Find Nursing Schools Blog
Posted On: December 11,2013
Working during nursing school might not be right for you, and that’s okay. The most important thing to keep in mind when looking at options for making or saving money is that nursing school should always come first. You’re investing a lot into becoming a nurse, and it’s important to focus on the end result.
If you’re looking to make some money while in nursing school and have something to get your mind off of nursing school every now and then, getting a part-time job in something unrelated to healthcare might be a good choice for you. Here are some options:
- Open an Etsy shop: Opening a shop on Etsy isn’t for everyone, but this job is perfect for creative individuals who enjoy crafting in their spare time. Explore what people are currently selling to get an idea for what you can contribute.
- Babysit: You’re never too old to babysit. Babysitting is one of the best ways to make money while not committing to 40-hour work weeks. If you’re interested in working with children as a nurse, babysitting offers an additional bonus.
- Become an Uber driver: Uber connects reliable personal drivers to passengers in more than 35 cities around the world. Drivers for Uber can receive great compensation and choose their own hours. See if your city is hiring for drivers!
If you’re looking for a job that will connect you to healthcare and give you relevant work experience while in nursing school, here are some jobs to consider:
- Train to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): CNAs must be trained and certified, so you should strongly consider your current situation to ensure you have enough time in your schedule. Employers are usually flexible with CNAs, understanding that many are going through nursing school. With this job, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with many nurses!
- Apply to be a transporter: Transporters ensure that patients are safely moved to and from different areas of the hospital. No certification is required. This position allows you to work in a hospital and interact with both patients and nurses.
If a part-time job isn’t for you, here are three easy ways that you can start saving money today:
- Pack your lunch: Spending 5 to 10 dollars on lunch each day adds up. Packing your lunch is a great way to save extra money.
- Buy in bulk: If you have the storage space, try out bulk stores where you can get savings on everyday items if you buy more.
- Plan your meals for the week: You’ll be less likely to want to eat out if you plan your meals each day and buy the groceries for them early.
What are some other ideas for making and saving money while in nursing school? Whether or not you decide to work during nursing school, there are plenty of ways to financially plan. Click here to learn about ways you can pay for nursing school.
Posted On: December 4,2013
Making the decision to attend nursing school is a giant first step in launching a fulfilling career, but there are still plenty of decisions left to be made about which kind of nursing program is right for you.
In order to find the program that is the best fit for you, it’s important to take some time to consider your long-term career goals, as well as what functions you see yourself carrying out in your day-to-day life as a nurse. You’ll also want to consider your personal learning style, daily schedule, financial capacity and timeline for getting through a program.
Once you have an idea of your own needs and priorities, you can begin to look at the different nursing degrees and programs available to you. Here is an overview of the some options that exist:
Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide (CNA)
Education: Accredited CNA training course or program
Careers: CNAs most often assist RNs and LPNs in providing long-term care to patients. Many CNAs find work in nursing homes or providing in-home care, focusing on the quality-of-life needs of the patient. In hospital settings, CNAs may often serve as a liaison between the RN and patients, tracking the patient’s vitals and alerting the RN of any changes or concerns. Due to regulations, CNAs are not permitted to perform some procedures and must be supervised by an RN or LPN.
Program Types: Training programs are typically 6-10 weeks in length. Students must then sit for certification exam for a specific state. Many community colleges and online programs offer CNA courses. The Red Cross also offers a CNA training course.
This might be for you if…
- You enjoy interacting and caring for people.
- You desire to help those in need.
- You have strong communication skills.
- You don’t want to spend a lot of time in school.
- You aren’t looking advance into leadership positions.
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nursing (LPN/LVN)
Education: LPN technical certificate or diploma or an associate’s degree
Careers: Like CNAs, LPNs work alongside RNs, focusing on the bedside care of patients. However, LPNs may perform more procedures than CNAs, such as administer medications, start IVs and work with technical devices such as ventilators. LPNs can be found in hospitals, nursing homes and in-home care agencies.
