Nursing Careers Introduction


 

A nurse is someone who works with patients and is an advocate for their needs, wants, questions and overall desire to get well. He or she works with all types of other healthcare staff including doctors, CNAs, respiratory and physical therapy, dietary and many more. She is the intermediary between the physician and the patient and is often the first person to notice a change in a patient’s condition, for better or worse. 
 
 
What is the job description of a nurse? 
 
There are 2 basic kinds of nurses: LPNs and RNs. While there aren’t a lot of differences between the two, RNs do have more responsibility and priviledges. Nurses in general spend their shift passing medications, doing treatments, making phone calls to other healthcare workers providing continuity of care, educating patients and families, inserting IVs, drawing blood and much, much more, all while overseeing the work of the CNAs. It has been said that each shift, a nurse performs around 75 different job duties. 
 



Where can nurses work? 
 
Nurses can work anywhere that there is a demand. Common places include hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, prisons, home health and doctors’ offices. They can also work with lawyers for lawsuits related to medical care, as nurse educators, or in management. The areas in which nurses can work is vast and various.

 
What type of education is needed to work as an nurse?  
 
Education for LPNs and RNs vary. LPNs generally attend school for around 1 year and graduate with a certificate. RNs attend school for 2-3 years and graduate with an associate’s degree in nursing. Both of these types of nurses must successfully take a state board exam before they are licensed, practicing nurses. If you decide to go to school to be an LPN and then want to further your education to become an RN, this generally takes an additional 1-2 years of schooling. 
 
How much is nursing school? 
 
The cost of nursing school varies greatly from state to state and even city to city. Going to school to be an LPN is generally cheaper because it is less schooling. The average tuition for an LPN is around $10,000. The cost of RN programs vary greatly and can cost anywhere from $100 a credit hour, to over $500 a credit hour. Both programs also include additional expenses such as uniforms, books, nursing supplies (such as a stethoscope) and more. 
 
What is the NCLEX and how do you prepare for it? 
 
The NCLEX is a licensure exam every nurse must take after graduation before they become a licensed, practicing nurse. It is all done on a computer in a highly supervised area. The length of the test depends on how well you are doing. It can be a minimum of 75-80 questions and up to over 200 questions. As you progress through the test, it will determine your nursing knowledge. Once it is confident that you are competent, or when it thinks you aren’t ready to be a nurse, the test will stop. You will find out from the state board of nursing through the mail if you have successfully passed the test. There are hundreds of books, flashcards, videos and more out there to help you prepare for this test. Your schooling is the best preparation you can get. Your nursing instructors should be able to provide you with ample resources so you can successfully pass it on your first attempt. If you don’t pass it the first time around, you can take it again after approximately a 3 month waiting period. 
 
Once a nurse, what is the salary expectation? 
 
The average salary for an LPN is around $40,000 a year. The average salary for an RN is around $55,000 a year.

What are the job duties of an RN?

RN's performs many different jobs daily, both nursing and managerial tasks. Nursing tasks include passing medications,
giving injections, IV therapy, assessments, documentation, wound care, treatments, patient monitoring, communicating to
the patient and physician, patient education and more. Managerial tasks include monitoring the work of the nursing assistants
and LPN's, as well as working more on the paperwork aspect of patient care rather than bedside care.

Where can RN’s work?

RN's can be employed in any type of healthcare setting from long-term care to being a school nurse to being a case worker at
the health department. Because LPN's are being phased out in some areas of healthcare, RN's are in even more demand to fill
those positions.

What type of education is needed to work as an RN?

In most instances, if someone wants to obtain their Associate's degree in nursing for their RN, it usually takes 6-12 months of
pre-requisite courses and 2 years of an actual nursing program to obtain the degree. If someone wishes to be an RN/BSN, this
is a 4 year degree and the student will graduate with a Bachelor's in nursing.

How much does RN training cost?

