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Going From a Nursing Certificate Program to a RN - Is it The Right Choice For You?

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2007-12-18 05:22:57     
Article by Jane Muder

Some students who have earned a nursing assistant certificate from an allied health college might want to add to their educational credentials. The question they most often ask, however, is "How will this work for me?"

That's a complex question to answer, too - because it has so many components. Below, we will explore the most common concerns, attitudes, and perceptions towards combining career and education to advance in the nursing field.

What are the advantages to earning a degree in registered nursing?

The primary advantages to earning an associates degree in registered nursing are a higher income and greater job responsibilities. After working in a nursing career for a few years with only a nurse assistant certificate, allied health professionals might feel that their careers are somewhat limited. This is because, by law, nursing assistants are only able to perform certain tasks - most of those tasks are designed to help the nurses, rather than allowing nursing assistants to function as nurses. With an associates degree in nursing, students have a much greater range of job functions. A person who has received a two-year nursing degree can provide total patient care delivery, including medicine administration; wound care; patient counseling and support; lab work; and patient evaluation, examination, and treatment. Nurses can also specialize in a particular area of nursing, allowing them to move further away from the routine bedpan, bathing, and feeding schedules that are part and parcel of the traditional nursing assistant role.

Because the amount of education necessary is greater, registered nurses receive higher salaries than nursing assistants do. They are salaried, rather than hourly, with the average starting salary beginning at around $40,000. Their careers are at least as secure as other allied health professionals, and because there is a greater commitment to training, registered nurse careers might even be more secure. The nursing assistant certificate is one of the best ways to break into the nursing field - but some students want more education, so a continuing education as an RN might be the best choice for them.

But I need to work. How can I balance this with school?

Balancing full- or part-time work with school is never easy. However, because you already have an allied health certificate in the nursing assistant field, you have some advantages over the other students. You already have some training in the nursing field, and if you work your way through school, you will begin your career as a registered nurse with significant work experience. Ask any employer today - experience counts when making hiring decisions.

Working part-time as a nursing assistant while going to class on a full- or part-time schedule might be your best option. That way, you can more easily balance your work, your homework, and your personal life, which is important for mental health and for avoiding burnout. Consult your academic and career counselors for assistance with balancing your budding nursing assistant career and the process of seeking a college education in nursing. Take advantage of the flexibility of many nursing assistant jobs by scheduling yourself for weekend hours, or second/third-shift schedules. Or, you can opt to work part-time/full-time during the week and take your registered nursing college courses evenings and Saturdays. Again, it is best to ask a career counselor for advice and assistance in planning your career path.

How can I avoid burnout?

Approach your continuing nursing education with pragmatism and common sense. If being short on time is a major concern, enroll in a part-time, or non-traditional school for working adults. Many community colleges, also, allow students to take at least some of their core classes over the Internet. These arrangements can save you many hours each week, because you won't deal with the hassle of commuting to or from class, and can schedule your learning at your own pace.

Make sure you take care of yourself. It might sound like most common-sense, health-preserving tips take a lot of work to actually carry out, but overall, your nursing education and your work as a nursing assistant will be easier. That's because when you are healthier and in better shape overall - mentally and physically - you are a better student and more efficient worker. Your goals when completing your nursing associates degree are similar to the goals you set for yourself when you began classes at your allied health school of choice: combining education, internship experience, and career passion to make the most of your nursing training.

The Mandl School, College of Allied Health is a New York-based allied health education program offering nursing assistant training that can lead students to robust and progressively challenging careers. For more information, visit www.mandl.edu, or call 212-247-3434.

Specialized in: Health Care - Training - Career - Allied Health - Assistant
URL: http://www.mandlschool.com
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