Nursing Program Types and Durations

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Becoming a nurse is considered a noble career in so many societies and for many reasons. You’re putting your life on the line for another person. So many times, you need to handle different types of people, some of which are difficult to handle. At all times you know there’s a probability of contracting the patient’s disease – but you must do it anyway. There’s also that probability of getting a midnight call to the emergency room and you have to leave your warm blankets to save a life. It’s not easy being a nurse, but if saving lives and helping others makes you happy and you don’t mind walking around in clogs and scrubs all day, then being a nurse is the right profession for you. There are different ways you can join to begin your nursing journey. Below are the programs offered in nursing schools.

Practical Nursing Program

This program is offered by hospitals and can take 12 months for full time students and 2-3 years if you choose part-time. After completion you’ll need to pass the (National Council Licensure Examination) NCLEX-PN exam and thereafter become a Licensed Practical Nurse. These aren’t as common, but people still enroll. The basic requirement is a high school diploma to be enrolled. However, to graduate you’ll need to have studied at a recognized and accredited nursing school. LPNs are reported to earn the highest in nursing homes and government facilities. The average median salary is $45,000 per year. LPNs work under supervision of doctors collecting samples and administering medication to patients since they’re the most hands on nurses closest to patients.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

This is usually offered by technical tchools and local community colleges and usually takes 2-3 years to complete. For a full-time student it takes about 18-24 months to complete and then you apply for the NCLEX-RN exam whereby you’ll then be licensed to work as a registered nurse. The courses you learn in ADN include nutrition, physiology and anatomy among others. Being an ADN is the lowest prerequisite needed for you to become a registered nurse. However, more employers are requiring registered nurses to have a BSN in recent years, so it’s important to work towards getting the degree if being an RN is your goal. Since there are so many different types of ADN nurses, the salary varies with an entry level Certified Nurse Assistant earning an average of $27,000 a year while a Licensed Practical Nurse earning $45,000. In some places they earn even more than $50,000 a year.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

This program is usually offered in traditional colleges and universities and takes 4 years to complete. If you have your RN license it takes 12-24 months to get your BSN license. The standard course takes 33 months to about 3 years to take with an accelerated program. Becoming a BSN typically has more advantages than an ADN. While you learn more in depth courses such as emergency care, Public and global health and issues and trends in nursing, you earn more salary than an ADN. Most employers are only hiring RNs with BSN and the average salary being $70,000 per year. There’s also a variety of places you can work as a BSN and the type of nurse you would like to be.

Accelerated Degree Programs

This is for those who have a degree in another course and would like to transition to nursing and get a BSN. This will save you time and even money by just transitioning instead of enrolling afresh for the degree. It takes about 2 years for fulltime students. You can choose to get your BSN either in a traditional nursing school or online depending on how you learn best. If you’re self-disciplined and dedicated, you can learn online. However, if you learn best by interacting with other students and professors, then an on-campus program is the best for you.  The accelerated program is usually the same time as a typical BSN program, but you begin earlier than a BSN. The time is usually 800 hours, sometimes less. You may need to look into your prospective school for minimum requirements though most schools require a minimum of 2.5 to 3.0 GPA.

Graduate Level Nursing

This program is offered to those who would like to become something like nurse educator, nurse manager, nurse administrator or other nursing leadership positions. The basic requirement is a BSN license, but there are a few programs that bridge RN to MSN and basically this course takes 18 months to 3 years. There are so many advantages to being MSN, but at this level, financial help is scarce while the tuition is high.

As you can see, the courses are varied meaning you can take as short as 2 years or as long as 6 years and sometimes more depending on the level that you want to achieve. The perks that come with being a nurse are quite a lot especially on the salary where an LPN makes almost $45,000 per year and a nurse with MSN can make almost $90,000 depending on the state and experience. The rules vary from one country to another so you might find that you have to get experience before getting to the next level in one country, while in another it’s okay to study continuously to the next level. You need to remember to confirm the requirements in your place of residence before enrolling.

Sometimes choosing the specific field to study on nursing can be a tough choice. First, it’s important to acknowledge you’re not the only one torn on making this choice.  If you’re tethering on the edge wondering where to start, then it’s better to start as an LPN nurse. That way, you can find where you want to specify on as you’re still gaining your experience. There are over 100 professions you can choose from the nursing field. So, don’t be hard on yourself. You can choose while you’re still increasing your experience. This can thus end up being an interesting journey where you learn by practicing.

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