Program Types: Many community colleges and online programs offer LPN certificate programs, usually about one year in length. LPN certificates may concentrate on a specific discipline, for example: Basic Life Support (BLS), Case Management (CCM), Gerontology (GC), Long-Term Care (LTC) and Wound Care (WCC).
This might be for you if…
- You work well in fast-paced environments.
- You desire a technical skill set.
- You want the opportunity to perform more procedures on patients.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Education: Associate degree or bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in nursing
Careers: Qualified registered nurses are in high demand across all areas of the healthcare system. Because RNs have achieved a higher level of education and understanding of medical conditions and procedures than CNAs and LPNs, they have more responsibility when it comes to patient care. RNs are directly involved in creating and carrying out patient care plans, administering medicine and treatments, consulting with other health care professionals, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests, instructing patients and their families about at-home care and overseeing CNAs and LPNs.
Program Types: In order to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse, a nurse must have completed at least an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program. ASN programs are typically two years in length, while Bachelor of Science (BSN) programs are traditionally 4-year programs. However, there are an increasing number of Accelerated BSN programs ranging from 12-16 months in length. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs are usually 2 two additional years of study and can concentrate in specific areas such as Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Nursing Education. Various programs also offer career advancement programs for students who already have a degree in nursing, such as an RN-BSN program.
This might be for you if…
- You enjoy both the theory and technical aspects of the health care profession.
- You are comfortable managing people and high-stress situations.
- You are open to a longer program of study.
- You have a desire to advance your nursing career.
Advanced Practice Nursing (Doctorate)
Education: 3-5 additional years of schooling with dissertation required
Careers: The Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) prepare nurses for clinical and administrative leadership roles in a hospital setting. The Doctor of Nursing Education (DNE) prepares nurses for faculty or high-level administrative roles.
Program Types: While there are an increasing number of online options, most doctoral programs are offered in a traditional classroom setting with a required dissertation to culminate the program. Students may enter doctoral programs as post-BSN or post-MSN students.
This might be for you if…
- You are interested in the “big picture” of the healthcare system, including the financial side.
- You enjoy managing people.
- You desire to have a leadership role in the health care field.
- You enjoy school and learning.
Although it may seem overwhelming, the information above only scratches the surface of opportunities available to you as you consider attending nursing school. Within the categories listed above, there are numerous concentrations and certificate programs for specializing in specific areas. There are also a host of formats in which to complete nursing school – on campus, online or a hybrid of the two. Many schools now also offer accelerated programs that get you in and out of nursing school more quickly than traditional programs.
After you have a clear idea of your own needs and goals as a nursing student, spend some time perusing the resources on this site to learn more about the options available to you. The opportunities are endless!
Posted On: November 27,2013
It’s time for the holiday that we all know and love that falls this last week in November: Thanksgiving! The family gathers, football is playing, and best of all, the food is on the table. During all the festivities, Find Nursing Schools knows that one thing is sure to be on a nursing student’s mind: finals. Nursing school shouldn’t take away from your enjoyment of the festivities, so plan your studying around times when your family will be out and about (think Black Friday shopping or during a football game you aren’t invested in) or set aside a time when you know you can get the most studying done. Also, know that some foods are not a good idea when you want to focus on studying.
You can still enjoy all the Thanksgiving foods with your family, but when it comes to study time, we recommend steering clear of the following foods that have counterproductive effects on your concentration:
- Turkey: Although this delicious staple will be plentiful for the Thanksgiving meal and leftover meals for days to come, it isn’t the best study food. Why you ask? Because of turkey’s key player in the amino acid arena: L-tryptophan, which has a sleep inducing effect in the body. Although we don’t recommend indulging in a full plate of turkey before hitting the books, turkey in a small amount (think one slice instead of an entire leg), can be helpful for studying because L-tryptophan does have a calming effect, which can help you if you are nervous about the material you are studying.
