Find out how to get started in the field of nursing
If you are interested in the field of nursing, you might be thinking about becoming a Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse. What is the difference between the two? Practical Nurses (LPNs) are not as highly trained as Registered Nurses (RNs), and so you can become a practical nurse in a shorter period of time. Registered nurses are trained in more clinical areas than practical nurses, but both play an important role in the field of healthcare.
Here are the steps you need to take if you want to become a practical nurse.
Step 1. Learn more about the field
Before signing up for nursing school, make sure you know what you want. Read about what a practical nurse does so that you are sure you will like the type of work. Do some research on the job outlook for practical nurses to make sure that job growth is predicted in your region. Talk to someone in the field—maybe a nurse at your own doctor’s office—to get their take on practical nursing as a career.
Step 2. Take tours of nursing schools near you
Once you have decided on this career path, you can start looking for nursing schools near you. You can find schools doing a simple Google search. You can also talk to your guidance counselor at your high school to find out which schools in your area have a strong reputation. When you find some possible schools, start making a list. Then plan to take tours of each school, so that you get a feel for the way they teach and the school’s atmosphere. Try these questions:
- How long has the school been operating?
- Is the program approved by the state’s Board of Nursing?
- How modern is the school facility?
- What are the class hours? Are evening options available?
- Is there a Career Services office to help with job placement?
- What is the school’s job placement rate?
- Is Financial Aid available?
- How many other students are in the program?
You can apply to more than one school, and in fact, it’s a good idea to apply to several schools so that you have more options. For New Hampshire residents you can explore the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Manchester, NH. We offer training programs for practical nurses, nursing assistants, and patient care technicians.
Step 3. Fill out the FAFSA
Now that you have a list of schools that you might attend, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the first step to applying for financial aid at any school. You should list all the schools that you are considering in your FAFSA. For extra tips on how to complete the FAFSA, see Filling Out the FAFSA. Once you have completed this process, you will hear back from your schools within a few weeks about whether or not they can offer you financial aid.
Step 4: Choose a School
Next it’s time to choose your school! You will want to weigh out a number of factors, such as cost of tuition, amount of financial aid, and the school’s location. Alert the admissions department at the school, complete the enrollment process, and find out when classes begin!
Step 5: Time to Study
Like any school, nursing school requires hard work. You will need to attend all of your classes, put forth your best effort in your labs, complete your homework, and study hard for exams. Remember, your teachers want you to succeed and they are there for you. If you are having troubles, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for extra help. Remember, if you put in the effort, you can do well in your classes and feel proud of your accomplishments.
Step 6: Start your Job Search
Most nursing schools have career development offices that will help you get ready for the workplace. You may be placed in an internship or externship as part of your training, which will give you real-world job experience. You will learn how to write a resume and cover letter. You can practice interviewing through mock interviews. And you can develop your own LinkedIn profile. All of these steps will help you on your way to your first job in your new career field.
With these steps, we hope we have taken the mystery out of how to become a practical nurse. We wish you the best of luck in your new career path.