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I'd reccomend taking dual enrollment classes so you have some college done by the time you graduate. It takes 2 - 3 years to complete some school's nursing pre-req classes such as:
English I & II
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Statistics
Introduction to Psychology
Biology I Lecture & Lab
Anatomy & Physiology I & II Lecture & Lab
Microbiology Lecture & Lab
General Chemistry I Lecture & Lab
- Take an anatomy course if your high school offers one.
- Find a job shadowing program at a hospital near you. (I was in one my senior year. It was over the summer, once a week for about eight weeks.) This can really help you decide if you want to be a nurse or not. For me it only made me want to be one even more.
- It's really not too early to find a college if you (or your parents/guardians) don't already have one in mind.
- Volunteer at a hospital.
- Do well in school, because your GPA now as well as your SAT or ACT score will affect your entrance into college.
My daughter is a 16 year old Junior and in my state you have the option of getting your CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant) when you are 17. Earning your CNA and working as one will help you get an idea of what nurses do and give you some hands on medical experience. Plus it is a great job to work while you are in school.
If it's offered, take college courses while you're in high school. In my state, they call it "Running Start." You earn credits for high school by either taking college courses on your high school campus or at your local community college campus. You could potentially finish up a year's-worth of college before even graduating high school.
As for the CNA/NAC certification--like ebailey said--you can get that as soon as you're 16/17 years old to get direct patient care experience.
You already have a good headstart on preparing for nursing school, because you already know that nursing school is what you want. I wish you a good journey!
I do something similar to dual enrollment, my school offers a three part medical program elective, medical I, medical II, medical III. I will graduate with some certifications. A lot of schools are beginning to offer these classes, we are also starting to have engineering which right now is a two part. I use a lot my free time to learn specific things that my medical class doesn't teach, like starting an IV and dosage calculations. Make sure you explore specialties and health careers other than nursing!