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Nursing Career

If you are thinking to join nursing as a career, you need to know what it entails!

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), nursing is defined as:

"Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations."

Nurses make up one of the largest workforces in the clinical healthcare industry. There are different types of nurses and nursing has a variety of roles and responsibilities.

Nurses are a very important part of the healthcare set up, working in close association with physicians. It is the responsibility of the nurse to administer care and medication, suggested by the doctor, for recuperation of the patient. Since they may spend more time with the patient than a doctor, they have to be very adept at interacting with the patient, helping them to recuperate fast.

Education, training and certification
There are three academic programs to become a nurse – a diploma from an accredited nursing program or hospital, a two year program in associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN). ADN and BSN are more popular than the diploma because of the variety and functionality of the course. One has to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), or for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become a licensed and practicing nurse. One can also become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), by doing one year of course work after high school. LPN or LVN is not a Registered nurse.

To become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), one has to fulfil the requirements of a general RN and then continue their education at Master's or beyond, specializing in any one of the fields like oncology, anesthesiology, or pediatrics. APRN includes Clinical Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), the most advanced of all nurses, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Nurse Practitioners (NP).

Nurses work in close association with the physician involving in different aspects of patient care, including administering injections, maintaining medical records, performing minor therapeutic and diagnostic procedures and processes, as well as taking care of the hygiene and comfort of the patient. The work schedule and the duties depend on the speciality and level of nursing. For example, surgical nurses help in the preparation for a surgical procedure and also in post-operative care of the patient. There are a number of specialities available in this career, such as pediatric, cardiac, neonatology, oncology, or any other medical specialty; in which nurses can have additional certifications or a master's degree.

According to ANA, irrespective of the speciality of nursing, each nurse has the primary responsibility of 'nursing process'. This refers to the five steps in patient interaction -- assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What to expect
This career has job stability, and also offers a variety of options like schedules, locations and responsibilities. It is one of the most rewarding professions, where one is able to really make a difference in the life of another person, when it is needed the most. Specialized roles may be
lucrative and one can move up in the hierarchy with different roles in leadership and management.

But one needs to be ready to take in more stressful hours when needed, especially when there is a shortage of manpower. Working in the nights and weekends also may be on card and one must be ready to accept the fact that you may not be able to see family much, especially if the timings are different. Moreover, one should have the mindset to deal with stress with a smile.

If you love serving others in society, and are passionate about it, you can really make a difference in the lives of hundreds by taking up this career. So go for it if you have attention to detail, can analyze data and have human spirit burning!