To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN), you are required to attend nursing school. Nursing programs are typically run by community colleges. While some hospitals do offer classes, they are usually affiliated through a local nursing school.
The education requirements for becoming an LPN are about half of those required for an RN. LPN programs last about one year, while RN programs typically last two. RNs graduate with a Associate's of Science degree in nursing. Although the classes for the two may differ, one thing is true about both. Nursing school is hard. There are a lot of technical aspects to nursing that must be learned. It is not uncommon for someone who held a high grade point average during their prerequisite classes to watch their grades tumble during nursing school. It is better to focus on learning what you need to learn, and not worrying about the grades as much.
There are a lot of courses offered in nursing school. Because nurses are responsible for so much of the routine care in a health care setting, there is a lot to learn. Classes in anatomy, nutrition, microbiology, physiology and psychology are all normal. There will also be courses in surgical nursing, mathematics and statistics, and patient assessments. Most nursing schools require courses in pediatric care, the grieving process, and disaster preparedness.
A large part of the nursing school experience is the externship. An externship is like an apprenticeship. You will be working in a hospital, adult care facility, doctor’s office, or other health care environment to get hands-on experience in nursing. This experience is invaluable, and can give you an in-depth look at the career of nursing. Your externship will give you a chance to practice what you have learned in your courses. This will also give you an opportunity to develop the skills needed to work with patients, doctors, and other nurses.
At the completion of their nursing program, students studying to become RNs will be required to take a licensing exam, the NCLEX. Nursing school will help to prepare students for this exam and for their careers as nurses after their education. Although nursing school is a very intense program, it does a great job preparing new nurses for a career that can be as challenging as it is rewarding.