Path to Becoming a Nurse: Try These Helpful Tips

Making a change in careers can be a difficult choice due to any number of reasons or situations. The path to becoming a nurse requires you to make some big decisions, which can lead to a lot of anxiety and worry. Here at Northeastern University, we hope to help with any troublesome decisions by providing a few helpful tips.

So why nursing? The demand for nurses continues at an all time high, especially for those with a Bachelor in Science of Nursing. To become a nurse demands compassion and caring, but also dedication. Nursing is also a gift that will give the best to those who succeed in school.

Path to Becoming a Nurse: Try These Helpful Tips

Research: University, Cost, & Career

Like any big decision, choosing where to start your nursing education will require careful consideration on many factors: university, cost, and career. Since you’ve decided to pursue a field in nursing, these will need even more scrutiny. It’s important to find the right fit to reach your end goal.

If you wish to get a degree in nursing, it’s important to look for several key things while searching for the right school. There are a lot of universities to choose from, including community colleges, with many pros and cons between each of them.

Here is a quick list to help in deciding the right university:

  1. Pick a university that is accessible without too much travel or hassle.
  2. Is the school accredited? Make sure the college or university is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or both.
  3. What is the NCLEX pass rate? The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is the yardstick by which nursing students are measured. All nurses are required to take it to earn licensure to practice in state.
  4. Do they offer clinical rotations? It’s important to look at clinical offers to find which setting best suits you for your future career.

Northeastern University is among the Top 50 Schools in the Nation. We are also partnered with some of the best hospitals in the US.

Pursuing your BSN through Northeastern University will offer an array of opportunities for any career path in nursing you choose to take and provides a unique Accelerated BSN program for prospective nurses.

While any secondary (or tertiary) education can be pricey, there are many ways to finance your nursing education. Many university financial offices can help prospective students find a number of grants, loans, or scholarships to help pay for the expense.

Check out these 6 tips for exploring financial aid:

  1. Verify eligibility status. You must meet the general requirements in order to qualify for federal financial aid.
  2. Complete FAFSA as soon as possible. The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the sooner you will know if you need to look at other loan options.
  3. Understand award timelines for aid.
  4. Explore options for federal aid. If you filled out your FAFSA, some of these options will depend on how soon it was completed.
  5. Consider private loans. Sometimes federal financial aid can’t cover the entirety of tuition and fees. That’s where private loans come in to help balance what can’t be covered.
  6. Get to know your financial counselor. It’s important to get to know the university financial counselor. They’re there to help students learn more about financial aid.

Accelerated BSN Prerequisites

On your path to becoming a nurse, you may discover you need a few more courses before you can continue. These prerequisites may vary between schools, but future students at Northeastern will want to pursue courses in microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, and psychology. The Accelerated BSN program also requires you to have a prior degree in another field to be eligible.

If you happen to still be in school earning your first degree and are considering starting an accelerated BSN program immediately, use your final semesters to complete some of the prerequisite courses. This allows you to start your program as soon as possible.

Surviving Nursing School

While making the decision to return to school for nursing is stressful, actually going to school is a different adventure. Now that you’ve been accepted, what do you do now?

Here is a quick nursing school survival guide:

  1. Remember that your fellow classmates are just as nervous. Making an important career change in life can cause a lot of anxiety that everyone handles differently.
  2. Schedule personal time to release stress. And don’t feel guilty about it!
  3. Make friends! The class is on their own nursing path together. Make the most of the new experience by making important connections.
  4. Keep a healthy lifestyle. Set the example with yourself first.
  5. Learn to laugh at yourself. It helps promote optimism for mood improvement. And it helps self forgiveness for any mistakes made, and mistakes will happen.
  6. Develop time-management habits. It’s important to keep priorities in order and set a schedule. Once it’s in place, follow it. No excuses.
  7. Don’t pull all-nighters before an exam. Sleeping is vital for learning and memory.

After Graduation

You’re finally at the end of your nursing journey, but there are still a few more steps before you can start your nursing career. The NCLEX nursing exam is one of the biggest milestones for nurses. The NCLEX must be passed to obtain an RN license and legally practice as a nurse.

But what should be expected of the NCLEX nursing exam? The exam format will vary for each test-taker. It is a computer-adaptive exam, which means the computer selects the questions based on your previous answers. Questions are organized into four major categories (“Client Needs”) and cover the span of the nursing curriculum at random.

Test takers have six hours to complete anywhere from 75 to 265 questions of the NCLEX nursing exam. Those six hours includes a tutorial on how the test is taken and any breaks (optional) taken.

Once you’ve passed the NCLEX nursing exam and become a licensed nurse, now it’s time to find a job! If you’ve had a clear career goal, you should have an idea of where you’d like to go. It’s important to have a strong resume in order to get hired.

Here are 6 tips for resume writing:

  1. It should be designed for easy scanning, but still draws attention.
  2. Tailor for the job. Take the time to customize your resume for each position, not just make one single resume for every job you apply for.
  3. Showcase transferable skills. Demonstrate your strengths for the position you are applying.
  4. Include technical experience. It’s important for nurses to know tech.
  5. Less is more. Keep your resume down to one page, or two pages at the most.
  6. Market as a leader. Highlight instances where you’ve taken charge, assumed responsibility, or initiated a positive change.

Though the journey to becoming a nurse is long and sometimes stressful, the opportunity to become one is a gift. It will open doors across the nation, allowing you work in a rewarding field and make a difference in the lives of your patients every day.

Interested in learning more about Northeastern’s Accelerated BSN program in Massachusetts? Contact us today.

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