Nursing is a noble profession. Nurses are often the first ones to encounter a patient’s symptoms as well as their anger, fear, and other emotions. Because of this, nurses are specially trained to ask the right questions and pay close attention to vital signs and other indicators of health. Nursing isn’t a career for everyone, but for those well-suited to the career, there are many different avenues to take when you decide to become a nurse. No matter which way you choose to take your nursing career, here you will find resources to help you through your academic and professional career.
Resources for Nursing Students
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is the accreditation branch of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. It oversees nursing programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. You’ll want to choose a nursing school or program that is accredited by this party or by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). For those who attend two-year nursing programs, accreditation through the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing is ideal.
You also want to make sure the school you plan to attend has regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is handled by several different agencies:
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- WASC Senior College and University Commission
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
These entities oversee the accreditation for colleges and universities across the country. And it’s very important that you choose a school that is accredited. Otherwise, you might not be allowed to sit for certification exams or be dismissed by future employers, which would mean that all your work was for nothing.
Financial Aid for Future Nurses
Most students can’t whip out their checkbook (or debit card) and write a check for their full tuition. Generally, a nursing student needs financial help to pay for their education. This help can take the form of various kinds of aid: grants, loans, and scholarships.
Grants are the best option for financial aid because students will at no point need to pay them back. They are most often given to those who can prove financial need. Students who do need grants to help pay for school can find them in a variety of ways. The Federal Pell Grant is available to all undergraduate students who meet the income guidelines and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Other grants are also available and are often based on the occupations, organizations, or military service of either the students or parents. Your guidance counselor or college advisor can assist with finding grants that could help you.
If grants aren’t enough to get you through, there are loans available. Student loans are provided by the Federal government or private lenders. Loans that are from the government are often based on income and need; the qualifications are less stringent than those for a private loan. Unlike grants, students are required to pay back loans. However, while the student is still enrolled in school the loans may be deferred, which means no payments are required.
The final option is scholarships. There are many different scholarship opportunities for students with good grades and an excellent essay. Like grants, your advisor or counselor will have a listing of nursing scholarships that might fit your needs.
Nursing Associations for Students
There is strength and safety in numbers. Students enrolled in healthcare majors should have organizations that represent them and protect their rights, as well as supporting ongoing research and even offering scholarships and grants of their own. That’s the main mission of the organizations listed below.
- NSNA - NSNA:
National Student Nurses Association - This organization advocates and supports student nurses. The organization offers placement assistance and information about the different certifications and specializations for nurses.
Health Occupations Students Association - This association represents students majoring in health occupations. Students enrolled in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, and other allied health majors are encouraged to join.
- American Nurses Association:
Student nurses that are members of the NSNA can join for free. For students who are not NSNA members, they can still join for free after agreeing to receive membership information from the NSNA.
Student or Open Access Journals
Nursing students do a lot of reading. Part of this should be journals and magazines that cater to working professionals. Reading nursing journals while still a student is a good practice to start. These publications provide needed information for working nurses, such as where to find continuing education credits, job openings, and what’s going on in the world of medicine and nursing. Here is a list of journals students can read.
Nursing Study Resources
In the old days, nursing students spent hours in a library poring over medical journals and magazines looking for the information they needed. But now, with the Internet and smartphones, all the information a nursing student needs is literally in the palm of their hands. Here are some online resources to help you navigate the adventure that is nursing school.
- Nursing Student Resources | Lippincott Nursing Center:
Lippincott Nursing Center has textbooks, peer-reviewed journals, and articles to help students with their studying. It is available online and via an app.
- Learning Nurse:
A website with educational material for student and seasoned nurses alike. Flashcards, quizzes, and exam prep are available on the site.
- Practical Clinical Skills:
Nursing students can practice their clinical skills via questions and scenarios.
- Nursing News & RN Career Development:
This site provides information about testing and certifications for nurses and other medical professionals.
- Nursing Drug Handbook - Home:
The Drug Handbook has a Facebook page and group.
There is pretty much an app for anything and everything. For those studying to become nurses, this concept still applies. Apps can make finding time to study and learn easier. Now, instead of zoning out while commuting back and forth to school, a student can use a study app to keep up with coursework. When the time comes to start preparing for certification exams, there’s an app that provides quizzes, flashcards, and other information. And of course, all students love apps that help to keep them organized. Here are some examples of apps that will make you wonder how you got along without them.
- Scrubcheats by NURSING.com:
This apps provides reference cards that help students learn vocabulary, policies, and medical procedures.
- NCLEX RN Mastery:
For those studying for the NCLEX exam, this app is a must-have. Flashcards, practice questions, and in-depth explanations of terms all help students study better.
This app puts information about diseases right at your fingertips. For practicing medical professionals, this app makes handling patient care that much more organized.
- Picmonic® Picture Mnemonics - Medical School, Nursing School and more!:
For students who are fond of the mnemonic method of learning, Picmonic offers this method using pictures instead of words.
This is a news article organizer. Students can set up a feed for the articles and news stories that apply to nursing. Available for Andriod and iOS.
