It’s never too early to begin preparing for your future, most especially if you are sure what your calling is. If your dream career is to get into the nursing field when you “grow up,” getting ready to attend one of the nursing schools near you while you are still a teenager is a great place to start and will prove very useful down the road. Getting into some of the best college programs for nursing isn’t always easy, and it’s those students who get an early leg up that tend to have the easiest transitions and most success. If you are able to take the right classes, develop good habits, volunteer at a hospital, enroll in related programs, and attend a summer immersion camp, your chances for achievement in any nursing program will be much stronger than those who did not take these preliminary steps toward their nursing career.
1. Take the Right Classes
Being admitted to a nursing program isn’t the same as being admitted to any college. You cannot just take the bare minimum of math and science classes. You will need to take at least 3-4 years of math, and this includes both geometry and algebra. And for science, you will need to take at least 2-4 years, and this includes biology, chemistry, and physics. So bear in mind that even though you may not need certain classes as a requirement for high school graduation, you will need them to move onto the nursing path. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are also helpful in preparing you for higher education classes, and many colleges accept these classes as college credits, saving you both time and money when you begin schooling. And pushing yourself in these advanced classes in high school will help you to feel less overwhelmed by college-level classes.
2. Develop Good Habits
Nursing school is a difficult academic program. The coursework is time-consuming and rigorous. In order to be properly prepared for what it entails, you need to start establishing valuable organizational, test taking, time management, and study skills now. You cannot fall behind at any time in your academics. A nursing student must be self-disciplined, a self-starter, and able to work independently, without the constant guidance of an instructor. If you are not a good test taker, you’ll need to become one. You can begin to develop these proper skills early on. Set a schedule for studying every night and make it a habit you stick to. Keep your academic and even social life organized so that you can keep afloat in both. Take practice tests and examine your weak areas. Get help and advice from your best instructors while you still can. They know more about how you work as a student than you probably think.
Volunteering is a great way to get a feel for working in a hospital setting, and it will also look good on your applications. Research what nearby facilities offer volunteer programs. Volunteer work will show that you have experienced what nursing is like and that you handled it effectively. It will show that you have a firm grasp of your goals and that you are the type of person who has been and will continue working toward them. Volunteering can also afford you time to work people within the profession. Get to know the nurses and other faculty within the hospital. You’ll get hands-on advice, and also may be able to use these people as references or starting points when it comes time to search for a job after graduation and exams.
4. Enroll in Programs
Enrolling in programs that are related to the medical field will give you a great head start. For example, learning CPR can be done at any age, as long as you have the proper body strength to perform the procedure. First aid classes will teach you how to properly handle some medical situations such as shock, bleeding, poison, burns, temperature extremes, musculoskeletal injuries, bites and stings, and medical emergencies. You will also be able to identify and assist with specific injuries to the head and neck; eye; nose; mouth and teeth, chest, abdomen, and hand, finger, and foot. Not only will knowing CPR and basic first aid help you out in your career, it can also help you out in life.
5. Summer Immersion Camp
If applicable in your area, attending a summer immersion camp is another really great way to get yourself engaged in the nursing field. What’s great about these camps is that you will get to participate and observe a nurse’s duties directly, all while learning integral basic procedures. For many students, these camps are what make or break their final decision on whether or not they want to pursue nursing. For some, it’s too much, they need something with less responsibility or stress; for many, it’s the perfect vocation, and for others, it’s not enough, they crave more responsibilities. You may not know what sort of person you are until you immerse yourself in the field.
While obtaining placement in a nursing program can be very difficult to do, it’s not nearly impossible if you are up to the challenge. And getting yourself prepared and knowledgeable about what lies ahead beforehand can be the key to obtaining placement.