There are lots of great reasons to go into nursing and it’s one of those professions that people feel truly passionate about. If you feel that calling and you just can’t wait to make a start, how quickly can you get the qualifications you need? This depends on exactly what you want to do and how you want to approach it, but you’ll be excited to hear that at the most basic level, it’s actually possible to do it in less than a year.
Becoming an LPN
Qualifying as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) normally involves taking an 11-month course. This sometimes includes a practical element, allowing you to get some experience working in a ward even sooner, though you’ll be under close supervision and most of what you do will not directly involve patients. LPNs don’t earn particularly high wages and are restricted in the duties they can perform, but it’s relatively easy to find work after you graduate and you can start helping people straight away. There are also lots of opportunities to boost your qualifications.
Undertaking an Apprenticeship
While you’re studying for your LPN qualification, you must be able to get accepted onto a nurse apprenticeship program. This is ideal for many students as it provides the opportunity to earn while you learn. It’s the way that all nursing was taught in the old days, and it will give you invaluable experience, enabling you to develop and refine practical skills from making beds to taking pulses and helping patients eat – all essential to the smooth running of a ward.
Becoming an RN
Most nurses seek to qualify to at least Registered Nurse (RN) level, which allows them to undertake most of the day-to-day tasks carried out by nurses in a hospital environment, though they still need a doctor’s supervision for some of them. Wilkes University courses at this level take between one and three years to complete, depending on the hours you can put in. You will need to complete a set number of supervised clinical hours before you can collect your diploma.
Is there any way that you can get through nursing courses faster? The good news is that they’re a lot more flexible than most other forms of further education. It’s often possible to ditch vacations and work straight through between semesters. Some people volunteer to work for health charities in underdeveloped areas (in the US as well as abroad), helping them to make up their tally of clinical hours more quickly. Mentoring can also help, improving your understanding and reducing the risk that you will have to repeat parts of your course.
It’s important to recognize that studying at this pace is physically and mentally tough, especially if you’re working at the same time. This in itself can be considered good training for the demanding business of working as a nurse, however. Once you qualify, you’ll find that there are lots of ways that you can keep on learning and improving. The only way is up.