Nursing Programs

The United States has a high demand for nurses. Every community, no matter how large or small, depends on these caregivers to provide aid for those in need.

This is why over 4 million people in the United States, or one out of every 100, have chosen this rewarding profession.

Trade Schools with Nursing Programs

Yes, you can go to trade school for Nursing!

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Levels of  Nursing

With all the acronyms and vocabulary to learn, it can be daunting for newcomers to understand nursing hierarchy. The following list begins with the lowest-paying role and ends with the highest-paying that requires the most schooling.

There are several levels of the trade, each with their own education and experience requirements. Entry-level prospects train to become CNAs and LPNs.

Those with proven skills can gain additional nursing education and become RNs.

CNA

Average Salary: $35,740 per BLS.gov


Education Requirements

To become certified assistants, students need a high school diploma. They must also complete CNA school, which takes anywhere from two weeks to three months.

Classes are available at community colleges and vocational centers. Finally, in order to become licensed, prospects need to pass state-approved written exams and skill tests.

What Do They Do?

Certified nursing assistants are responsible for the basic care of individuals. They help nurses with daily tasks and relay patient information to LPNs, RNs, and doctors.

The roles of CNAs may differ between states, as standards can change based on geography.

Job Duties

Typical duties of a certified nursing assistant include:

  • Preparing medical instruments for use
  • Changing the position of subjects on tables or beds
  • Feeding and cleaning up after patients
  • Assisting individuals to treatment areas and bathrooms
  • Helping with clients’ hygiene routines
  • Aiding nurses and doctors during medical processes
  • Transporting, storing, and cataloging biological materials

During CNA classes, students train to assess patient condition and operate nursing equipment.

They learn to apply splints, dressings, and bandages. After a few years of experience and additional schooling, CNAs can move on to become LPNs or RNs.

More Information

Learn about CNA schools.

LPN

Average Salary: $54,620 per BLS.gov


Educational Requirements

Those willing to attend more classes can train to become LPNs.

Diplomas take about 12 months to earn, while an associate degree may take up to 24 months. Students study in classrooms and gain hands-on experience in clinical settings.

After their schooling, hopefuls must apply for a state license and pass a NCLEX-PN exam.

What Do They Do?

While they sometimes perform the same tasks as CNAs, licensed practical nurses take on a broader scope of nursing responsibilities.

They work beneath the guidance of RNs, NPs, CRNAs, and doctors.

Job Duties

While their duties differ from state to state, most LPNs tend to patient needs and follow treatment plans prepared by RNs.

In California, Texas, and Vermont, people refer to LPNs as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). The two terms are often used synonymously.

In average settings, the responsibilities of LPNs and LVNs include:

  • Discussing disorders and treatments, addressing concerns
  • Entering symptoms and other info into computers
  • Reporting patient status to doctors
  • Recording and monitoring vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate)
  • Collecting samples
  • Operating nursing equipment
  • Changing bandages and dressings
  • Looking for changes in patient condition
  • Provide leadership when needed

More Information

Learn about LPN schools.


Registered Nurse

Average Salary: $81,220 per BLS.gov


Educational Requirements

To become a registered nurse, one typically needs to complete an accredited nursing program, which can be a diploma from a hospital program, an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), and then pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

What Do They Do?

Drawing upon their thorough medical training and experience, registered nurses (RNs) analyze patient data and develop personal care plans.

Under physician supervision, they choose the types and amounts of medication that LPNs give to patients.

RNs are subject to different licensure boards than LPNs. Recruits will need to pass another state exam, the NCLEX-PN, to become registered.

Job Duties

Typical RN duties include:

  • Conducting physical exams
  • Reviewing health histories
  • Maintaining precise patient reports
  • Coordinating care efforts
  • Developing treatment plans with physicians
  • Choosing and administering medications
  • Providing health education, counseling, and coaching

Nurse Practitioner

Average Salary: $11,840 per BLS.gov

Nurse practitioners (NPs) have even more training than RNs. These advanced practice workers possess a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing.

Defined as mid-level practitioners, they can act as regular healthcare providers, serving patients the same way as physicians. Their duties include:

  • Carrying out patient examinations
  • Arranging tests
  • Diagnosing ailments
  • Forming treatment programs
  • Writing prescriptions

CRNA

Average Salary: $281,336 per Indeed.com

Certified registered nurse anesthetists play a critical role during medical procedures. They work directly with surgeons, dentists, and anesthesiologists to control the deliverance of anesthetics to patients.

These highly-trained medical professionals are also responsible for the following:

  • Reading through patient’s medical histories
  • Noting possible drug reactions with specific health conditions
  • Informing subjects of possible side effects or adverse reactions to anesthetics
  • Comforting patients before and after anesthesia
  • Looking after vital signs during surgeries and procedures
  • Conducting spinal, epidural, and nerve blocks

Salary

Entry-level nurse pay rates can be very competitive. Median yearly earnings are around $45k.

Experience is a big factor when determining hourly wages, which average at roughly $21. For nurses of advanced practices, annual salary packages may reach up to $80k and beyond.

