in the workplace
- Doctors' offices
- Home health care services
- Family planning clinics
- Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
- Poison control centers
- Prenatal clinics
- Assisted living communities
- Rehabilitation centers
- Immunization centers
As you can see, nursing licenses can be obtained in several ways, and nurses can work in various places. Hopefully this information on nursing for beginners helps you gain a better understanding of the profession.
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