Your Path to a Successful Nursing Career

If you are interested in becoming a nurse, you must be familiar with the path to get there. We encourage you to look at the personal traits it takes for success in nursing as well as the traits you should be looking for in a nursing program.

Bird's eye view of a winding road in the woods

Most registered nurses view a successful nursing career as one that allows them to make a positive impact on the lives of others. While helping others a great reason to want to become a nurse, it’s important to understand that it takes more than compassion to get you to a career in nursing. To be a successful nurse, you must possess several other personal traits and receive a quality education to thrive in the profession. Let’s take a closer look at the journey to becoming a nurse.

First Leg of Your Nursing Journey

While your desire to help others is certainly admirable, many people looking to transition into the profession don’t understand the depth and breadth of what it means to be a nurse. Nursing students, for example, are often surprised to learn that nurses are responsible for helping patients with personal care tasks such as feeding and bathing.

Therefore, your path to a successful nursing career starts with you making sure you have what it takes to become a nurse. If you can answer “YES” to the seven questions below, you can move on to the second leg of your journey.

1. Are you eligible for an accelerated nursing program?

While every accelerated nursing program has a unique set of admissions requirements, most of them require a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. There are, however, programs out there that only require a certain amount of college credits to apply. We’ve also seen programs that accept applicants with 2.70 GPAs.

2. Can you keep pace with an accelerated nursing program?

Most accelerated nursing programs comprise four, full-time semesters of rigorous study. It’s pretty much comparable to a full-time job with some overtime required. Therefore, you want to make sure you have the time, energy and resources to devote to your nursing education.

3. Are you good at science and math?

Nurses must have a solid understanding of human physiology, human anatomy, microbiology, chemistry and algebra to be able to perform their jobs successfully. Therefore nursing schools require prospective students to successfully complete a series of science and math prerequisites before applying to their accelerated programs.

4. Do you perform well under pressure?

Nurses face a wide variety of stressors while on the job. Whether it’s discussing treatment options with a patient’s emotional family or dealing with a life-or-death situation, nurses must be able to think on their feet and problem-solve.

5. Can you show compassion and empathy toward others?

Nurses work with patients from all walks of life. No matter a patient’s belief system or background, nurses must be sympathetic and look at every situation from that individual’s point of view.

nurse sitting and bonding with her senior patient

6. Do you have good physical endurance?

Nurses need to have the stamina to be able to work long shifts and carry out physical tasks, such as standing for hours at a time, lifting equipment and providing physical support to patients.

7. Can you cope with death?

Nurses often care for terminally ill patients who tug at their heartstrings. Therefore, it’s important to understand that you can’t save everyone — and be OK with that.

Second Leg of Your Nursing Journey

The second leg of your journey to a successful nursing career involves finding the right accelerated nursing program. While you don’t need to go to an Ivy League school to be a successful nurse, you do need to attend a school that prepares you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam with confidence and to enter the profession a practice-ready nurse.

With hundreds of accelerated nursing programs to choose from, here are five questions to ponder as you seek out the best education option for you.

1. Is the program accredited?

It’s important to attend an accredited accelerated nursing program that has the endorsement of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

2. Does the program have high acceptance rates?

At most nursing schools, the number of applications received far outweigh the number of seats available. The most accessible accelerated nursing programs are those that combine online and onsite instruction as well as offer multiple start dates per year.

3. Does the program have high NCLEX pass rates?

Every nursing school graduate must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to be able to legally practice the profession. Therefore, it’s important to choose an accelerated nursing program that places significant emphasis on NCLEX preparation.

4. Does the program offer diverse clinical placements?

It’s important to choose an accelerated nursing program that provides extensive real-world experience in diverse areas of nursing practice. This will afford you a more well-rounded education as well as allow you to explore your interests within the field. Also, because of the current nursing shortage, health care employers want new hires to be able to work without constant supervision.

nurse walking to clinicals

5. What are the program outcomes?

If you want to stand out with health care employers, it’s important to look at the proposed outcomes of an accelerated nursing program. The program you attend should teach you how to:

  • Provide safe, effective care across the patient lifespan.
  • Deliver compassionate care to patients from all walks of life.
  • Provide care that aligns with the faith and cultural needs of patients.
  • Apply clinical judgment in all types of patient care scenarios.
  • Follow the legal and ethical standards for nursing practice.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to improve patient outcomes.

Need help finding a successful path to nursing?

By completing our quick online form, we can connect you with accredited, accessible and accelerated nursing programs that fit your qualifications. This is a free, no-obligation service, and we only share your information with the non-profit nursing schools for which you qualify.

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Ready to start your nursing journey?