Nursing Assistant, the Start of Your Career as a Nurse

Nursing is often considered the most rewarding career for people with great empathy and a desire to care for others, but becoming a nurse requires going to college and getting a doctor of nursing degree. For many this just isn’t possible either through lack of money and no access to student funding, or those switching careers and needing to support a family. It is however possible to start a nursing career by first becoming a nurse assistant.

Within the medical fraternity nurses are highly respected team members whose many specialized duties are different from doctors and surgeons, and can lead to responsibilities such as midwifery or nurse management that have high income potential. Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career with opportunities to work a variety of different disciplines and organizations. Nurse assistants often have similar opportunities and the certified nurse assistant is well placed to further their training and become a registered nurse.

The ease with which students are able to complete STNA courses and obtain employment is enhanced by staff shortages that mean nurse assistants rarely have trouble finding employment. Expectations over the next 2-3 decades are that nurse assistants will continue to be in demand as our population ages, and nurse assistants have the distinct advantage they are certified by their state to work in medical facilities, thus in many cases pre-qualify for nursing degree programs.

Becoming a nurse aide, also known as a nurse assistant is generally considered to be an easy process, and is also very affordable, allowing quick employment in the industry. Courses are federally mandated with a minimum of 75 hours study which must include clinical practice to prepare students for their future employment. Most courses can be completed in 2-3 months, with some day courses possible to complete in 3 weeks. A state exam is necessary after completing the course, and successful graduates will frequently be offered employment quickly given the national shortage of nurse assistants.

Long term unemployed and people from low income backgrounds, as well as women and people from minorities can in some situations apply for course funding grants and credits, and be working within a few months of deciding to start their course. In contrast, nursing degrees are more expensive, require 2-3 years to complete, and many are over-subscribed meaning only the students with the highest SAT score or prerequisite experience will be admitted. Being a nurse assistant isn’t the same as being a nurse, but it does provide employment in a nursing related field earning an income whilst gaining experience and taking additional courses.

As well, being a nurse assistant offers experiences dealing with patients that would quickly answer the question is nursing a career you really want, or is your time better spent training for a different career. Nurse assistants are generally valued by employers and colleagues, and the nurse assistant who has the initiative for further study would likely receive the support of both, and have greater opportunity to excel in the nurse degree program by virtue of already working in the health care industry.

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