New grads from nursing school can earn more than many people graduating with Master's or even PhDs in other fields. Depending on where you live a new nurse, can earn between $22 and $35 an hour.
There are several different paths to becoming a nurse. There are diploma programs run by the hospital, although most are now associated with a community college. You can get an Associated Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Any of these paths will fulfill your education requirement to sit for the NCLEX. You also have the option of becoming either an RN or an LPN/LVN. Most students become an RN because there are more job opportunities and the pay is usually better.
Although you may visualize the nurse working at the side of the bed at the hospital, there are many other opportunities for those that become a nurse. You can work in a clinic, in a doctor's office, in a school or a prison just to name a few.
The majority of nurses in the United States are women, but there is an increase in the male nursing population. Nurse recruiters show little preference between men and women and there are opportunities for both genders.
One of the major tasks and joys of being a nurse is educating your patients, their families and the public. You are the ambassador to good health as you explain the latest research and trends in medical care.
Most nurses work 12 hours shifts. The advantage to this is full time is three days a week. The disadvantage is that 12 hours is a long shift and it is hard to stay awake at times. The three day a week shift does give you opportunity to pick up extra shifts or have a second job.
The nurse is the last line of defense for the patient. It is up to the nurse to make sure the patient is repositioned so they do not get pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. They need to make sure the foley is inserted using sterile technique and is cleaned every shift to prevent urinary tract infections. It is also the nurse who has to make sure that all the medications are appropriate for the patient and given at the proper time, route and dose.
One of the challenges for nurses is unsafe nurse to patient ratios. An unsafe ratio is when a nurse has to provide care to more patients than they can care for safely. The only state in the United States that has a mandated nurse to patient ratio is California. Other states are attempting to pass legislation at this time. Such legislation will make it safer for patients and for the nurses who are trying to perform their duties.
There is a lot to think about when deciding whether to become a nurse. The decision whether to pursue a career in nursing is up to you. It can be a rewarding, but also challenging profession.
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Article Added on Saturday, March 21, 2009
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