Employment benefits of nursing jobs often include:

  • Significant healthcare coverage and medical insurance
  • Sick days and paid time off
  • Day care and gym discounts
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Tuition reimbursement for further nursing training
  • 401(k) retirement plans
  • Maternity leave

Career Overview

Jobs in this diverse field allow caring people to comfort sick and needy individuals. Nurses work in rotating day and night shifts to provide support for ailing people of all ages and backgrounds.

In many cases, nurses serve as vital liaisons between patients and doctors. Sufferers often interact with their nurses more than they do their actual physicians.

While this puts a great deal of pressure on caregivers, it makes their job rewarding and emotionally fulfilling.

To prepare for the numerous challenges they will face, candidates attend an accredited nursing school to gain the needed skills.

What Is the Nursing Process?

Caregivers follow five steps, called the Nursing Process, to ensure subjects receive equal care:

  • Assessing the patient – During a discussion, the professional evaluates a person’s physical status, economic standing, and lifestyle choices.
  • Diagnosis of symptoms – The nurse forms an educated conclusion on the subject’s potential health issue or issues.
  • Planning action – A diagnosis is discussed with the patient. The medical professional plans milestones and recovery timetables.
  • Implementation – The plan of action is set into motion and patient recovery is documented. This phase can vary greatly from case to case. In some instances, it may only last a few hours, while for others it can last months or years.
  • Evaluation – Patient response to the care strategy is analyzed. The outcome usually falls into one of three categories: condition improved, condition stabilized, or condition worsened. If needed, the nurse will refine future care plans based on conclusions drawn from the Evaluation step.

While earning a nursing degree or certification, recruits become experts in this five-step method. Regardless of their chosen branch of practice, caregivers use this process as a foundation throughout their careers.

What Are Useful Qualities for Nurses?

  • Empathy
  • Trustworthiness
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Hard-working mannerisms
  • A fast-learning mindset
  • Thirst for knowledge
  • Friendliness
  • An extrovert personality
  • Selflessness
  • A passion to help people

Work Environment

Hours & Schedule

During the beginning of their career, licensed practical nurses might have to work unusual hours such as third shift. As they gain experience, LPNs usually get the opportunity to move into day shifts.

New recruits must consider how they might have to alter family routines or childcare arrangements upon landing a job.

Where Can Nurses Work?

While many caregivers find assignments in hospitals, there are several options to practice elsewhere. Here are some places job seekers can find nursing employment:

  • Extended care facilities
  • Assisted living centers
  • Adult day care institutions
  • Nursing homes
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Clinics
  • Laboratories
  • Private homes (house calls)
  • Military bases and establishments
  • Summer camps
  • Schools
  • Sporting facilities and athletic programs
  • Prisons, jails, or correctional facilities
  • Community health centers
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse clinics
  • Live concert venues or music festivals

Can You Work Remotely?

Common nursing home jobs include case manager and health supervisor. These individuals combine their nursing knowledge with data entry skills to work partially or fully from their place of residence.

Those who prefer to avoid the commotion of common medical settings can also become house call nurses. These folks see around 6 patients per day, much less than the average worker in an office setting. Today there are even apps that patients use to summon nurses to their home, fueling increased demand for the occupation.

What Can You Do to Achieve Success as a Nurse?

Nurses must be reliable and punctual, never showing up late and rarely calling in sick. Successful nurses put their patients at ease while discussing issues and ailments.

While most companies prefer candidates with experience in medical settings, entry-level nursing roles are available to newcomers with proper nursing education.

During a nursing job interview, prospects need to dress tastefully and professionally.

A solid colored, tailored suit is best to wear, along with well-fitting, polished shoes. Wear minimal jewelry and be sure to show up well-groomed.

Other Career Options for Nurses

There are several unique options for licensed LPNs and LVNs looking to expand.

They can attend more schooling and move up to become RNs, NPs, or CRNAs.

Other full-time and part-time nursing jobs to consider include:

  • Pediatric endocrinology
  • School nurse
  • Psychiatric practitioner
  • Nurse researcher
  • Orthopedic nurse
  • Travel nursing jobs

Midwifery

Students interested in providing comfort to pregnant women should consider a career in midwifery.

While medical doctors are trained to manage high-risk pregnancies, midwives specialize in less complicated, low-risk pregnancies.

In addition to assisting during childbirth, the tasks of a midwife include:

  • Giving advice about reproductive health
  • Answering questions and assisting with needs during pregnancy
  • Looking for signs of complication from mothers and babies
  • Caring for newborns
  • Providing emotional and physical support during the postpartum period

Midwives practice in a number of locations, including clinics, hospitals, homes, and community centers.

Career Outlook

Compared to other occupations, nursing job growth is quicker than average.

In the United States, over 700,000 people find employment in the field. This number rises every year and should do so well into the future.

Upon certification, most prospects attain work with little trouble.

Nurse Shortage

According to the American Journal of Medical Quality, the United States is experiencing a shortage of nurses.