- Desserts: Now let us be clear, we only mean to suggest avoiding the desserts table if you are about to study! You don’t have to avoid the yummy pecan pies and brownies for the entire holiday, just before burying your nose in your books. The reason to avoid foods high in fat and sugar before studying is because most dessert recipes call for enriched flour as well as butter and sugar. Consuming these three ingredients together leads to a crash in your blood sugar levels which dramatically reduces your energy and your brain’s ability to function to its best ability.
- Mashed Potatoes and Gravy: We know what you’re thinking: Is there any food that IS good for studying during the holidays since we’ve taken away all the Thanksgiving staples? We’ll address this question in a minute, but first we’ll explain why mashed potatoes and gravy are a not so groovy for studying. Potatoes are loaded in starch, which isn’t ideal but nowhere near as bad for studying as the butter and heavy cream that goes into the mashing. These additions, as well as the heavy turkey gravy, can reduce your energy levels and make you feel too stuffed to even fit any information in. So what IS good for you when you’re studying? Switch the white potatoes out for sweet potatoes, which are rich in vitamin A and fiber – two energy packed ingredients.
Posted On: November 20,2013
Those attending nursing school to become registered nurses aren’t qualified to practice nursing the moment they graduate. Nursing graduates must pass a licensing exam called the NCLEX-RN before they can work as an RN.
NCLEX stands for “National Council Licensure Examination.” It is a standardized test helps measure the competency of entry-level nurses. After you complete a nursing program, you are qualified to sit for the exam. Here are a few things you might not know about the NCLEX-RN:
1. The exam isn’t the same for each person.
You can (and should) talk to registered nurses about what their NCLEX-RN experience was like, but that won’t necessarily be indicative of what your experience will be like. The exam looks slightly different for everyone because it is computer adaptive, meaning it adjusts its questions based on the answers it receives. What stays the same for everyone is that you must complete a minimum of 75 questions and won’t complete more than 265 questions.
2. You won’t know exactly when the exam will end.
Since the NCLEX-RN is computer-adaptive, the exam ends when one of the following happens:
- You have shown competency and answered at least 75 questions.
- You have shown lack of competency and answered at least 75 questions.
- You have answered 265 questions
- You have been taking the exam for six hours.
It is best to plan to spend six hours taking the exam, so you don’t feel rushed. The six hours allotted includes breaks. Don’t spend your time trying to figure out why you’re still taking the exam when others aren’t or the worrying about why your exam ended before others. Instead, focus on the questions and do the best you can.
3. If you don’t pass, your nursing career isn’t over.
This is the hardest fact for most graduates to grasp. The exam is pass/fail, and you can expect get your results within two to four weeks of taking the exam. While many nursing school graduates know the joy of finding out they passed, many also know how it feels to receive a notice that they’ve failed.
If you fail, you can take the exam again 45 days after you first sat for it. You will even receive a diagnostic profile to help you determine what to study to prepare for your next attempt. Review the diagnostic profile carefully. Not passing the exam does not mean you are not prepared to be a nurse, just that you failed to demonstrate your ability during the exam. Research exam preparation to help you study for your next try.
If you’re ready to become a registered nurse, research programs that can prepare you to sit for the NCLEX-RN today.
Posted On: November 13,2013
For about 15 years, my wife was an advertising professional. However, about three years ago, my wife decided to quit advertising and become a nurse. We both decided an online accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing would be the best way for her to enter the healthcare field. She has since graduated and is now an RN working as a clinical research nurse coordinator.
I recently interviewed her about her memories from her first year of nursing school and discovered how the seemingly simple things can be extremely significant.
What is a memorable moment or story from your first year as a nursing student?
I’ll never forget getting my first stethoscope. My mom bought it for me. It was navy, and I still have it.
Why was the stethoscope significant?
First, it was a surprise gift form my mother. Second, it was at that moment that I felt like a legitimate nurse. Even though I had really just started nursing school, I felt like a real nurse. It was part of the package. It was true equipment – a tool for me to use with patients.
