There are almost as many types of nurse training courses as there are schools to teach them. Every state has its own Board of Nursing that handles subjects like educational requirements, licensing and certification, and regulation. Training programs for healthcare professionals can vary from state to state, and even vary depending on the type of nursing that’s being taught. If you know you want to enter the nursing profession, there are a lot of potential nursing career paths for you to consider.
Licensed practical nurses. These care for sick people, usually under the guidance of a registered nurse or physician.
Registered nurses. These are a step above licensed practical nurses, and work to provide palliative and preventative care for patients and their families.
Forensic nurses. These registered nurses care for victims of violent crime, including providing emergency health care and collecting evidence.
Nurse midwives. These Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (or APRNs) care for women with low-risk pregnancies.
Nursing educators. These nurses teach nursing students.
Nurse practitioners. These APRNs can act as a patient’s primary care provider, in lieu of a doctor.
Nurse anesthetists. These APRNs specialize in giving anesthesia during surgery.
Clinical nurse specialists. These APRNs work with other nurses, to improve their nursing practices.
Region-Specific Nurse Training Courses
Many nursing training programs also depend on what areas of a state need nurses the most. By the year 2020, experts predict that there will be a wordwide shortage of around 800,000 nurses. A lot of states are experiencing serious nursing shortages already. As a result, states with large rural or remote areas have developed nurse training courses that teach students the particulars of providing healthcare in a very rural area. This can be a godsend for these states, since these programs can turn out nurses that are fully prepared to work in the areas where they are needed the most.
Choosing a Nursing Program-Two Years, or Four?
In many states, nursing shortages aren’t caused by a lack of interest in nursing, they’re caused by school systems that are too antiquated and inefficient to turn out the number of nursing graduates that a state needs. As a result, you may find that the nursing program that you want to enroll in has a waiting list. In that case, your options are to wait, apply to an out-of-state school, or try a different in-state school. If you are interested in becoming a practical nurse, community colleges in your area may have approved two year degree programs that can help you.
Unfortunately, though a two year nursing program is the shortest one available, it often takes longer for these nurses to become licensed than it does for those with four year nursing degrees. If you’d like to become a registered or forensic nurse, you’re better off in a four year degree program. If you plan to become a nurse educator or some form of advanced practice nurse, you will need a post-graduate nursing degree. In many cases, degree programs are just starting points for nurses. Some career paths, like forensic nursing, require additional training in things like evidence handling and SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) coursework.
Incentives for Nursing Students
Some students are drawn to particular nurse training courses because of the incentives that they are offered. Many areas with nursing shortages will offer students scholarships, low interest loans, or loan forgiveness if they are willing to work in a needy area after graduation. Schools that need teachers often offer the same incentives to students willing to stay on as nursing educators. If you don’t have a particular nursing career path that calls to you, this is a great way to have a job waiting for you and be debt-free right after graduation.
For new nursing students, four years in approved nurse training courses can open the way for them to become whatever type of nurses they wish. Choosing the right nursing program can give you a lucrative career, take care of your student loans, and place you in an industry where you’ll always have a job available.