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A Kids' Guide to Being a Nurse

Nursing is an important job in the field of medicine. Nurses are responsible for treating and caring for patients, while supporting doctor's efforts. There are many kinds of nurses, and all can have different duties. The education and licensing requirements to become a working nurse can depend on the type of nursing specialty that you're interested in. With a great job outlook for decades to come, deciding to become a nurse can be a smart decision, if you love medicine and helping people.

What Is a Nurse?

A nurse is a medical professional that helps to treat and educate patients on health conditions that they may have. They can work with doctors to help restore a patient's health and coordinate their care. Nurses can also provide emotional support to those who are sick. Nurses are a vital part of the medical field, as they can also act as a connection between patients and doctors, and be the main source of professional medical care that a patient sees when they are in the hospital. With so many duties and responsibilities assigned to nurses, it can be easy to see how important they are in helping to make someone well.

What Does a Nurse Do?

The things you have to do to become a nurse can depend on what type of nurse you want to be. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can work under a Registered Nurse (RN), and take care of a patient's basic needs, like taking vital signs and bathing. An RN works with doctors to monitor patients. An Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) does many of the same things a doctor can do, including examining patients and writing prescriptions. Many of these kinds of nurses can have added duties, depending on the type of nursing they specialize in, like pediatrics or intensive care. If you are interested in a specific area of medicine, there is probably a specialty of nursing that has been created to support it.

How Do You Become a Nurse?

The education requirements for each type of nurse can be different, and a nurse can have to be trained, get a bachelor's degree, and have to keep going back to school even after becoming a nurse to keep up with new developments in medicine. LPNs need to be trained for one year and get a license before they can help patients. RNs need to go to nursing school for between two and four years, where they'll study medicine and science and get hands-on training before getting a license. Sometimes, RNs have bachelor's degrees, too. An APN will have to get a master's degree after earning their bachelor's, and will have to choose what nursing specialty they want to pursue. If you think you might want to become a nurse, you can start by volunteering in a hospital to meet some nurses and see how they work.

What Does a Nurse Need to Know?

Nurses need to know a lot of about medicine and the body. When they are in school, they take many anatomy, biology, chemistry and even psychology courses. They might also need to learn special skills, if they want to work with certain people or in specific areas of nursing, such as with babies or in the emergency room. Besides having all of this formal training, nurses also need to know how to be caring and considerate of patients who are ill and learn how to comfort families who are trying to cope.

Should I Decide to Become a Nurse?

Choosing a career for yourself when you're older can be a personal and serious decision. If you are interested in medicine and love helping people, you may want to become a nurse. Since nurses take a lot science courses in college, you may want to start reading books about anatomy and biology now. You might also want to brush up on your math skills, since learning chemistry is a big part of becoming a nurse. Nurses have a good job outlook, so you can be almost sure that when you complete your nursing education, you'll have a job that will let you be the best nurse you can be.