The stethoscope does seem like a nurse’s sword, so to speak.
I think there’s a certain power associated with it. In nursing school and now at work, I have nurse colleagues who say that family members and even neighbors will ask them to provide medical advice. The neighbors come over for a visit and say, “Could you look at this rash?” and often, “Could you get your stethoscope and listen to my child’s breathing?”
It sounds like you took on a new identity as a nurse very quickly, even as a nursing student?
Yes, you do. After starting clinicals, there are a handful of other things that I guess you could call equipment that you get. I remember buying a nice pair of walking shoes. They were a nice brand, and the kind with an inverted heel that helps improve posture. They were expensive, and I remember feeling justified buying them because, well, I was a nurse! They were horribly ugly too. But I was a nurse!
Better yet, in the same vein, I looked for excuses to wear my scrubs in public. I was very proud of the fact that I was a nurse, and I wanted others to know it. The first time I wore my scrubs in public was at the grocery store, and I remember feeling proud to be part of a group that most people weren’t part of.
Do nurses have a special bond, even ones you may not know personally?
Yes. Even today, I still notice other nurses who might be wearing their scrubs in public, and we often make eye contact. We know what our daily lives are like, how tough it can be sometimes, but also how rewarding it can be. It’s nice to recognize others when they’re wearing scrubs or have bumper stickers on their car. It’s nice to belong and see others like you.
Was nursing school an overall good experience?
Very much so. It’s interesting how quickly you are forced to shed your old work life and identity. You’re able to start being a nurse very quickly even though you’re in school, and I liked that.
Posted On: November 6,2013
When many think of nursing, they think of hospitals. If you’re considering a career in nursing, it’s important to remember that your options are not limited to hospitals or even healthcare facilities in general. Nurses work in various settings where their job is equally as important as it is in hospitals.
So, what are a few of these areas outside of hospitals where nurses can work? Take a look:
From elementary school to high school, nurses are needed onsite at schools. School nurses care for students who get sick or injured while at school and administer daily medications that must be taken during school hours. According to Salary.com, a school nurse makes an average salary of $44,542. There are many perks to being a school nurse, including getting to know your patients and usually receiving the same benefits and designated time off as faculty members.
Nurses are needed work in law offices as legal nurse consultants to offer medical advice to attorneys in healthcare-related lawsuits. They may testify as an expert witness in court proceedings and are involved in research alongside attorneys. Payscale.com reported a salary range of $40,500 to $94,734 for nurses working in this role. This career is an excellent option for nurses who want to use their knowledge of healthcare but aren’t interested in being bedside caretakers.
Many join the nursing profession to make a difference, and organizations like the Peace Corps and the Red Cross give them an opportunity to do that in a whole new way. Nurses working for non-profit volunteer organizations have the opportunity to travel the world and may even qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs. Opportunities with volunteer organizations are perfect for nurses who want a new and exciting experience every day and seek to have a positive impact around the globe.
That’s right. Nurses are needed on vacation from time to time. Each cruise ship must have medical professionals on board to ensure that all passengers will be well cared for if illness or injury strikes. Cruise ship nurses earn an average salary between $4,200 and $4,900 per month. They also have the opportunity to travel, meet diverse people and usually receive room and board.
Every nurse has to be educated by someone who knows the profession. Many nurses use their skills to train new nurses at colleges and universities. These positions usually require graduate degrees. The average salary according to the AACN is $72,028 and depends on education level and experience. Educating future nurses is a great way to ensure your skills are positively affecting patients even when you aren’t working with them on a daily basis.
Where do you want your nursing degree to take you? The opportunities are endless. Find out more about nursing specialties here.
Posted On: October 30,2013
When your closet begins to overflow with scrubs, with everything from traditional colors to festive patterns, it may be time to make some space for a work wardrobe update. But before you go throwing out all of your old work wear, check out some of our ideas for putting those scrubs to use. There are many ways to repurpose scrubs – at least those that are in decent condition – to solve everyday household problems and create some fun DIY projects.
