Is a Nursing Degree Right for Me?

Nursing is an exciting medical career with a positive job outlook for the future. It is not, however, a career choice for everyone. Prior to making the commitment to attend nursing school and pursuing a nursing career, one should be certain that it is the right choice for them. To do this, careful thought must be put into what it takes to become a nurse, what to expect when attending nursing school, and what a nurse's exact job requirements are.

Challenging Requirements

Nursing Wordcloud.

Nursing school, for example, is often challenging and time-consuming. A person must be willing to invest not only the time spent in school, but also devote a significant amount of his or her free time to studying. If working, in a relationship, or caring for children, he or she should consider how these factors will be affected by a busier schedule and lack of available time.

The expense associated with nursing school is yet another area that one must take into consideration. Although the exact cost of nursing school varies from state to state and from program to program, it typically costs less to attend a two-year program at a community college as opposed to a four-year program at a college or university. A person should contact colleges in his or her local area in order to research the all-in cost of various programs after accounting for financial aid programs they are elligible for. This is the best way to determine the cost of attending nursing school and will help him or her determine if that cost is prohibitive.

Making Early Preparations

Making the decision to enter a new career shouldn't be taken lightly and all options must first be taken into consideration. People contemplating nursing school should have the right mindset going into the program. They should be professional, focused, and open to learning. Preparation for nursing school begins as early as high school. During that time students should take between two to four years of certain classes. Four years of English and at least three years of math are often necessary. In addition, a high school student will need three to four years of social studies, and a minimum of two years in science. Two years of a foreign language is also recommended, although it is not required. Additionally there are prerequisite college courses that must be completed prior to attending nursing school. Anatomy and Physiology are common prerequisites, as are biology and math; however, this typically varies from one school to another.

Ideal Personality Traits

When considering a career in nursing there are certain personality traits that indicate a person will make a great nurse. These characteristics are typically ideal for dealing with patients, their families, and doctors. One should have compassion, patience, calmness, and confidence. Leadership skills are also a necessary trait for nurses. These characteristics are shared by famous nurses such as Mary Ezra Mahoney who was the first African-American Registered Nurse (RN); Clarissa "Clara" Barton who was nicknamed "The Angel of the Battlefield" during the Civil War and who founded the American Red Cross; and Florence Nightingale.

Visiting School

A person doesn't have to make the decision to enter nursing school by her or himself. There are various people who can help by giving advice and information that may make the decision an easier one. Visiting nursing schools is one method of determining if nursing is the right path to pursue. Setting up an appointment to speak with a counselor will help the potential nursing school student learn more about the programs and courses at any given school. An appointment can be made to speak with the counselor in person, by phone, or online. Speaking to current nursing students about their experiences and any hardships will also help in determining if nursing school and nursing is the right fit. Online forums for nurses are also a good place to find nurses and nursing school students who are willing to talk and share the pros and cons of nursing school.

The decision to attend nursing school, or to start any new career, is a major one that requires careful thought, and cautious decision-making. A calculated approach to making this decision enables one to make the right career choice. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of nursing school prior to attending, a person can save themselves in both money and time. For the right people, nursing is a career that is both incredibly challenging and fulfilling.

Recommended Resources

For information about nursing career choices after nursing school, please see the following list of links.

Further, we published a series of interviews of popular bloggers who work in the nursing field to help people get many perspectives on starting a career in nursing.

Nursing beyond the books.