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How to Use Your Healthcare Experience to Become a Nurse

If you’re a paramedic, a military medic/Corpsman, or a Licensed Practical Nurse, and you want to keep helping people without the stress of being an emergency responder, or you want to take your healthcare career to the next level, you could consider becoming a Registered Nurse. Here’s how you can get there.
  • 1 How Your Experience Can Help

    Experience, like critical care, emergency, and trauma could give you an edge when going for your RN, especially when it comes to deciding where to specialize. Here are some nursing specialties where your current experience may help you most. Click to find out more about them and how you can get there.

    Critical Care Nurse
    Emergency Nurse
    Flight/Transport Nurse
    Infusion Nurse
    Labor and Delivery Nurse
    Medical-Surgical Nurse
    Military Nurse
    Missionary Nurse
    Nurse Anesthetist
    Perianesthesia Nurse
    Perioperative Nurse
    Poison Information Specialist
    Telephone Triage Nurse
    Toxicology Nurse
    Trauma Nurse
    Travel Nurse
    Wound and Ostomy Nurse

  • 2 The Fast Track to Becoming an RN

    Many nursing schools offer bridge programs for people with previous healthcare experience. While programs vary by state and school, they’re all designed to help you become an RN without repeating the training you already have. Here’s what you’ll want to look for:

    • Paramedic to RN Bridge Programs
    • LPN/LVN to RN Bridge Programs
    • Military Medic/Corpsman to RN Bridge Programs
    • Online Bridge Programs

    If you need a program with maximum flexibility, an online option might be for you. Pros include:

    • You won’t have to worry about waiting lists.
    • Your first semester begins when you want it to.
    • You can go at your own pace, in your own space.
    • You’ll probably save money.

    Find an online program


    Once you are a Registered Nurse, you might want to look into programs that’ll help you get an advanced degree more quickly, too:

    RN to BSN Programs
    Even if you work as an RN with a diploma or associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree is becoming the standard. Since healthcare employers constantly look for more qualified and skilled candidates, a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) will make you more competitive and increase your earning potential.
    Find RN to BSN programs

    RN to MSN Programs
    More and more schools are offering RN to MSN bridge programs. And with an advanced degree, your role with your patients will become more involved. You can be a part of their entire care plan, prescribe medication, and even be your own boss. You’ll also have the option to teach the next generation of nurses, helping combat the nursing shortage even more.
    Here are some areas you can specialize in with your MSN

  • 3 Financial Aid Just For You

    There are organizations that offer scholarships, grants, and loans, especially for those with other healthcare experience making the to move to nursing.
    Search for scholarships in your area

    You also might be able to get financial assistance like Loan Repayment and Tuition Reimbursement from the healthcare facility where you work.
    See the types of financial assistance available

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