Here’s just a few ideas for putting your old scrubs to new uses:
Treat your pup with a fresh look by cutting old scrubs into large triangles and tying them around your pooch’s neck.
Everybody loves receiving (and tearing into) a well-wrapped package. Be crafty and environmentally friendly this year by wrapping your gifts in old scrubs. Wrap just as you would any other gift, simply use twine or ribbon to tie the package closed.
Picnic basket liners:
Going on a picnic this fall? Line your basket with fabric cut from old scrubs to add a pop of color and catch any crumbs that may fall into your basket. Use this same trick to add to the presentation when making holiday gift baskets. You can even use a small patch of the same fabric to place over a jar lid when sharing your home-made goodies with loved ones.
Pillows and quilts:
If you are lucky enough to have a grandma who passed down her quilting skills, cut old scrubs into small quilting cloths and make a pillow or blanket with mix-and-matched fabrics.
If you’ve really got some sewing skills, put them to the test by up-cycling your old scrubs into tiny little clothes for a baby or doll. If that seems too advanced, try sewing a simple tote bag.
Once you’ve cleaned your scrubs, use them to scrub your house clean! Tear up old scrubs into cloth-sized squares and use just as you would any other dusting cloth. You can even let them air dry after soaking in water and lemon juice to make them true dust magnets.
Do you have any other ideas for repurposing old scrubs? Share them with us!
Posted On: October 23,2013
An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree both prepare students for the NCLEX-RN examination. Both programs provide adequate preparation for entry-level nursing positions. While an associate degree program is right for some people, a bachelor’s degree opens up a wider range of career opportunities, including entrance to a graduate program in nursing. When deciding which degree path to follow, it’s also important to look into the future of nursing. The Institute of Medicine has called for 80% of registered nurses to hold at least a bachelor’s degree by 2020.
The first step to nursing school is weighing out the benefits and costs of each degree path. Take a look at our infographic to help you determine if a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program is right for you.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice
Institute of Medicine, The Future of Nursing
National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, Meeting the Challenges of the New Millennium
Posted On: October 15,2013
Due to increasing healthcare demands and the constantly evolving medical system, nurses who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher are in demand. Healthcare professionals working as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) have the opportunity to advance their careers in nursing by advancing their education to the baccalaureate level.
The Call for Baccalaureate-Educated Nurses
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released The Future of Nursing in October of 2010, which addressed the serious need for nurses with higher levels of education to enter the workforce. According to the report, nurses who possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing are better prepared for the ever-changing healthcare system and increasing healthcare demands. The IOM believes that increasing the amount of baccalaureate-level nurses will improve the quality of care patients receive and effectiveness of treatments. That is why the IOM committee initiated a call to increase the number of nurses with their BSN by 80% by the year 2020. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) shares the same opinion of the IOM and considers the minimum education requirement for registered nurses to be a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Education Options and Benefits for CNAs
For those holding a CNA, there are a few different ways to become a registered nurse. The most common method is through CNA bridge courses. Most bridge courses allow the credits earned from your CNA program to transfer to the degree you wish to earn. CNA-to-RN bridge courses are the most common method and can be completed by earning an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Corresponding with the IOM’s initiative and AACN standards, we will focus on the CNA-to-BSN route today.
The choice to advance your career to become a registered nurse is a big decision. It can lead to many opportunities that weren’t previously available, as well as higher compensation and career advancement. Earning your BSN is a time commitment, but there are degree options available to meet different lifestyles. Traditionally, BSN degrees are earned through four-year programs. However, accelerated BSN programs are emerging that combine online and clinical learning that earn you your BSN in less than two years. Another option for CNAs is to complete a CNA-to-RN program and after sitting for the NCLEX. You can then apply for a BSN program.
