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After School Of Nursing What Next? Steps for Your Career

As an aspiring nurse, you might be wondering after your studies and program in school of nursing what’s the next step for me?

In today’s article we’ll be discussing on what step await you after your nursing education. Read to the end to know the various steps involved.

How to Pass The NCLEX And Get Licensed

Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is the final hurdle to becoming an RN. Once you’ve conquered nursing school, this licensing exam stands between you and your career.

To prepare, start studying at least a month before the test. Focus on questions that evaluate how you apply knowledge to different situations. Take practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format and experience. You can find many free resources online or in review books.

Register for the NCLEX on your state’s board of nursing website and pay the required fees. Then schedule an appointment at an official Pearson VUE testing center.

On exam day, arrive at least 30 minutes early with proper ID. The test is computerized and multiple-choice. Pace yourself, as you’ll have up to 6 hours to answer between 75 to 265 questions.

Passing the NCLEX is required to receive your nursing license. Check with your board of nursing for details on the licensing process. Typically, this involves submitting an application, background check, and licensing fee.

Once licensed, you’re ready to launch your nursing career. You have many options, including working at a hospital, physician’s office, school, or in home health. You can specialize in areas like ER, pediatrics, surgery, or become a travel nurse. The nursing field offers stability, competitive pay, and a chance to really make a difference.

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How to Find Your First Nursing Job

Here are some tips to help you in your search:

1. Finding Job Openings

Check hospital websites, online job boards like Indeed and Monster, and your local newspaper classifieds. Many facilities also work with recruitment agencies, so sign up with some in your area. Let your friends and former instructors know you’re on the hunt – they may know of openings.

2. Build Your Resume

Focus on relevant clinical experiences, skills, and your passion for the work. Emphasize transferable soft skills like communication, critical thinking, and time management. Have friends and family review for any mistakes.

3. Prepare for Interviews

Do research on the organization and role so you can speak knowledgeably about why you’re interested in the position. Review common interview questions and practice your answers. Be ready to provide specific examples of situations where you demonstrated key nursing competencies.

4. Consider All Options

While hospital work may be appealing initially, also explore clinics, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and home health agencies. You might find better work-life balance and increased responsibility in these settings. Don’t overlook part-time, per diem, or temporary jobs which can provide valuable experience.

How to Advance Your Nursing Career Through Specializations and Advanced Degrees

There are many paths to explore, from specializing in a nursing field to pursuing an advanced degree.

Specialize in a Nursing Field

Gaining experience in a specialized area of nursing is a great way to advance your career. Some options include:

  • Critical care nurse: Provide care for patients with life-threatening illnesses in the ER or ICU. Requires additional critical care training.
  • Nurse practitioner: Become licensed to diagnose and treat patients independently. Requires a master’s degree. Popular fields include family practice, pediatrics, and women’s health.
  • Certified nurse midwife: Provide gynecological and prenatal care, and deliver babies. Requires a master’s degree and certification.
  • Nurse anesthetist: Administer anesthesia and monitor patients during surgical procedures. Requires a master’s degree and certification.

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Pursue an Advanced Nursing Degree

Furthering your education by obtaining an advanced degree in nursing can open up more career opportunities. Consider:

  • A master’s in nursing (MSN) to become a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or nurse administrator.
  • A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) to take on leadership roles developing healthcare policy or overseeing nursing staff.
  • A PhD in nursing to pursue a career as a nurse researcher, scientist or professor.


With the right preparation, you’ll find a nursing role that’s perfect for you. Stay determined, network, and keep an open mind. Your first job as an RN is an exciting milestone, so take your time and choose a position that will set you up for success and growth throughout your career. Congratulations again, nurse, and best of luck.

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