The decision on whether or not to go into a nursing program will depend greatly on the amount of time you have to commit to the program, as well as your overall career goals. Choosing to go into the field of nursing, or opting to enhance your skills through a specialized nursing program is a big decision, and finding the right nursing program for your needs is especially important. You'll also need to consider which career path you'd like to take. You can opt for a diploma in licensed practical nursing (LPN), or earn your Associate's or Bachelor's degree in nursing and become a Registered Nurse (RN). The amount of time each program varies, and generally speaking, the longer you're in school, the more career opportunities you'll have and the higher your salary will be.
Earning your diploma in licensed practical nursing typically takes about one year, and allows you to assist RNs and doctors with some aspects of patient care. Many people choose this option to get started in the field of nursing, with plans to later further their education to become a registered nurse or even a registered nurse practitioner. If you choose an Associate's degree program, you'll need to commit to two to three years of school, but can then become an RN, which will mean more hands-on patient care than you'd be able to do as a LPN.
A four-year BSN degree will give you the most career options and earnings potential, however, and also sets you up to go to graduate school later on, if you decide that's a good option for you. A four-year degree will give you access to work in all healthcare settings and be directly involved in patient care. Although earning your BSN is a big commitment, the payoff is usually worth the investment, allowing you to work in more places and have more direct contact with patients.
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