The need for nurses is greater than ever — and if you’ve been thinking of pursuing a nursing career, there’s no better time to do it. Whether you’ve recently graduated from high school or college, or you’re considering a career change after years of working in another industry, these tips from Todd Lloyd, DC will help you to obtain the training and education you need to land your first nursing job!
1. Explore Nursing Specializations
When pursuing a nursing career path, it’s important to explore different specializations in nursing and choose the right specialty area for you, your personality, and your interests. You’ll also need to think about your preferred salary and job setting, the local job market, and whether you’re comfortable working closely with patients.
If you’re introverted, for instance, a career as a nurse researcher or informatics analyst may be worth exploring. If you’re extroverted, you may thrive in environments that allow you to work directly with other people — such as an emergency room, surgical center, pediatric unit, or primary care clinic. There are many nursing specialties to choose from, and the right specialization for you will depend on several important factors.
2. Earn an Online Degree
While the type of nursing degree and training you’ll need will depend on your chosen career path, most Registered Nurses (RNs) earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — a four-year college degree program. Most licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), however, need a vocational degree or certificate from a trade school or hospital. Virtual degree programs are available, allowing you to continue working while obtaining a nursing degree on your own time and schedule.
Advanced nursing degrees are also available if you’re interested in becoming a clinical nurse leader, nurse practitioner (NP), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), care coordinator, or another type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). And with a master’s degree in health leadership and administration, nursing informatics, nursing leadership and management, or nursing education, for instance, you’ll obtain the expert skills and credentials needed to improve patient outcomes and positively impact your community.
3. Look for Employment Opportunities
Once you’ve chosen a nursing specialization and earned a degree, you’ll need to complete and pass the required healthcare examinations (i.e., the National Council Licensure Examination [NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN]). Then, you’ll be ready to begin your search for available job opportunities!
A few places to look for nursing jobs include the following:
- local clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers
- government agencies
- home health care and travel nursing agencies
- health insurance companies
If you’re hoping to land a work-from-home nursing job, FlexJobs recommends applying to companies such as Aetna, Anthem, Inc., and CVS Health. For online and onsite positions, check out job boards such as Nursefinders, RNWanted, CampusRN, and HospitalJobs.com.
You could also join a professional nursing association to connect with other nurses in your area, including the American College of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Academy of Nursing (AAN), and National League for Nursing (NLN).
Is a Nursing Career Right for You?
Nursing is a rewarding career that gives you the opportunity to improve the lives of others and care for those who are sick or injured, but it isn’t right for everyone. Many nurses work long hours — sometimes even 12- to- 15-hour shifts — and the physical demands, stress, and emotional exhaustion of a nursing career can be too much for some individuals to handle. But if you’re certain that nursing is the right career path for you, it’s important to take your skills, personality, and interests into consideration — and choose the right nursing specialty for you.