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My daughter wants to pursue a career in nursing and is considering a year of mission work before she applies to nursing school. Is this a good idea?

Tuesday January 22, 2013
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Dear Donna,

My daughter wants to pursue a career in nursing, either in OB/GYN, pediatrics, midwifery or medical missions. She is an honor student in high school, has taken a number of advanced placement classes and is a very self-motivated hard worker.

She is considering doing a year of mission work in Latin America, while taking prerequisite classes online. Is this feasible? Will this help or hurt her chances of getting into a good nursing program when she returns?

Future Nurse's Mom

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Future Nurse's Mom,

It's wonderful that your daughter is interested in nursing and seems to have an interest in a particular specialty area. Taking prerequisites now while doing some medical missionary work sounds like a great idea. It will certainly not hurt her chances of getting into a nursing program, and may or may not help.

Explore area colleges of nursing by getting a list online or from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org search for '[your state] chapter of the American Nurses Association'). Also, you may find this article helpful “Master the Scholarship Game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Scholarship-Game).

Once she becomes a nursing student, I recommend she join the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (www.awhonn.org) as a student member.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.