These professionals are particularly in demand throughout the Southern and Western states. This is good news for students, as those interested in nursing careers shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work.

While females dominate the U.S. nursing workforce, more and more men are entering the trade. Around ten percent of today’s nurses are male, as opposed to the three percent seen in the seventies.

It is projected that the amount of men enrolling in CNA and LPN courses will increase as time goes on.

Those searching for rewarding, well-paying occupations should consider nursing careers.

Nursing is one of the most crucial jobs in the workforce, as all of us have received help from a CNA or LPN at some point in our lives.

Interview with a Nursing Student

An interview with Alicia Vaca, who graduated from a nursing program at MedVance Institute in Houston, Texas.

What program did you participate in?

The Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, specializing in emergency medicine.

What is your current career?

I am an RN in an ICU for Adult Care.

What’s a typical day in your career?

Normally I work a 12-hour shift in the Intensive Care Unit. I am also on the on the 24 hour on call list as a flight nurse. I range from having a patient load of 3-5 at any particular time. My duties include taking vitals, giving meds, and more.  I have been on two emergency flights in the last year. Now I am also on the list as a traveling nurse. That was my dream since I first heard about those kinds of opportunities in high school.

How did your training help you get into this career?

Well, I have always known that I wanted to go into nursing, but it wasn’t until my experience at college and living away from home that I saw how great it was to see new places and work at different types of medical institutes and hospitals. That is when I really knew I wanted to get into flight and traveling nursing. Any opportunity to save someone’s life or make a difference is worth the hard work it takes to get there.  What I learned at Medvance will stay with me forever, as well as the relationships and friendships I built. Obviously you cannot become a nurse without going to nursing school, and I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it had not been for this school.

How would things be different for you if you hadn’t received this training?

Without going through a proper nursing program I wouldn’t be able to work as a registered nurse, and most definitely wouldn’t be able to work on medical flights. Employers prefer a traveling nurse to be either an RN or LPN. I worked in a nursing home facility before college, and I would still be there today, or perhaps even have given up on the medical career had it not been for this education.

Were you happy with the training that you received?

Yes. I was really timid going to a college so far from home. However, after learning the lay of the land, meeting new people, as well as dorm mates and classmates, things started going very well.  Houston was very welcoming and the training I received was fantastic. Not only did I get the education I needed, but I also learned how to apply it to my daily life, in and out of the workplace.

How long was the program?

I was there for roughly a year and a half. I had completed my pre-requisites while still in high school allowing me to jump right into the nursing program. I believe there are different programs and amounts of classroom time for everyone.

What were your favorite classes and why were they a favorite?

Clinicals were my favorite; you can learn only so much from a textbook. It was great hands on work with added pressure. That is how I learned, and it stuck!

What did you take from the program that you use in your everyday job tasks?

I don’t think that there is anything in my everyday life that I don’t use. As an RN you are responsible for someone’s mother, father, best friend, or grandparent. These are not just patients these are people with lives. You have to accept everyday challenges, and that there are some things you cannot control. Everything I use in my daily work life I learned while I was in the nursing program at the MedVance Institute.

Did you receive any financial aid or scholarships?  Which ones?  Were these easy to obtain?

I had a savings fund from my parents and other family members. I did not work while in Houston. All of my time and concentration went to my studies.

Did you go to school on a full-time or part-time basis?

Full time.

Were any of your classes online?

No.

Did you consider other programs?

No.  I had always known nursing was where I wanted to concentrate my time and energy. I chose a school out of state to broaden my horizons.

Why did you choose the one you did?

I have family near Houston. I also have a family member who also graduated from the MedVance Institute and I saw what they are doing with their career. I want the same for my future and myself.

What other programs did you consider?  Why did you choose the one that you did?

If I had gone with a different nursing program it would have been something local just to stay close to family and familiarity. However, you have to step out of the box every now and then.

Would you recommend this school to someone else? Why or why not?

I already have. My younger sister sees what I have done with my life, and she wants to follow in my footsteps and pursue a career in medicine. She’s not sure as to what level yet, but I do know she loved Houston when she was there visiting and she loved the campus as well.

If you could do it all over again, would you?

Yes. There is no doubt in my mind.  I have been out of school only three years, and I am already assisting in different medical cases that I could only dream of, riding on medical flights, and getting the opportunity to see the world and help people. I would say this was definitely worth the wait, and the hard work.

About how many other students were in your classes?

My graduating nursing class was rather large. There were 28 of us. I come from a smaller community so that seemed like a lot to me. Most of our community colleges back home normally hold 10-12.

For your particular program, are there any special licenses or certifications that you need to receive before getting a job?  If so, what are they and what do they entail?

Yes. There is a Board exam that I had to prepare for and pass. Without the training and classroom time I had at MedVance I would not have been prepared for that.  They sat us down and did a test prep the best that they could and it helped tremendously.

Related Resources

Becoming a Registered Nurse in Florida
Becoming a Registered Nurse in Texas
Becoming a Registered Nurse in California