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Nursing As A Career: Where to Start And The Places You'll Go

We had the opportunity to sit down with Lynn Whitmer, a full-time instructor in the School of Nursing at Rasmussen College in Ocala, FL. In this interview, Lynn shared important information about what to expect while pursuing a degree and career as a nurse: a nursing job description, nursing degree options, nursing salaries, and even nursing specializations.

Q&A with Lynn Whitmer

What is Your Role at Rasmussen College?

I have had the pleasure of instructing students in the practical nursing program and the professional nursing degree through the School of Nursing. My primary class is Maternal /Child Nursing, but in the past, I taught Fundamentals of Nursing and served as the lead instructor for Nutrition and Nursing Leadership (Role and Scope and NUR III).

What is the Student’s Favorite Nursing Course?

Though I cannot directly speak for my nursing students, I believe that they enjoy any course where they have the opportunity to step into the hospital and put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

How do you Become a Nurse?

You must first have an interest in caring for people regardless of age, illness, or ability to pay for services. After you have realized your foundational interest, you have to complete all necessary requirements to be granted acceptance into a program that is recognized by your state’s nursing board.

At Rasmussen College, it takes a great deal of time and commitment to study and learn your nursing course material. It is not easy, but each faculty member at Rasmussen College is dedicated to helping each of their students succeed. If you stay the course, it is a worthwhile adventure.

nursing degree student

What are Common Nurse Job Responsibilities? Do Job Responsibilities Differ with Education Level?

All nurses are responsible to assess a patient’s physical, cognitive, and psychological needs. They develop and implement a plan to improve the health of a patient and evaluate its effectiveness. A nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will be more prepared for the management of nursing units, and a nurse with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) historically provides either management for nursing units or advanced practice directly with patients and independent of physicians.

The basic premise of nursing is the promotion of health and well being of all patients, which is where each nurse begins their journey.

In Which Types of Settings Could a Nurse Work?

You could find nurses in the operating room, emergency room, or even developing computer programs to enhance documentation. Nurses can be found at a hospice caring for a dying person or in a school promoting pediatric health and safety.

What Types of Nursing Careers and Nurse Specialties are Available?

The roles in nursing are endless—in fact, probably far too many to include in one paragraph. To begin, the nurse is found at the patient’s bedside, or in a clinical setting, as an administrator, an educator, a specialist care provider, a case manager, or quality improvement specialist.

The populations that nurses work with are also varied. You can find nurses caring for premature babies or the geriatric population. Many choose to specialize in a critical care area dedicated to trauma, cardiac care, organ transplantation, genetics, or rehabilitation.

What is Your Favorite Thing About the Nursing Profession?

Every day is new. Every patient has a story, and with each patient I meet, there is an opportunity to make an impact with the patient or their family.

What Kind of Personality Traits Would Jive Well with this Career Path?

A person would be a good fit for a career in nursing if they are able to handle change. In fact, I tell my students “nursing = change.” We have coined a phrase here at the Ocala campus, “fluid and flexible.” Just when you have it all figured out, someone will discover a new way, a new procedure, or a new protocol, and a successful nurse will be able to adjust well to that change.

What is the Average Salary Range for Nurses?

Salaries depend on many factors: the state in which you choose to work, the area of nursing you choose, and the degree you earn. It is not unusual for new graduate nurses to begin at $20 per hour. In addition, there is an adjustment to salary based on the unit and shift you work, and, of course, the benefit package offered.

What is Your Number One Piece of Advice for Students Who Want to Become a Nurse?

Understand that a nursing program is tough—often grueling—but it is worth the work to be welcomed into a life of service. You must be committed to the rigorous time investment of reading, studying, and clinical requirements. Many will tell you that their families and outside interests have taken a back seat to school requirements. Successful students set priorities early on in their degree if they want to be successful.

How do the Rasmussen College Nursing Programs Differ from Other Programs?

Nursing instructors at Rasmussen College are committed to student success. In addition to learning the science of nursing, you will be introduced to the art of nursing. Instructors model the professional principles we expect of the professional nurse.

Upon graduation, you will embrace the ideals that have been set before you of integrity, caring, compassion, giving, and servitude. In other words, you will “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.” There is always room for improvement, and we invite the students to evaluate the program and have an active dialogue throughout.

Other Thoughts?

  • Nursing is a profession that can take you in so many directions
  • Nursing is not an easy profession and it is misunderstood by much of the general public, and even some patients and nurses
  • Nurses are not limited to administering medication or writing a care plan—they care for their patients and listen to their stories
  • You will find that nursing can change your way of thinking as nursing becomes not just a career, but also a lifestyle–it is a profession that will reflect in your speech, your appearance, and your demeanor
  • When you have completed your nursing program, you will be recognized by the title you wear, you will be entrusted with lives you touch, and you will be welcomed into an honorable profession to continue to improve and protect the premises that have been established

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