As part of the degree program, nursing students complete several practicums in different parts of a medical facility. Because of this, internships in traditional fashion are not required. This eliminates the need for the student to find his or her own internship to meet graduation requirements. However, for a nursing student who would like to intern while on break.
here are some sites that offer internship opportunities and listings:
- Washington Post Internships:
- Scripps Howard Fellowship:
For those who would like to complete internships abroad
- ANA Career Center: Search Nursing Jobs:
Job board that includes internship opportunities
Resources for Students and Professionals
Nursing Certification Options
There are close to 200 different nursing certification options. The certifications you choose to pursue will depend on the area of expertise in which you choose to work. There are certifications focused on geriatric or pediatric care, intensive care, emergency and trauma, acute care, and many other areas. It’s quite possible and accepted for a nurse to have several certifications. Each certification has its own requirements including education requirements, testing requirements, and internships. Specific education and work experience might also be a requirement for some certifications, and in some cases, a certification in another area might be a requirement for an upper-level certification.
Some of the more popular certifications include:
- AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN)
- Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)
- Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Certification Study Resources
After years of classroom training as well as hands-on experience via internships, the time to take the certification exam to gain licensure has arrived. Whichever certification test you choose, you can be sure it’s going to be difficult and you should be prepared for. Finding a good study guide and practice test for your chosen exam will help prepare you to pass the exam the first time around.
The best way to find the right practice and study materials is to visit the site that matches your desired certification. We’ve listed some examples below.
- CPN Exam Resources:
For those who want to become Certified Pediatric Nurses, there is information provided by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
- Student Nursing 101: Top 15 Free Online Resources for Nursing Students:
One of the first certifications nurses get is Basic Life Support. Study materials are available through National Healthcare Provider Solutions.
- Nursing Certifications (updated 2020) ANCC Certification:
Mometrix provides practice tests for most nursing and allied health certification exams.
When you’re ready to start looking for a nursing job, a good place to start, especially if you’re willing to relocate, is with the job boards. Fortunately, you don’t have to depend on generic job boards such as Monster or Indeed. There are several boards that cater specifically to nursing or healthcare jobs.
Here are some sites where you can begin your search for nursing jobs:
If you’re about to start looking for a job but don’t know where to start, working with a temp agency is a good way to work in a variety of settings to help you focus in on the type of work you’re most interested in. Temp agencies place workers for a short period of time, so you can take an assignment and find out if it’s the type of environment you think you’d enjoy. If you aren’t picky and are just having a rough time finding permanent work, temporary agencies can offer a paycheck while you search for something more permanent.
- Healthcare & Medical Staffing Agency l Nursing, Allied, and Healthcare Jobs:
Nurse Finders focuses on job listings for nursing and allied professional employees.
- Healthcare Staffing and Recruiting:
Maxim Healthcare Solutions matches healthcare workers with organizations seeking healthcare providers.
This is a marketplace specifically for Registered Nurses.
Resources for Nursing Professionals
Professional Nursing Associations
Professional associations are important for a person’s growth in their industry. Nursing associations help nurses stay in tune with the happenings in their field. These publications also link nurses with places and organizations that offer educational opportunities and chances for nurses to communicate with each other. Learning the newest techniques and methods in the nursing field helps nurses provide the best care possible while reminding them why they entered the profession in the first place.
Popular Nursing Journals
Nurses read journals for a variety of reasons, from keeping up with what’s new to finding out who is offering continuing education credits. They’re also a good way to connect with others in the field, something that comes in handy when you’ve been working a lot of hours and are wondering if it’s worth it. Knowing others are dealing with the same issues makes situations more bearable. We’ve listed a few of the more popular journals nurses read on a regular basis below. Please keep in mind this is far from an exhaustive list of every publication at your disposal. Some journals are stand-alone publications, while others are connected with a professional organization.
- Nursing made Incredibly Easy!:
Ideal for teaching and new nurse practical tips
- American Journal of Nursing:
The oldest nursing publication in existence
Published by Lippencott
- Holistic Nursing Practice:
Presented by Lippencott
Industry Conferences for Nursing Professionals
Conferences and workshops are a large part of a nurse’s professional life. Not only are they ideal networking opportunities, but they are also often a way for nurses to fulfill continuing education requirements while keeping up with what’s going on with their profession. Conferences take place throughout the United States and beyond and throughout the year.
- 2020 American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Health Policy Conference:
An annual conference for nurse practitioners throughout the United States. It’s an opportunity to meet those who advocate for NPs as well as other practitioners from around the country.
- DNA's 38th Annual Convention:
The Dermatology Nurses Association convention brings registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, and medical assistants in the dermatology field together to learn from each other and network.
The Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses helps those who work in hospice and palliative care create new methods of caretaking and share stories and camaraderie in over 200 learning sessions.
- AAACN 45th Annual Conference:
This is a conference for nurses and medical professionals in the field of ambulatory care. Experts are on hand to talk about the newest innovations in equipment and treatments for patients.
This conference is for nurses who work in pediatrics. Experts in the field will showcase what’s new in the field and nurses can network and share their experiences with each other.