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National Nurses Week

Nursing is a stressful, demanding and rewarding job for most and the demand for nurses is at an all time high. COVID-19 has taken a toll on nurses and their mental health. This pandemic has been hard on everyone but especially hard on healthcare workers. Almost 4 million nurses nationwide have had critical roles during COVID-19, by keeping families safe and healthy. Normally, National Nurses Week is celebrated every year from May 6th to May 12th. This year, the celebration of nurses will continue all month long. National Nurses Week is an opportunity to reach out to nurses and let them know they are appreciated.

“When a person decides to become a nurse, they make the most important decision of their lives. They choose to dedicate themselves to the care of others.”Margaret Harvey, PhD, RN, president of the Indianapolis Campus of the Chamberlain College of Nursing

What is Nursing?

Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession. To put it simply, nurses save lives and can provide care in all aspects of their patients’ health, unlike doctors who typically provide care in one area of work. Nurses oversee the general care of their patients and identify any problems that arise within their care.

Roles of a Nurse

Nurses take on many roles and responsibilities during one shift. Working as a nurse, you must be adaptive, be able to coordinate care with various healthcare professionals, and prepared for any challenge. Overall, nurses evaluate and monitorpatients around the clock. Among these evaluations’ nurses also:

  • Perform physical exams.
  • Monitor patients’ vital signs.
  • Record patient’s medical history and symptoms.
  • Administer medications and treatments.
  • Analyze results of tests and provide results to patients.
  • Provide emotional support to patients and families.
  • Perform various testing, such as drawing blood.

The duties of a nurse revolve around patient care and doing what is best for the patient. When deciding on the best treatment options for a patient, they always have their best interest at heart. Nurses work hard to make sure that patients are educated about their illnesses, treatment options, and decisions they can make.

Nursing Specialties

The best part about nursing is that there are so many specialties that you can choose from. Depending on what interests you the most, you can choose a specific nursing specialty that fits your needs. When nurses decide on a specialty it is important to enjoy what you are doing and do what makes you the happiest.

  • Registered Nurse (RN): Provide health care to the public and is the backbone of health care.
  • Cardiac Nurse: Focus mainly on patients with issues of the heart.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): Well trained and specializes in helping with anesthesia during operations.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): Type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who often takes part in leadership and educative roles.
  • Critical Care Nurse: Specializes in emergency situations.
  • ER Nurse: Specializes in providing care and assessments in the emergency room setting.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): Focuses on primary health care for all ages and families.
  • Geriatric Nursing: Focuses on the care of older adults.
  • Perioperative Nurse (Surgical/OR Nurse): Specializes in care in the operating room and post-operation care.
  • Nurse Midwife: Assists in the care of pregnant women and labor and delivery.
  • Nursing Administrator: Oversee nursing units and manages the duties of each nursing team.
  • Oncology Nurse: Specialize in care and education of cancer and treatment options.
  • Pediatric Nurse: Focuses on the care of children.
  • Travel Nurse: Able to travel to different locations around the country to work and expand professionally.

These are just some of the many choices you have when you chose nursing as a career. There are many different specialties, and you are guaranteed to find one that you really enjoy.

How to Become a Nurse

Becoming a nurse is very time-consuming and could be considered a challenge for some. There are different educational requirements depending on which field of nursing you choose. Typically, there are two main types of nurses that require education, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).

Education Requirements to become an RN:

Education Requirements to become an RN:

  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN); a 2-year program
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); a 4-year college program.

Education Requirements to become an LPN:

  • 1-year degree from a trade or vocational school, or hospital

Regardless of what degree level is chosen, to become a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, you must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN. Those who decide to further their education past a Bachelor’s degree, will go on to earn their Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP).

What Specialties Can I Chose with a Masters of Science in Nursing?

  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

The length of time it takes to become a nurse depends on what degree level you decide based upon the specialty you have chosen. Becoming a nurse takes a lot of time and hard work, but one step at a time will get you that much closer to your goals.

Thank you, Nurses!

Nurses are heroes. They deserve to be celebrated not just this week, but everyday for dedicating their lives to the care of others. The COVID-19 pandemic has made their work even more difficult, so the appreciation is more important now than ever. Many businesses are showing their gratitude by offering discounts and free items to healthcare workers. Sending thoughtful letters, cards, or gifts are some ways to show nurses that you care. Remember to thank your hardworking nurses for all that they do!

“Nursing is the most rewarding career, and I am so thankful I get to do what I love every day.”Cassandra Feezle, BSN, RN, at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota.