describe the # of years/ type of educational experience
i graduated from an associate of science degree in nursing program in 2003 which took me 2 years to complete, rn-bachelor's of science in nursing program (online) in 2006 which took me 2 semesters to complete because i already had many prereqs complete when i started, and a master's of science degree in nursing with an acute care nurse practitioner certification in dec 2007 which took me 18 months.
describe the different roles in which the individual has worked in health care
i have been an acute care nurse practitioner in cardiology, both inpatient and outpatient roles, for 1 year. before that, i had been an rn in the emergency room setting for 4 years. before that, i worked in the er as a nurse tech, unit clerk, and nurse extern to get experience in the health care field, which i highly recommend.
explore how professionalism is incorporated in their role asw a nurse
for me, professionalism is expressed in everything i do. i have to maintain professional attire each day; i have to speak and act professionally at all times at work (yes, even when i'm around friends) because you are held to a greater degree of accountability and responsibility as an apn. you never know who may hear/see you. with colleagues, i want to be respected as a 'professional' in the medical community, so i must uphold all of the expectations that go along with a highly educated individual. you also must form relationships with people that you may not even like, i.e. referring doctors, supervising doctors, etc. because you are all in this journey for the patients' wellbeing. in building these relationships, you have to know when to bite your tongue, when to speak up, and be cognizant of your own personality in dealing with difficult people to maintain professionalism. when documenting in the patient's chart, you must also be tact... especially if you are suggesting the internal medicine doctor did something wrong in adjusting the patients' meds.
determine what advice each would offer to a person beginning in the nursing profession
i would suggest that a beginner get as much exposure as you can. take every experience seriously, whether you like it or not! it will stay with you a long time. you need to get variety in your roles and explore what makes you happiest. there is nothing worse than a nurse that hates his or her job. how stupid is that? there is enough need for nurses that there is no excuse to hate your job. there are plenty of opportunities. don't sell yourself short. be assertive.
discuss the advice each would offer for the nursing student as they work toward the completion of their degree
see above. take critism constructively. i cried. i admit. but, looking back, i know that all the hard times helped shape me into what i am now. and be patient with yourself. i tried to learn too much too fast and was so disappointed when i didn't know everything at once. it takes time and experience to learn how to be a nurse. no matter what they teach you in school, you will never be fully prepared once you are on your own. don't rush school. learn as much as you can. soak it in. ask questions, especially of your preceptors. listen. set yourself up for success; get experience before you are a nurse as a unit clerk, medical assistant, cna, whatever. just do it. there is much much much more to being a nurse than just "being a nurse." you have to build patient rapport, deal with difficult doctors, interpret foreign language - both written and verbal, and expect personal internal conflict and emotion with situations. pre-nursing experience in the workplace will help prepare you for these aspects of nursing that cannot be "taught."
it will be one of the most rewarding things you do with your life... enjoy it.