Nursing is undoubtedly a highly rewarding career. It’s not only financially lucrative but also promises job satisfaction and security. The prospect of earning an impressive salary further increases with higher education such as a BSN or an MSN degree. These degrees impart a wealth of knowledge to nurses, ensuring they remain abreast of transforming trends.
But returning to school after years of serving in the healthcare field seems like an intimidating ordeal. This barrier in mind prevents many nurses from enrolling in higher education programs. Nonetheless, those striving for leadership roles and career advancement willingly pursue this path.
Why is higher education mandatory for nurses?
Since it’s the utmost duty of nurses to provide optimal quality care, brushing up on their skillset becomes indispensable. So, to offer standard care and ensure positive patient outcomes, nurses need to upskill themselves. Otherwise, nurses with outdated knowledge and expertise may struggle to land higher career opportunities. Nowadays, healthcare organizations require their current nurses to have a BSN degree. In contrast, some have even mandated that the new nurses possess a BSN degree.
Given these reasons, many ADN nurses are opting for BSN degrees to stay competitive, earn a better salary, and assume leadership roles in healthcare. Fortunately, the Timeframe of Going from an ADN to BSN is also ideal for nurses. They can complete their bachelor’s degree in as little as under ten months by completing 120 credit hours of the said program.
However, completion time can vary depending on your commitment to the coursework. So, if you are not committed to your BSN degree, it may take years to complete. More importantly, it depends on how long you want to take to progress in your nursing career. If you have decided to enroll in nursing education, here is what you must consider.
- Choosing the right program
When considering nursing education, the first step is choosing the right program. This step is highly critical since you’ll be committing several years to this program. Besides, juggling studies alongside work is no cakewalk.
The choice of a program is contingent on what you seek to achieve in your professional career. Since some nurses aim to set their foot in the door quickly, they choose an associate diploma in nursing that makes them eligible to work. Others want to earn a BSN degree to secure higher positions. Both options are right. But since a BSN is becoming mandatory in many states and hospitals, diploma nurses often return to school to earn their BSN after a few years of practice.
- Online or on-campus mode of education
Another factor to consider is choosing between online and on-campus modes of education. An online method of instruction is feasible for nurses who have to manage their families. But these days, most nurses prefer eLearning since it allows them to continue work alongside studies. Just like the on-campus mode of education, the current online nursing programs are designed to combine the industry’s most recent knowledge and research evidence in remotely taught curricula. These courses prepare nurses for leadership positions and decision-making roles.
But if you don’t struggle with a hectic schedule and other responsibilities, the on-campus education can work for you. Regardless of your mode of education, students have similar coursework and assignments, and the education standard remains the same.
- Entrance requirements
Nursing schools have stipulated detailed requirements for all the candidates willing to pursue nursing education. Some of these requirements might be similar, but many schools often have additional admission requirements. Some colleges filter their candidates based on grades in the previous degrees, such as board exams. In contrast, others mandate entrance tests that shortlist the candidates for the program. Therefore, it is crucial to know the admission requirements such as tests, interviews, language requirements, and more.
However, it’s always wise to apply to more than one nursing school. If they have any criteria to generate a merit list, you can test your luck and have enough choices.
- Choose according to your personality
Nursing consists of a wide variety of career options. So, before enrolling in any degree, it is always recommended to choose a program according to your personality. Personality plays a significant role in determining your career trajectory and success. For instance, some people are active in administrative positions. They are well-equipped at managing and controlling people. For such individuals, opting for managerial roles is a viable idea. Other suitable nursing specializations can be family nurse practitioner, primary care, etc.
But some individuals want to have more control over their work environment with minimal interactions with people. In such situations, the job of an anesthesia nurse practitioner is a suitable career option.
- Fitness and health
Undeniably, the nursing profession is incredibly taxing, physically and mentally. It requires nurses to remain available and attentive at all times, monitoring and caring for patients.
So, you must have the stamina to work gruelingly long shifts, stay on the job overnight, and remain vigilant during emergencies. Likewise, you must work on emotional intelligence to build trustworthy patient-nurse relationships and tackle workplace stress. Given these reasons, make sure you are physically fit and healthy before opting for education alongside work.
Today, nursing has become the most in-demand and renowned profession of our time. Given its dynamic and ever-evolving nature, most individuals prefer landing a nursing career to ensure job security. Besides, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector is eagerly looking to hire more nurses. However, setting foot in this field is easier said than done. It requires impressive academic credentials, work experience, essential skills and relevant expertise to secure your preferred position. So, before pursuing your nursing education, it’s crucial to determine various factors. Explore various programs and check with subfield piques your interest. Also, check whether you can pursue on-campus education or is eLearning a better option. Since you’ll be doing work alongside studies, opting for eLearning seems viable. Likewise, check which specialization aligns with your personality type and whether you’re physically and mentally fit enough to enter this field.