Written by – Julia Merrill
If you’ve been contemplating the rewarding and time-honored career of nursing, now is the perfect time to get started.
Over the next decade, nurses will be in high demand to care for the aging population — including in Ypsilanti — and to treat the growing number of patients with acute or chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Advancements in healthcare technology and treatments also make the job outlook for nurses promising — and exciting.
Types of Nurses
A career in nursing puts you on the frontlines of health care and helping others. There are many ways to work in the field, from entry-level certified nursing assistants to top-tier administrative executives. The main roles in nursing can be divided into three categories:
Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse
LPNs and LVNs support registered nurses and doctors by administering basic care. Duties include:
- Take vital signs
- Change bandages
- Record and report patient status and concerns
An LPN/LVN certificate or diploma from an approved technical school or community college and at some hospitals. These non-degree programs typically take a year to complete.
RNs collaborate with doctors to provide critical care in hospitals, clinics, schools, and patient homes. Responsibilities include:
- Assessing patient needs
- Administering medications and injections
- Monitoring and operating medical equipment
Education required: An associate degree in nursing, though many employers and hospitals prefer candidates with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Some schools offer specific programs such as pediatrics, rehabilitation, oncology, and psychiatry.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Focused on patient-centered care, APRNs perform physical exams, order medical tests, diagnose medical problems, and prescribe medications. These roles include:
- Certified nurse anesthetist
- Certified nurse-midwife
- Nurse practitioner
Education required: A Master of Science in nursing that includes a concentrated area of study plus coursework in health care leadership, research, and policy.
Finding the Right Program
Different kinds of nursing programs benefit different kinds of aspirations. If you’re a high school graduate who wants to enter the profession quickly, a CNA or LPN certificate might be the place to start. With good performance and continued education, you can be promoted to positions with more responsibility.
If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, look for schools that offer fast-track second degree BSN or bridge MSN programs that require fewer hours for completion. Many nursing schools also offer nonclinical classes online, which are ideal for parents or full-time workers.
Finding Your First Job
Whichever certificate or degree path you choose, enroll in an accredited program that is approved by your state’s board of nursing. This ensures eligibility for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and license, which is required to practice in Michigan. Resources for finding your first job include:
- School career counseling office
- Local chapter of the ANA
- Clinical round preceptors (nurse mentors)
While many nurses begin working in hospital or community health settings, it’s also common for nurses to pursue advanced coursework and higher-level administration, research, consulting, or teaching positions as they gain more experience.
Opportunities for Advancement
Starting a career in nursing opens the door to a multitude of future possibilities. To learn more about how to start your nursing career in Ypsilanti, Michigan, visit Heart to Heart Healthcare Training today.
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