Healthcare is a multidisciplinary sector that requires a team effort to thrive consistently. Every member is a crucial part of the healthcare force, from patients and counselors to doctors and lab workers. They must work hand-in-hand to ensure the success and prosperity of the whole organization. The one component that the healthcare team cannot function without is nurses.
Who is a Nurse?
Nurses are the backbone of any medical institution. They are the first line of contact and serve as a bridge between patients and doctors. Nurses assist any patient who walks in by helping them navigate through the multiple healthcare facilities the organization has to offer. They communicate with patients, assess their needs and concerns, and direct them towards the relevant specialist accordingly. They manage patient records, administer medicines, and assist doctors in drafting an appropriate treatment plan. The role of a nurse is ever-evolving. Their support is crucial to fostering a healthy doctor-patient bond, and without them, the healthcare force would crumble.
How to Become a Nurse?
The field of nursing requires tons of compassion, patience, and empathy. At its core, the role of a nurse is to support every member of the healthcare force, be it patients, doctors, or staff. If you view yourself as someone who would like to utilize their talents to make an actual difference in the lives of others, then nursing is the right career move for you.
- To become a nurse, you must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution. Many institutions now offer online nursing programs for individuals with hectic schedules. Students can create personalized plans that work best for their routines and acquire hassle-free learning in the comfort of their homes. You’ll acquire the basic knowledge and skills needed to interact with patients from all walks of life through this degree. You will also obtain clinical experience under the supervision of practicing nurses.
- Once you’ve finished your degree, you’ll be required to sit through The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. This exam intends to put your basic knowledge regarding the key areas of nursing to the test. It’ll be a judge of whether you are prepared to face the challenges of being a nurse in the real world. Clearing the NCLEX exam is crucial to obtaining a nursing license and becoming a registered nurse (RN).
- However, the journey doesn’t end here. There are numerous opportunities in nursing that you can pursue if you choose to attain higher education. To advance your career as a nurse, you must obtain either a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Nurse practitioners have much higher authority and autonomy as compared to registered nurses. Their role is more like a doctor, and they are offered higher positions with better salaries in the health care sector.
Registered Nurses Vs. Nurse Practitioners:
If you’re confused on whether to become a registered nurse or follow the longer route of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, then we’ve got your back! Here is a brief description of the roles and needs of the two in the healthcare sector.
The duty of registered nurses varies on a day-to-day basis. It depends mainly on the organization they serve and the size of their team. Job opportunities for registered nurses are available within hospitals and clinics and in schools, rehabilitation facilities, patient’s homes, military, and nursing homes. The key roles of a registered nurse include:
- Interacting with patients to assess their medical needs and concerns
- Creating and managing patient records, medical history, and current symptoms in detail.
- Assisting the designated doctor in creating a treatment plan that works best for the patient’s speedy recovery.
- Administering and monitoring prescribed medications and treatments. Keep a lookout for side effects and reactions.
- Tending to any wounds and injuries. While ensuring regular bandage changes.
- Scheduling regular check-ins. Take regular blood and urine samples to ensure that the treatment is working and the patient is on the path to recovery.
- Educating both the patients and their families regarding the condition and the treatment plan. Assisting them in navigating the healthcare facilities and calming their anxiety.
In hindsight, the role of a nurse practitioner is like that of a nurse, but they hold much more power and authority. And rightly so, because nurse practitioners must go through a rigorous education process ladened with evidence-based coursework and long clinical practice rotations. RNs who choose to further their education have to invest additional time and resources, but attaining the position of nurse practitioner comes with several perks:
- Unlike registered nurses, nurse practitioners don’t have to work under the supervision of a doctor or physician. They have the authority to start their private practice and work independently. They can diagnose and treat illness, prescribe medications, and perform all duties that a physician handles typically.
- While registered nurses are likely to be employed in hospitals and clinics, nurse practitioners can work in a more private setting like community clinics or educational institutes. This allows practitioners to work more standard hours, unlike nurses who have a variable number of shifts.
- Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner is higher pay. Due to their higher education and training, practitioners make almost twice the money that registered nurses make. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, the average median salary of a nurse practitioner is around $117,670. While in most states, registered nurses make an average of $668,450 annually.
Nursing is a very stable and in-demand career. It is constantly expanding. But becoming a nurse practitioner is bound to give you more security. It is the right move for a registered nurse who has been in the field for a long time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the demand for nurse practitioners will increase by 45% between 2020 and 2030. This percentage is far higher than most professions.
A career in the field of nursing will reward you in the long run. Whether you work as a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner, you’ll be improving the lives of all those around you. Knowing you’re using your skills to better humanity is bound to bring a sense of inner peace and contentment.