The decision to become a nurse will lead you down the road to a career filled with fulfilling experiences and plenty of opportunities to make a major difference in the lives of people who are suffering from illness and injury. Moreover, it is one that will allow you to build a knowledge base and skill set that can set you up for a great deal of success in the field.
The first step on the road to becoming a nurse is, naturally, to enter nursing school. While there are some certification options available that can allow you to practice as a nurse to some extent, anyone looking to become a fully qualified registered nurse (RN) will need to either earn an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. Anyone who would want to pursue a specific specialization or career advancement track down the line will need to have their bachelor’s degree in the form of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Earning a nursing degree is certainly not one of the easiest things that you will ever try to accomplish. Depending on the type of program you enroll in and your personal circumstances in regard to your professional life, you might be juggling quite a bit while you are in the process of earning your nursing degree. This is because becoming a nurse involves far more than sitting in a classroom for four years at a traditional university. Clinicals, labs, and more await you on your road to becoming an RN.
Whether you are going for your BSN or about to enter into an advanced degree program of some sort, here are three other things that you should know about earning a nursing degree.
1. You Have Options
One of the best things about earning a degree of any kind in this day and age is that as a student, you have a variety of options at your disposal when it comes to the manner in which you earn your degree. The same is true for those who have decided to earn a nursing degree.
While there was once a time when students needed to attend classes in person and earn their degree from a traditional, full-time university, aspiring nurses now have other options to consider. Some programs are part-time, and while you will be in school for a great deal longer than if you were to go full-time, you can create a much more balanced schedule for yourself in this way.
Furthermore, you no longer have to enroll at a major university in order to earn a nursing degree. Instead, you can opt for an online degree program, like the ones offered at Carson-Newman University and other schools like it. Not only are online nursing programs more flexible in nature, allowing you to balance work and other life matters better with your schooling, but online programs tend to be far more affordable as well.
There are many things that you should take into consideration when you choose the type of degree program that is right for you. Take your time with this decision as the perfect fit for you, and your personal circumstances and learning style does exist.
2. You Will Be Challenged
Nursing school is a challenging experience for many people. There are a number of things that you are going to need to balance, and the workload is no joke. However, the more prepared mentally that you are for the experience ahead of time, the better off you will be in the long run.
Bear in mind that in addition to an extensive amount of reading and coursework, you will be involved in clinical rotations throughout your time in nursing school. These rotations are designed to give aspiring nurses firsthand insight and practical experience in the clinical setting. You are going to learn a great deal, but it can feel as though you are being thrown into the thick of things initially.
Approach your new schedule with an open mind and with patience. There are so many things that you are going to be expected to learn very early on, which can be overwhelming. However, with the right level of perseverance, you will be able to absorb the information that you need and carry on. You should also look to the resources that your school has for nursing students, such as advising and counseling, when you feel that you need additional support.
3. Knowing Your Learning Style is Essential
If you are going to find success throughout your time at nursing school, understanding your own personal learning style is essential. There is going to be a lot of material thrown your way from the start, so knowing the best manner in which you can absorb such information is going to play a major role in your ability to learn all that you need to throughout nursing school.
Start by evaluating your schedule as you think it should look. Take into account the amount of time that you are going to be spending in class and at work (if that is applicable to your situations). Then, block out specific times throughout your week when you can study.
Depending on what your style of learning is, you might find it helpful to be able to study a little bit each day. On the other hand, you might be the type of student who works better by taking things in bigger portions along the way. Are you a better independent worker, or do you like having the support of a study group when you work? Knowing these things before your classes begin is going to be incredibly helpful.
Moreover, you should know what sort of environment you work best in. If you need to create a designated study space for yourself at home, then make sure this is done ahead of time. If you like to have some atmosphere around you when you study, select the right library or coffee shop nearby.