Accelerate your career in nursing : a guide to professional advancement and recognition

Accelerate Your Career in Nursing
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A strong preparatory class load in science and mathematics is generally preferred among nursing schools.

How to Write a Nursing Resume

Specific admission information can be obtained by writing to the schools' nursing departments. To apply to a nursing school, contact the admission offices of the colleges or universities you are interested in and request the appropriate application forms. With limited spaces in nursing schools, programs are more competitive, so early submission of the application is recommended.

Accreditation of the nursing program is very important, and it should be considered on two levels--the accreditation of the university or college and the accreditation of the nursing program.

Accreditation is a voluntary process in which the school or the program asks for an external review of its programs, facilities, and faculty. For nursing programs, the review is performed by peers in nursing education to ensure program quality and integrity. Baccalaureate nursing programs have two types of regular systematic reviews. First, the school must be approved by the state board of nursing. This approval is necessary to ensure that the graduates of the program have access to sit for the licensing examinations offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. The second is accreditation administered by a nursing accreditation agency that is recognized by the U.

Department of Education. Though accreditation is a voluntary process, access to federal loans and scholarships requires accreditation of the program, and most graduate schools only accept students who have earned degrees from accredited schools. Further, accreditation ensures an ongoing process of quality improvement that is based on national standards. The overwhelming majority of BSN programs in the U.

Other nursing accreditation agencies include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Nursing Education Accreditation. Academic performance is not the sole basis of acceptance into the upper level of the nursing program. Admission officers also weigh such factors as student activities, employment, and references.

In this interview or essay, students may list career preferences and reasons for their choices. This allows admission officers to assess the goals of students and gain insights into their values, integrity, and honesty. One would expect that a goal statement from a student who is just entering college would be more general than that of a student who has had two years of preprofessional nursing studies. The more experienced student would be likely to have a more focused idea of what is to be gained by an education in nursing; there would be more evidence of the student's values and the ways in which she or he relates them to the knowledge gained from preprofessional nursing classes.

A standard basic or generic baccalaureate program in nursing is a four-year college or university education that incorporates a variety of liberal arts courses with professional education and training.

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It is designed for high school graduates with no previous nursing experience. Currently, there are more than baccalaureate programs in the United States. Of the programs that responded to a fall survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, total enrollment in all nursing programs leading to a baccalaureate degree was , The baccalaureate curriculum is designed to prepare students for work within the growing and changing health-care environment.

With nurses taking more of an active role in all facets of health care, they are expected to develop critical-thinking and communication skills in addition to receiving standard nurse training in clinics and hospitals. In a university or college setting, the first two years include classes in the humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, business, psychology, technology, sociology, ethics, and nutrition. In some programs, the nursing classes start in the freshman or sophomore year, whereas others have students wait until they are juniors. Many schools require satisfactory grade point averages before students advance into professional nursing classes.

The national average is about 2. In the junior and senior years, the curriculum focuses on the nursing sciences and emphasis moves from the classroom to health facilities. This is where students are exposed to clinical skills, nursing theory, and the varied roles nurses play in the health-care system. Courses include nurse leadership, health promotion, family planning, mental health, environmental and occupational health, adult and pediatric care, medical and surgical care, psychiatric care, community health, management, and home health care.

Academic Programs

This level of education comes in a variety of settings: community hospitals, clinics, social service agencies, schools, and health maintenance organizations. Training in diverse settings is the best preparation for becoming a vital player in the growing health-care field. Practicing nurses who are returning to school to earn a baccalaureate degree will have to meet requirements that may include possession of a valid RN license and an associate degree or hospital diploma from an accredited institution.

Again, it is best to check with the school's admissions department to determine specifics.


Nurses returning to school will have to consider the rapid rate of change in health care and in science in general. A nurse who passed an undergraduate-level chemistry class ten years ago would probably not receive credit for that class today, due to the growth of knowledge in that and all other scientific fields. The need to reeducate applies not only to practicing nurses returning to school but also to all nurses throughout their careers.

In the same vein, nurses with diplomas from hospital programs who want to work toward a baccalaureate degree would find themselves in need of meeting the common requirements for more clinical practice as well as developing a deeper understanding of community-based nursing practices, such as health prevention and promotion. There are colleges and universities available to the RN in search of a baccalaureate that give credit for previous nurse training.

These programs are designed to accommodate the needs and career goals of the practicing nurse by providing flexible course schedules and credit for previous experience and education. Some programs lead to a master's-level degree, a process that can take up to three years. Licensed practical nurses LPNs can also continue their education through baccalaureate programs. Nurses thinking of reentering school may also consider other specialized programs.

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With approximately baccalaureate programs in the United States, some research will reveal which programs match your needs and career objectives. If you have no healthcare experience, it might be best to gain some insight into the field by volunteering or working part-time in a care facility, such as a hospital or an outpatient clinic. Talking to nurse professionals about their work will also lend insight into how your best attributes may apply to the nursing field.

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When considering a nursing education, consider your personal needs. Is it best for you to work in a heavily structured environment or one that offers more flexibility in terms of, say, integrating a part-time work schedule into studies? Do you need to stay close to home? Do you prefer to work in a large healthcare system, such as a health maintenance organization or a medical center, or do you prefer smaller, community-based operations?

As for nursing programs, it's best to ask the following: How involved is the faculty in developing students for today's health-care industry?

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How strong is the school's affiliation with clinics and hospitals? Is there any assurance that a student will gain an up-to-date educational experience for the current job market? Out of stock online. Not available in stores.

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Accelerate Your Career in Nursing: A Guide to Professional Advancement and Recognition spells out how nurses can recognize and document their. The two books discussed are Accelerate Your Career in Nursing: A Guide to Professional Advancement and Recognition by Janice Phillips and Janet M. Boivin.

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The supportive relationships of your cohort-based community and faculty will play an important role in your success. While this is an accelerated, intensive program, we provide the essential content required for professional nursing practice. Start building your business acumen! Chapter 2 walks the reader through the process of determining which professional organization best meets your personal career goals. Learn how to set a course of action to build the life and career you want, need, and deserve. This expertise and mentoring occurs in our clinical placements as well, where experienced nurses serve as our clinical instructors and work with small groups of students at a time.