body systems work together, and even Algebra as math is a part of health science and nursing (think about needing to give the proper dose of medicine to a patient).
Get experience to see if nursing is for you
“Volunteering in the hospital is a great way to start being around other professionals and to see firsthand if health care is something you want to do,” Omoyeni shares.
If you’re interested in healthcare, but not yet ready to commit to nursing school – consider continuing your learning journey by becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or a Medical Assistant, which provides a great way to experience working directly with patients and gaining exposure to health care. CNA programs typically last between four to 12 weeks or require about 75-120 hours of training. CNA programs are typically offered at a variety of institutions and locations including community colleges, vocational and technical schools, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, online programs, The American Red Cross, high schools, hospitals and adult education centers. Medical Assistant programs can vary in length and content. They are often available as certificate or diploma programs, which can typically be completed in 9 months to a year, or as associate degree programs, which may take 2 years.
Some hospitals and medical facilities provide paid training programs for these roles, where students receive on-the-job training for their certification exam as well as an employment offer for full-time work following certification.
Another option is getting your LPN (licensed practical nurse) degree, which usually takes about 12 to 18 months and covers subjects like nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, and clinical skills. LPN programs are relatively shorter in duration compared to registered nursing (RN) programs, which means you can start working as a nurse sooner. You can typically find LPN programs by contacting local educational institutions, checking online, checking with your state’s nursing board or regulatory agency, and contacting healthcare facilities about nursing opportunities. Make sure that any program you consider is accredited and meets the licensing requirements of your state. After you become an LPN, if you want to continue to build your education and expertise, you have the option of going back to school to become an RN.
Getting Started in Nursing
If you’ve decided that a career in nursing is the right path for you, one of your first steps will be weighing your individual needs and determining which pathway will help you achieve your desired nursing career. There are a variety of ways to become a nurse!
Omoyeni advises exploring the following options to see which one is a good fit:
Community college. Community colleges are cost-effective, and graduates can get an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) or ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing), and when you graduate, you are ready to take the NCLEX certification exam to become an RN. Courses taken at a community college can also typically be used to bridge students to a four-year college or university, where they would pursue a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).
“I’m a huge advocate for community colleges because you get the core classes like science, math, psychology, etc., that you would take at a 4-year university or college, but at a lower cost,” Omoyeni says. “If you’re looking live at home or juggle working while going to school, community colleges can be a great start for you. Your class sizes aren’t as big as having four or 500 students at a big university.”
Four-year university or college. Students attending a four-year university can obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
“Both ADN and BSN nurses work side by side in the hospital and clinic setting, but the BSN degree includes a focus on