August 6, 2015

Young smiling nurse in front of her medical team

When transitioning from a student nurse to a licensed professional nurse there are many things to consider! Nursing is far more than just a paycheck; it is a commitment to the well-being of your patients and the ability to make the right decisions necessary to change someone’s life for the better. Healthcare is a broad industry, and it can be overwhelming trying to sort everything out at the start of this transition. You will probably wonder things like: Where will I work? Will I have the necessary skills to fulfill my obligation to my patients? The transition from student to professional nurse is a big one, so ensuring that you are clinically ready is the most important aspect.

As a nursing student, you will spend time wondering about where you will end up, and then after passing the NCLEX boards exam, reality will set in. “Am I really ready?” will be the first question a licensed professional nurse will ask. If you’ve put the hard work and time in at the beginning with your countless hours of studying and practice, taking the next big step to work professionally with real patients will be much easier than you think.

Whether LVN or RN, every nurse has an impact on society, and part of the motivation to be a nurse comes from the desire to improve lives and make a difference. Now is your time!

When evaluating your post licensure plan/journey, it is important to consider the following:

  • Place and Type of Work

    • Will you work in the hospital, a nursing home, or home health care facility or agency? What age level will you focus on: geriatrics, adults or pediatrics? If you choose pediatrics, do you have all the knowledge and skills necessary to work with children?
  • Acuity Level

    • Do you have the knowledge and skills to work with patients who are dependent on ventilator, tracheostomies, or gastrostomy feedings and/or oxygen? The patients require complete care to live a regular life. Ask yourself what type of environment you will be most comfortable working in. Make sure you match patient acuity level with your skills.

Transitioning from a student nurse to a licensed professional nurse is a big decision, made up of many smaller decisions along the way. This can overwhelm you, especially as you learn the hardest lesson of all—how to separate textbook scenarios from real life situations. Keep in mind the reason why you chose nursing as your calling and your passion for patient care. This motivation will sustain you during the phases of transition.

Just stay focused on the goal of providing exceptional patient care, and over time everything will fall into place.


Sonia Meza, BSN, RN

Epic Health Services

Nursing Director-Weslaco, TX