A nursing career is one of the most rewarding careers there is. As a nurse, you will have the opportunity to change lives through knowledgeable practice of traditional medicine, along with knowledge about how to help people spiritually and mentally, through holistic and alternative medical practices.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering becoming a nurse. You may have a lot of questions. Nursing school might seem mysterious or intimidating, but with the right attitude, aptitude and teaching, making it through is absolutely possible.

With that in mind, realize that successfully completing a nursing program isn’t for the faint of heart. Nursing school is difficult, and it takes dedication and perseverance to complete it, and go on to create a career.

What’s the Difference Between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

You can’t go wrong with either path. Nursing is a highly in-demand field, so you will have options regardless of what path you decide to take.

That being said, in general, registered nurses will attend to more of the physical needs of the patient and have the option to do more intensive work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and intensive or long-term care facilities.

A registered nurse also needs to complete more coursework in order to take the certification exam. A practical nurse is more likely to work in a doctor’s office, a long-term care facility or short-term care facility. The RN program at AIAM takes 24 months, while the PN program takes 15. Both programs will teach you how to tend to the physical and emotional needs of your patients using holistic and traditional methods.

How Do I Get Into Nursing School?

The application process at AIAM is straightforward. You will complete an interview and a tour of the campus, then submit an application. If you don’t have a previous bachelor’s degree, you’ll take an entrance exam. Once you achieve the score you need, you will meet with a financial aid representative who will help you decide payment options. They’ll also help you fill out an enrollment agreement. You can find the exact requirements here for PN enrollment, and here for RN enrollment.

What Will My Classes Look Like?

If you choose the RN degree, you’ll be taking a total of 109.5 credit hours across eight 12-week quarters. The PN certificate consists of 59 credit hours, taken over five 12-week quarters. At the beginning of your study, there is some overlap between required courses for a PN certificate and an RN degree.

You’ll begin with an anatomy class, a few classes introducing you to nursing, and a college success skills course that will give you the information to conquer your education. You will then continue to the core of your program.

For those in the PN program, this will include courses in pharmacology, dosage math, biology, psychology, growth and development, holistic concepts, and IV therapy. You will finish up your study with courses in ethical practice, transitioning to practice and a second lifespan course, which includes 52 clinic hours.

In the RN program, you will continue your learning with the same classes found in the PN program, along with courses in research, additional math classes, nutrition, chemistry, pathophysiology, diversity, ethics and business, along with RN nursing courses. You’ll conclude with a professional transition class and an advanced care nursing class that requires 76 clinic hours. Find a full course list for both programs here.

What Are Clinical Hours?

Clinical hours are a chance for hands-on, practical experience in a medical environment, working under the supervision of doctors and certified nurses. As part of your nursing coursework, you will complete a total of 359 hours in the RN program, or 209 for the PN program.

These hours will be done at a diverse variety of sites, giving you a chance to experience different settings where you could potentially practice after graduation.

That’s a Lot of Difficult Coursework. Is It Worth It?

It is a lot of hard work and difficult study, but everything you learn in a nursing program will be necessary when you enter the working world. Nursing school is difficult, and you will encounter challenges you’ve probably never had to face before. Only about 51 percent of students in the RN program, and 47 percent in the PN program, graduate on time. A nursing degree or certificate is hard to obtain. But nursing is hard too, and it takes a certain kind of person to excel in the field. The coursework is difficult to prepare you for the challenges of being a practicing nurse.

Remember that in the process of learning how to care for another person’s physical and mental well-being, you’ll learn how to be tenacious, make it through hard situations, best apply the practices you learn and problem-solve. The long clinical hours required will give you exposure to nursing situations and patients who need your help.

So yes, nursing school is hard. But if your goal is to help others care for their physical, spiritual and mental well-being, and start a lifelong alternative medical career it is absolutely worth it.

What Career assistance is available to me as a nursing student?

AIAM offers students a multitude of resources to help them succeed after graduation, including on-campus career fairs, weekly job-opening listings, resume help, and preparation sessions for licensing tests. There are experts on stand-by to help if you need additional assistance.

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