Deciding to become a nurse is a major commitment of time and money, whether you decide to attend a traditional program or a nursing school with content delivered online. Nursing school has a reputation for being tough, and for good reason. Nurses are on the front lines of patient care, and they have to be ready to deal with the stress that comes with it.
Are You Cut Out to Be A Nurse?
First, ask yourself if nursing is really the right career for you. Here are some questions to consider before enrolling in a BSN program.
- Are you comfortable in hospitals and other healthcare environments?
- Do bizarre odors or a bit (or a lot) of blood, urine or feces seem like a minor nuisance, or do you totally freak out?
- Do you have compassion and empathy for other people, regardless of their circumstances?
- Can you set aside your problems when you go to work and fully focus on patients’ needs?
- Do you have, or are you willing to develop, the physical endurance to work 8-to-12-hour shifts on your feet?
- Can you remain patient and calm in hectic and unpleasant circumstances?
- Do you have, or can you develop, the communication skills to function in any environment?
How to Become a Nurse
After you decide you have the disposition to become a nurse, your next decision is the educational path you want to pursue: a diploma in nursing, an associate degree in nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The BSN is increasingly becoming the preferred degree by many employers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each BSN program has its own admission requirements you will have to meet to be accepted into the program.
One option is an online BSN program. Students typically select online programs for their convenience and flexibility. Online programs also have challenges such as limited face-to-face interaction with classroom instructors and other students. But the online forums, virtual classrooms and multimedia material can more than make up for it.
Skills for Completing Nursing School
Whether you choose to attend nursing school online or in a traditional classroom environment, you will need:
- The ability to prioritize and effectively schedule your time.
- Good study habits.
- A support network — family and friends — who are there when you need them. Make sure they understand you may not be the “social butterfly” they are used to.
- The mental fortitude to keep going when you feel frustrated and want to give up.
- The ability to practice the self care you need to stay healthy, including remembering to have fun.
While completing nursing school online may seem daunting, the rewards of a nursing career can outweigh the trials of getting through school. Nurses can make a huge difference in people’s lives, caring for them when they are most vulnerable.
Nurses also earn above average salaries. The median annual wage for registered nurses in May 2015 was $67,490, according to the BLS. If you have the disposition for nursing and you want to earn a good living while helping people, it may be time to commit to nursing school.
Learn about the UT Arlington online BSN program.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Is Nursing School Realy “That” Bad?
Online Versus Traditional Nursing Education: Which Program Meets Your Needs?
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