Career

5 Steps to Prepare Early for a Career as a Nurse or Allied Health Professional

Education Health

The demand for qualified nursing professionals is always present, especially in today’s day and age. The good news is that the number of students eager to jumpstart their careers in the nursing field is also extremely prevalent today. Many students are quickly deciding that a career in the nursing field may be a great option for them, and rightfully so. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nurses is projected to grow over 9% between 2020 and 2030.

However, many of these students pursuing an education in the nursing field find themselves on the same playing field as everyone else. In other words, they are looking for ways to help differentiate themselves from other students and to better prepare themselves for their future careers as nurses or allied health professionals. If you’re eager to take advantage of the job growth and potential opportunities for advancement within the nursing field, you’re not alone. By following the 5 helpful tips outlined below, you’ll feel better equipped to tackle your education, as well as better prepared for your future career in the nursing field.

  • Take the right classes

Of course, the first step to being successful in your future career is to ensure you’re taking the appropriate classes. In other words, it’s important to make sure that the classes you are taking will better prepare you for your future career. Outside of your required prerequisites, you should be taking courses that rely heavily on your math and science skills, as those are essential within the nursing field. You may also consider taking more advanced placement courses, even throughout your high school education, so you’re better prepared to meet your college requirements. This will also help you to gain familiarity with the content you’ll be learning about throughout your college education and will be a key differentiator between you and your classmates.

  • Volunteer at a hospital

Volunteer work is another great way to set yourself apart from others and prepare yourself for a future career in nursing. Outside of the classroom, it’s important to gain experience, and there is no better way to do that than to dive headfirst into a real-world scenario. Even if you’re only available to volunteer for a few hours each weekend, this will help you to learn more about the nursing field and to get hands-on experience outside of your day-to-day college instruction.

  • Get clinical experience  

It’s also important to consider hands-on experience opportunities when deciding on which college is the best fit for you. Although classroom instruction is crucial to your understanding of the field, there is no better way to gain industry experience than to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom. For instance, Berry College offers its nursing majors both in-classroom instruction as well as hands-on clinical experience. Their students get exposed to high-fidelity simulated hospital situations so they can develop their skillset before working with patients in a clinical setting. 

  • Network 

Networking is also critical for soon-to-be nurses, whether it be with your classmates, professors, or other healthcare workers you meet throughout your volunteering. When you network, you’re building lasting relationships with individuals, primarily those who already have some kind of industry experience, in hopes that they may be able to help you in your own career somewhere down the road. According to Nursing World, networking allows nurses, and future nurses, to become more engaged in their careers. It also helps nurses to gain insight into how the nursing field is or may be changing. There are also several professional clubs and organizations you can become a part of to mingle with other like-minded nursing professionals. When these organizations are noted on your resume, they’re bound to be a differentiator between you and your classmates. They’ll also help you to be far better prepared for your future career.

  • Gain relevant work experience 

Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to gain relevant work experience while you can! Many students today think that they can’t gain industry experience in the nursing field until after college. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, you can start to gain relevant work experience as early as throughout your high school education. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are always looking for volunteers or part-time help, and if you have the bandwidth to take it on, you’ll gain relevant work experience before ever truly starting out in your career. Imagine being able to show on your resume that you had been working in the field since you were in high school and throughout your college experience. This would be a huge way to set yourself apart from your other classmates and students.

Although many students today feel that their college education alone will help them in their future careers, there are other keyways to help differentiate yourself from your competitors. All it takes is having the initiative and drive to get started.  

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