doctor and nurse at hospital corridor

Nursing is a fruitful profession with a wide variety of career paths and significant income and professional growth potential. Although educational options to qualify for certification exams are nowhere near as expensive or time-consuming as medical doctor programs, aspiring nurses do have to commit to study and education to gain practical nursing skills and real-world experience.


High school and college students thinking of pursuing nursing can start their careers on the best footing by taking the time and effort to prepare themselves for the rigorous (but ultimately rewarding) path ahead before they’re in nursing school.


Focus on the Right Classes

Because healthcare is a science, you’ll want to focus on the relevant classes. Prioritize math and science, particularly biology, anatomy and physiology if offered, taking challenging AP courses if you’re in high school or more advanced courses if you’re in college. You should also acquire first aid and life support certifications outside of school, which can be valuable assets to highlight in your applications. Building a reliable foundation of medical knowledge will give you a competitive edge as a nursing school applicant.


Volunteer at a Hospital

One of the most effective ways to find out if a career in nursing is for you is to volunteer at your local hospital. Shadowing nurses and seeing first-hand what their day-to-day duties look like will give you a better understanding of what a career in nursing, both the rewarding and challenging parts, might entail. Volunteer work has the added bonus of bolstering your nursing college application. Volunteering can also give you a sense of the various specializations in nursing and may help you decide if any in particular excite you.


Pick a Degree

Before you begin your application, you’ll need to choose from a variety of nursing degrees and diploma paths. There typically isn’t just a general “nursing” degree you can apply for. Students will need to decide between a Licensed Nurse (LN), Registered Nurse (RN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree – each of which has distinct benefits, drawbacks and unique job offerings.


For example, a practical nursing diploma program can be completed in four semesters, after which you will be eligible to sit for the Licensed Practical Nursing examination. This program is your quickest path toward becoming a nurse, but once completed, you’ll need to enroll in an LPN to RN associate of applied science program to qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Registered nurses may have access to higher-paying positions of greater responsibility.


A Bachelor of Science in Nursing may technically be the longest program, but students don’t have to pursue all 120 credits in a single, prolonged sitting. Many students pursue the process in parts, starting with the practical nursing diploma before pursuing the LPN to RN associate degree and then finishing the last 60 credits of the RN to BSN coursework entirely online.


Graduates of the RN to BSN program have the educational foundation to pursue a broader range of nursing positions afterward, including leadership positions in a variety of medical practices.


Research Specializations

Aside from choosing a specific degree, it’s also helpful if you have an idea of which specialization you’d like to pursue. Nursing specializations include but are not limited to geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, surgery, dermatology, orthopedics and palliative care. While you don’t have to decide your specialization immediately, many students discover a specific area of interest or a type of care they find particularly fulfilling while in nursing school. Having a general direction can ensure your medical education is relevant to what you’re interested in, helping you make the most of the nursing program.


Study Different Nursing Programs

Picking the right school is crucial. While personal success ultimately depends on the student, not the school, the right school will give you ample support, providing you with the guidance and resources you need to perform well in your duties and one day reach your dream nursing career.


At St. Louis College of Health Careers, we offer a wide selection of robust programs that cater to a variety of nursing positions and specialties. Our experienced nursing instructors provide hands-on experience and rigorous coursework so students can hit the ground running and start a fulfilling medical career confidently. We’ll help you develop outstanding skills in your field, including critical thinking, patient communication, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, patient safety and more


Excel in Your Chosen Field With a Reputable Nursing Education in St. Louis, MO 

At St. Louis College of Health Careers, we mold aspiring nurses into skilled professionals who are well-prepared to meaningfully contribute in hospitals and medical offices the moment they’re hired. You’ll learn from experienced faculty who will work one-on-one with you to strengthen your ability to provide compassionate and effective patient care and implement treatments with hands-on training and clinical experience.


We also offer fully online programs for nurses who want to advance their careers in their downtime. Our flexible approach helps nurses get the education they need at a pace that works for their life, enabling them to qualify for higher-paying roles, such as nursing leadership positions or healthcare administrators.


Get an edge over the applicant pool. Learn more about our programs and start your application today by calling 866-529-2070.

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