The cost of RN training varies based on what type of degree a student wishes to obtain, and whether it's obtain from a technical
college, university, private college, etc. An associate's degree from a technical college will cost thousands of dollars, but will vary
depending on the amount of pre-requisite classes the program requires, etc. Expect to pay atleast $10,000 in tuition for an
associate's degree in nursing, but this can cost 2-3 times as much. A BSN program averages about $40,000 and up for all four
years.

What is the NCLEX and how much does it cost?

The NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, is the state test a nurse must take and pass before he or she can be
licensed and practice as a nurse. For an RN, the number of questions varies per student and ranges between 75 and 265 questions.
Students are allowed 6 hours to complete the test. In the United States, the exam is $200 plus an application fee that ranges from $75
to $150 dollars. A student may take the NCLEX multiple times, but must pay the exam fee each time it is taken.

How do you prepare for the NCLEX?

Coursework in nursing school will be the basis of what you should study for the NCLEX. There are 100’s of NCLEX study guides,
flashcards, websites, etc. that can be accessed to assist a student in studying, which is highly recommended by the State Board of Nursing and nursing instructors alike. There are also specialized courses that students can take to prepare. These courses are usually a couple hundred dollars and last a couple days.

Once a licensed RN, what is the salary expectation?

Although salaries vary for nurses based on specialty, location and facility, RN's can expect to make $22 to $30 an hour base rate as a new graduate. With experience, RN's can make up to $50 an hour in certain instances. If the working nurse only has an associate's degree, many institutions will also pay for the nurse to go back to school for his/her BSN or even higher.

What are the job duties of an LPN?

LPN’s perform many different tasks daily. These tasks are a mixture of nursing and nurse aide tasks.
They include activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, etc.), passing medications, giving injections,
IV therapy (where allowed), assessments, documentation, wound care, treatments, patient monitoring,
communicating to the RN and physician, patient education and more. LPN’s work more at the patient’s
bedside versus an RN.

Where can LPN’s work?

LPN’s can work in any type of healthcare facility. Most often they are found in long-term care or rehabilitation
facilities, nursing homes and doctors offices. Hospitals employ LPN’s, but have started to phase them out and
replace them with RN’s. After a year or more of experience, LPN’s can also work as home health nurses or for
Hospice.

What type of education is needed to work as an LPN?

LPN training programs are generally 9 - 12 months long. Technical or vocational schools generally offer this type
of training, however, some high school students are able to enter the program as a senior through their school’s
vocational program. LPN programs teach students about diseases and illnesses that effect people, pharmacology,
treatments, professional issues, anatomy & physiology, medical terminology and much more. Students also will be a
student nurse under the supervision of a nurse instructor for many hours, in many different types of healthcare settings
throughout the schooling. Once a student passes each course and clinical, they graduate and can register to take the
state licensure exam.

How much does LPN training cost?

If a student enters an LPN program through a vocational school while in high school, usually only fees are paid
because the institution pays the tuition. For adults, the combined cost between tuition and other fees can be as much
as $11,000.

What is the NCLEX and how much does it cost?

The NCLEX, or National Council Licensure Examination, is the state test a nurse must take and pass before he or she
can be licensed and practice as a nurse. For an LPN, the number of questions varies per student and ranges between 85
and 205 questions. In the United States, the exam is $200 plus an application fee that ranges from $75 to $150 dollars. A
student may take the NCLEX multiple times, but must pay the exam fee each time it is taken.

How do you prepare for the NCLEX?

Coursework in nursing school will be the basis of what you should study for the NCLEX. There are 100’s of NCLEX
study guides, flashcards, websites, etc. that can be accessed to assist a student in studying, which is highly recommended by
the State Board of Nursing and nursing instructors alike. There are also specialized courses that students can take to prepare.
These courses are usually a couple hundred dollars and last a couple days.

Once a licensed LPN, what is the salary expectation?

On average, LPN’s will make between $15 and $20 an hour, depending on location and the employer. LPN’s that work
independently or through an agency can make up to $25 an hour or more.

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