How to become a Nurse

Over 100 years ago, Florence Nightingale organized and trained women to care for injured soldiers during the Crimean War. She is considered the founder of modern nursing and many of her ideas are still used. But things have changed a lot since the mid-1800s. Nurses have many, many career opportunities. And while nursing was initially seen as a career option for women, many men have now made it their career too.


Fun Facts

  • Nurses can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, or schools. Flight nurses are trained to handle critical emergencies. They fly in helicopters carrying seriously injured patients to hospitals.
  • Many nurses specialize in one area. They might care for elderly people or patients with cancer. Psychiatric nurses care for people experiencing mental illness. Pediatric nurses work with children, while obstetric nurses support women during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Education requirements vary. CNAs (certified nurse assistants) need a two-year degree or certificate. Registered nurses typically need a four-year degree, while nurse practitioners have a master’s degree.
  • The more education a nurse has, the more career opportunities and the higher the salary.
  • Nurses often work long hours. They might care for ill people who are sad or grumpy. Sometimes nurses feel like they’re not appreciated or taken for granted.
  • Nurses can often work a flexible schedule. For instance, they might work four 12-hour days and then have a few days off. Some nurses work at night so they can be home with their families during the day.
  • Finding a job as a nurse is usually easy. Most communities experience a shortage of nurses.
  • Nurses’ salaries range from $25,000 for a CNA to over $100,000 for some nurse practitioners.


Questions and Answers

Question: What skills do nurses need?

Answer: Nurses need to understand chemistry, anatomy, and good medical care. They need to be able to make decisions quickly, collaborate with others, and keep detailed notes. Most important, though, they need patience and compassion.

Learn More

Watch a video about being a nurse.