An advantage that CNA’s hold over nursing students without a healthcare background is that CNAs can apply what they have learned in the workplace to their degree. Further, CNAs are familiar with healthcare settings, which can lead them to be even more prepared to reenter the field with as an RN and usually gives them a larger network when they apply to jobs.
To begin the process of transitioning from a career as CNA to a baccalaureate-educated registered nurse, browse our database of BSN programs. You can also learn more about your options in nursing by downloading our free nursing career guide.
Posted On: October 11,2013
My wife and I worked in marketing and advertising together for years. Then, she took a professional left turn. She decided to become a nurse. This required her to earn a second bachelor’s degree. Given our busy life and two children, we decided an accelerated online nursing degree would be best, so she could quickly enter the industry and begin her new career. In similar accelerated fashion, my wife speedily entered a new phase of her life. The reality is this: Not only will your spouse’s life be different, but your life will change as well. The good news is that it can all be positive change.
The following outlines the realities of being a spouse of an accelerated nursing student. And, it’s about the good news too. There’s no time for bad news. After all, we’re talking accelerated, so something has to give, right?
The honest reality:
Your spouse will have a new focus and schedule, and you will very likely be the primary initiator of activities.
The good news:
Your spouse will sometimes need time away from school and studying, so you two will still have fun. It’s even a good time to do spontaneous games and pranks. When my wife was in school, I often threw surprise pizza parties or had flash mob-like dance parties with my wife and two children. In addition, I took advantage of my newly found “me time.” After the children had gone to bed and my wife was studying, I took the time to read more, and I revisited my love of playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour (2004 ed.) on my PlayStation. There were changes, but I found ways to ensure that I (as well as my family) welcomed them.
The honest reality:
Most likely, you’ll have less income, as it is quite a challenge for someone to work while enrolled in an accelerated nursing program.
The good news:
Because you both will be busier and will have refocused your priorities as a family, it is easier to spend more conservatively. Once my wife enrolled, we did not dine out as often, and we did not make our typical, unnecessary trips to Target. In my wife’s case, prior to becoming a student, she worked in a professional setting, often requiring her to buy professional clothes frequently. As a student, those days were over.
This change in our finances also prompted us to think about low- or no-cost activities, even more than we were before. First, it prompted us to think about exercise! It’s free, and it’s something my wife had always said we needed to do more often. I began running again, and she practiced yoga at home more often. In addition, we sought out local street fairs and plays performed in public parks more so than before. We invited friends along so we remained connected. This worked out because cultural experiences have always been something we wanted to ensure our children had.
The honest reality:
If you have children, you must take on a larger parenting role as your spouse functions as a student.
The good news:
You’ll have the opportunity to take on a larger parenting role. This honest reality is a rather good one. My children are great, and I had more time with them than a lot of dads are able to have. So while my wife completed the clinical component of the program at local hospitals, I did get to expand my cooking knowledge, take more bike rides with the kids, and be responsible for drop off and pick up at school, which was important to me. If you are a parent, you know that finding time to meet teachers and your children’s classmates is difficult, but luckily, I had to find that time. The other good news is that my wife was able to take many courses online, so she was home while studying or writing a class post. The kids did get to see her even when she was “in class.”
The honest reality:
Over time, you may have learned about your spouse’s daily life or job to understand his/her frustrations and be able to offer advice. Being a nursing student, your spouse will have new frustrations, and unless you’re in the healthcare field, you will have no idea how to offer specific advice.
The good news:
This is your opportunity to learn how to listen and understand. I learned that not every problem needs an explicit solution, but that making every effort to at least understand the patient acuity group project assignment and why the due date is unrealistic goes a long way.
The honest reality when your spouse is enrolling in an accelerated nursing program: There will be changes. You will have less money. There will be challenges. The good news is your spouse has enrolled in an accelerated nursing degree, so it will be temporary and go by quickly.
The even better news: Once your spouse graduates, you can celebrate. When your spouse passes the NCLEX, you can celebrate again. After your spouse secures a first job as a nurse, you can celebrate even more!
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