Getting Ready for A Nursing School Education
Despite the shortage of nurses in the United States, getting into nursing school is still a complicated and competitive process. Due in part to the lack of trained nurse educators (and therefore a lack of training facilities), it also has to do with the challenging academic process of becoming a nurse; nursing isn’t a career move to be taken lightly. By preparing yourself for a future education and career now, you can develop a better understanding of the obstacles and pleasures in store for you as a future nurse.
Get the Right Education Started Early
Although there aren’t any specific guidelines for high school students considering a career in nursing, a high school diploma is required for entrance into nursing school. It’s best to bulk up on classes related to the life sciences and communication; things like biology, chemistry, and computer classes can go a long way in helping students to have a better grasp on the curriculum once they reach college.
Additional courses to consider include algebra, geometry, physics, health, and earth science. All of these subjects are included in the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN PAX), which is similar to the SATs but with the sole purpose of gaining entrance to select nursing schools. Although not all nursing schools require this exam for consideration, the content of the exam offers a good foundation for knowing what to expect in introductory nursing college courses.
Volunteer in the Health-Care Field
Volunteering is always a great way to learn more about a field and to beef up your application to nursing school. Most big hospitals have great volunteer programs that allow participants to do everything from answering phones to delivering flowers to patients. Due to legal and ethical issues, most volunteers don’t really get to handle the medical side of the hospital, but they do get to see first-hand how everything is run.
Additional options include nursing homes and VA hospitals. Because these types of facilities are often incredibly underfunded and understaffed, your participation is likely to mean much more to the patients and to the administrators. You are likely to be given more responsibility and get great recommendations from grateful supervisors.
Additional Extracurricular Activities
As a career choice, nursing is about much more than simply caring for the physical ailments of patients. Nurses are part of a larger health-care team, which involves everything from taking on a supervisory role to exhibiting team-building skills and being able to handle routine administrative tasks. For this reason, the development of skills outside science and mathematics can go a long way in making you a qualified candidate for nursing school. In addition to the summer job working at the hospital or your stint as a volunteer for a nursing home, consider positions that demonstrate your people skills, ability to organize, flexibility and patience, and problem-solving skills.
Nursing camp is another great option for those looking to give themselves an edge in the nursing school application process – or even to determine if a career in nursing is the right choice. Designed specifically for high school students interested in the field, nursing camps offer introductory courses in basic nursing skills, interaction with nursing staff, and the development of compassion and patience – both of which are virtues that mean quite a bit in the nursing world. Most camps also offer CPR or first aid training, which can help students in finding after-school employment in health-related venues.
Talk with Professionals
First-person communication with those in the field should never be overlooked. Almost everyone knows a nurse or someone in the nursing field, so find someone who is willing to sit down with you and answer a few questions. Since most nurses are aware of the drastic shortage facing the United States, they are likely to help you explore the benefits of the field and learn what steps you can take to secure your future path. However, be sure to ask about the drawbacks, as well, so you have a good understanding of the obstacles you face as you move forward.
Study at Home
Studying at home can also be of great benefit. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a nursing textbook, but you may want to get a medical dictionary or nonfiction books related to the field. By immersing yourself in the language and abbreviations of the medical field now, you should be able to make the transition to nursing school much easier than if you step in without any idea of how ideas are communicated.
Get Started on Your Nursing Career Today
Once you have prepared yourself to succeed in the nursing field, you will soon find that the emotional benefits of your career choice exceed any of the work put into planning your future career. Nurses tend to be valued wherever they go for their dedication to others and their commitment to professional excellence.