What is Nursing? Top FAQs Answered

5 Min Read Published November 7, 2023
what is nursing

Nursing is a diverse and rewarding profession that is crucial in healthcare. Whether you are an aspiring nurse, a nursing student, or a current nurse seeking clarity, this article aims to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about nursing.

What is Nursing? 

Nursing is a profession focused on promoting and restoring health, preventing illness, and providing care to individuals, families, and communities. It encompasses many responsibilities, including, 

  • Patient assessment
  • Medication administration
  • Wound care
  • Patient education
  • Emotional support

Nurses work collaboratively with healthcare teams to ensure comprehensive and patient-centered care.

How Do You Become a Nurse? 

Becoming a nurse typically involves completing a nursing program and obtaining licensure through your state's board of nursing.

You also need to pass national exams for licensure before you begin to work. There are different degrees and certifications you can achieve to become a nurse. You can continue your education, add additional certifications, and learn new things.  

How Long is Nursing School?

The length of nursing school varies based on the educational pathway you choose. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can take four years to complete. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs usually last around two to three years. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) programs generally take one year. 

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) program can take as little as one month. While if your goal is to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), such as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), it can take up to seven years. 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Nurse? 

How long it takes to become a nurse depends on the type of degree you are looking for. Becoming a registered nurse (RN) can take anywhere between one to four years. You can become an RN soon by completing an ADN program, and you can also do a bridge program for your BSN later. 

After passing your nursing school program, you must take a national exam. There is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)-PN for LPNs or NCLEX-RN for those who pass the ADN or BSN programs. You can schedule to take the exams once you pass a background check, submit fingerprint clearance cards, and pass the school program. Once you pass this test, you are considered a nurse. 

How Hard is Nursing School?

Nursing school can be challenging, but for good reason. The healthcare sector deals with human lives, and it's essential to have well-trained and knowledgeable nursing professionals.

The nursing school curriculum is rigorous, covering topics such as anatomy, pharmacology, and patient care. Balancing coursework, clinical rotations, and personal life can be overwhelming.

How Much Does Nursing School Cost? 

The cost of nursing school can vary depending on the type of program, location, and whether it is a public or private institution. Tuition fees can range from a few thousand dollars per year for community colleges offering ADN programs to tens of thousands of dollars per year for BSN programs at private universities.

Financial aid, scholarships, and grants are often available to help students offset the costs.

What Do Nurses Do? 

Nurses have a multifaceted role in healthcare. They provide direct patient care, perform assessments, administer medications, monitor vital signs, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop and implement treatment plans.

Nurses also educate patients and their families on managing illnesses, offer emotional support, advocate for patient rights, and contribute to research and healthcare policy.

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

What Skills Do Nurses Need? 

Nurses require a diverse skill set to excel in their profession. These include strong communication and interpersonal skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, organizational skills, adaptability, and the ability to work well under pressure.

Technical skills such as medication administration, wound care, and proficiency in using healthcare technologies are vital for providing safe and effective patient care.

What Are the Different Types of Nurses? 

Nursing offers various career paths and specialization opportunities. Some common types of nurses include RNs, who provide direct patient care across a range of healthcare settings; nurse practitioners (NP), who have advanced training and can diagnose and manage certain medical conditions; licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVN), who work under the supervision of RNs and provide primary patient care; and certified nursing assistants (CNA), who assist with daily activities like bathing and feeding patients.

The different types of nursing can go beyond their credentials. There are multiple specialties that nurses can train in. Types of specialties may include labor and delivery, pediatrics, oncology, emergency room, and intensive care. There are several different specialties to choose from. Some even allow you to make your own schedule or work from home. 

How Much Do Nurses Make? 

Nursing salaries can vary depending on factors such as education, experience, location, and specialty. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2022's data, the median annual wage for RNs was $81,220 yearly.

Salaries can be higher for nurses with advanced degrees or specialized certifications. It's important to note that salaries may differ in different countries and regions.

What is the Nursing Process? 

The nursing process is a systematic model used to deliver patient-centered care. It has five steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation (ADPIE).

Nurses assess the patient's health status, identify potential health issues, establish goals and care plans, implement interventions, and evaluate the effectiveness of the care provided. This process ensures holistic and individualized care for patients.

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Why Become a Nurse?

Nursing is a gratifying profession, allowing individuals to positively impact people's lives every day. Nurses can provide critical care, education, and support to patients and their families during some of the most challenging times they may face. Being a nurse requires a unique set of skills, including compassion, critical thinking, and the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure. 

Becoming a nurse allows individuals to grow and learn constantly as the field constantly evolves, with new treatments and technologies being developed daily. It's a profession that demands hard work and dedication. For those who are committed to making a difference in people's lives, it's a calling that can bring great fulfillment and satisfaction.

Breann Kakacek
Breann Kakacek
Nurse.org Contributor

Breann Kakacek BSN RN has been a registered nurse for more than 8 years and a CNA for 2 years while going through the nursing program. Most of her nursing years include working in the medical ICU and Cardiovascular ICU and moonlighting in the OR as a circulating nurse. She has always had a passion for writing and enjoys using her nursing knowledge to create amazing online content.

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