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Pre-Nursing

Many colleges and universities offer pre-nursing programs, which can prepare you for direct entry into the healthcare field or a bachelor's degree program in nursing. Continue reading to learn more about course topics, as well as what your career options may be with a degree in pre-nursing.

Is Pre-Nursing for Me?

Career Overview

If you're interested in pursuing a career in nursing, you can enroll in a pre-nursing program before earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most pre-nursing programs are equal to the first two years of a BSN program and may lead to an associate's degree.

Career Options

The credits earned from a pre-nursing program may help you qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and a position as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a nursing aide or a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Nursing assistants and aides are usually responsible for a patient's personal care, such as bathing, eating and grooming. LPNs typically work under the supervision of registered nurses, taking weight and height measurements, recording blood pressure and monitoring vital signs.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 705,200 LPNs and more than 1.4 million nursing assistants employed in May 2013. Nationwide, employment of LPNs was projected to increase by 25% between 2012 and 2022; a 21% growth in jobs was projected for nursing assistants and orderlies during the same 10-year period. As of May 2013, LPNs earned a median annual salary of $41,920. In the same month, the median annual salary for nursing assistants was $24,890 (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Work in Pre-Nursing?

Educational Options

A pre-nursing curriculum typically includes topics in human anatomy, physiology, nutrition, psychology and biology. Students can also acquire practical experience by shadowing nurses or volunteering at hospitals or medical clinics. Completion of a pre-nursing program can lead to an associate's degree or fulfill the prerequisites for a BSN program, either at your current school or another college or university.

A BSN curriculum can include topics in advanced nursing care and nursing trends. You'll also participate in clinical experiences. If you're already employed as an LPN or a nursing assistant, you may also be interested in a 2-year LPN to BSN bridge program and the chance to study alongside individuals with similar levels of skills.

Required Skills

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), LPNs, nursing aides and orderlies should be sympathetic, emotionally stable and caring. They should also be observant, dependable and able to work as part of a team (www.bls.gov).

Licensure

Although the requirements can vary according to the state and occupational title, all nurses must be licensed. CNAs who work in nursing homes must meet federal licensing requirements, including 75 hours of training and the successful completion of exams. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) for registered and licensed practical nurses (www.ncsbn.org)