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Many people are training to become nurses by taking online certification and degree courses, and some of these courses can be finished in a year or less. There are also many benefits to becoming a nurse in today’s world. The nursing profession is considered to be both a pandemic-proof and recession-proof job that will always be in demand. So, here are some more reasons why pursuing a nursing degree online is a good idea and what types of positions are available for new graduates.
A Void Creates Opportunity
Before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, there was already a general shortage of nurses within the healthcare industry. Simply put, the healthcare industry has been growing faster over the past decade than anyone had anticipated. Many new forms of healthcare and specialties created a void, as new roles and positions opened up very quickly.
Then, the pandemic occurred, and not only were more nurses needed to handle the influx of sick patients arriving at hospitals, but many nurses chose to pursue other careers at this time. There was a lot of confusion and uncertainty, which contributed to the void we’re now seeing in nursing positions.
That’s why it’s an excellent time for new nurses to enter the healthcare industry, with many employers willing to pay higher wages than before due to the shortage.
The Rise of Telehealth Nursing
Telehealth is the use of technology or telecommunications to deliver healthcare services to patients remotely. This can involve the use of chatrooms, video conferencing, text messaging, and phone calls. The telehealth industry was already becoming a recognizable force in healthcare before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic turned it into a recognized necessity.
Overnight, telehealth became the primary way that many healthcare practitioners chose to deliver their services. Because of this, many companies have now invested a significant amount of money and resources into strengthening their telehealth presence. This creates a unique opportunity for anyone who is thinking about becoming a nurse through an online degree program because the skills to become a nurse in any field can be gained, along with online experience.
Certified Nursing Assistant
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) position requires less medical knowledge and responsibility in a healthcare setting than other nursing positions. However, this doesn’t mean that their jobs are easy. CNA job duties can be varied, but typically include assisting patients with tasks that they might not be able to do themselves. This could involve anything, such as helping patients dress or bathe.
Becoming a CNA is easier than other nursing jobs because a college degree normally isn’t necessary and there are many different avenues available to becoming trained. Most colleges and higher institutions offer CNA training courses, and online courses are available which can prepare aspiring CNAs for both telehealth and physical positions. To become certified, a CNA exam must be passed, which is typically taken after one has accrued some knowledge and experience from their previous training.
The path to becoming a registered nurse (RN) might involve a bit more education, but with this comes the potential for a greater base salary and more responsibilities than a CNA position can typically offer.
RNs often work very closely with patients and monitor their care. Duties might include designing treatment plans for patients, assessing and documenting their health progress, and providing medications while educating patients on how to take them.
To become an RN, you’ll normally need to complete between 2-3 years of school in order to obtain a nursing diploma. This diploma can be earned through either an associate or bachelor’s degree program, which can be taken online through an accredited course or in person at either a college, university, vocational, or trade school.
The nursing diploma is the most basic form of education you’ll need to become an RN, but it’s not the only option. Advanced degrees may help you further in securing an RN position or might result in a higher paying position. These types of degrees can include an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both of these degrees can be pursued online, with an ADN degree requiring 70 credits to graduate and a BSN requiring 120 credits.
Educational training, regardless of the degree and whether it’s done online or not, normally involves undergoing some form of an internship, which has traditionally been performed in hospitals. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the significance of telehealth, some online programs are offering online internships as well.
After you graduate from school, you'll need to take and pass a test known as the NCLEX-RN exam. The point of enrolling in a nursing program through an educational institution is not only to prepare you to become an RN but also to prepare you for this exam so that you can pass it. Once you pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you can then apply to become licensed in your state or area.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) position requires much more education than a CNA or RN job requires, but an APRN’s salary more than makes up for this.
In the United States, the average salary for this position is just over $90,000 starting out. A big reason for this is because the responsibilities of an APRN are often similar to a doctor’s responsibilities. In the same way that doctors often specialize in certain practices or areas of medicine, APRNs are often specialty nurses that focus their training and knowledge on a particular focus of healthcare.
A typical day for an APRN might include diagnosing and treating patients for certain conditions, educating patients about specific health matters, and ordering lab tests. It’s a position that involves very close contact with patients and a high level of knowledge about evolving health conditions and care.
To become an APRN, you’ll first need to attain either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. A Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) is the most common type of degree that APRNs normally hold. However, doctorate degrees in nursing, such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP), are also commonly held.
Many online APRN programs offer these degrees to encourage distance learning for those who can’t physically attend school. However, online courses are often a hybrid mix of both online and physical training, with more of the coursework being offered online.
Once you have your degree towards becoming an APRN, you must then become certified by taking an exam. Because APRNs are normally specialty-focused, the type of exam you take can differ depending on which area of care you plan to specialize in. After successfully passing an exam, you can then apply to become licensed, which is a process that varies depending on location.
Licensed Practical Nurse
A licensed practical nurse (LPN), also known in some states as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), is a nurse that typically works under either a doctor or a registered nurse, but in some cases, they may work independently.
LPNs carry out many different duties, such as dressing wounds, measuring vital signs of patients, collecting urine or blood specimens, and monitoring medical equipment. Their level of responsibility is typically less than a registered nurse’s level but above a CNA’s. In many cases, LPNs can move up the ranks within the ranks of a company and eventually supervise CNAs.
The education requirements to become an LPN are much less demanding than for other types of nursing positions, which is one reason why many choose this role over others. You’ll need to attain an LPN certificate, which can be earned in a year or less through most community and vocational colleges, as well as online.
After that, you can apply to take the NCFLEX-PN exam, which will earn you a nursing license once you successfully pass it. The average salary in the U.S. for an LPN position is between $45,000-$50,000, depending on experience.
Training to become a nurse online can be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Once you graduate, you’ll be entering an industry where your skills will ultimately save lives and play an important part in the everyday care of patients. You’ll be equipped with the skills of today, so you can easily transition to telehealth or other emerging forms of healthcare that didn’t exist a decade ago. That’s why there’s no better time than now to get started.
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