How To Become A Registered Nurse
Registered nurses, or RNs, are trained and skilled health care providers who in addition to providing medical services of the highest quality, also educate patients and their families on various illnesses and conditions and who also provide emotional support to patients who need it more. According to the BLS, the jog growth in the nursing industry is more than encouraging for all those who want to pursue a lucrative career as registered nurses: until 2020, there is expected to be an increase of more than 25% in the demand for these profession, which automatically makes nursing one of the medical careers with the fastest growth rate at the time being. Having said that, here is some useful information on how to become a registered nurse:
1. Get your High School Diploma Or Your GED
The first step you need to take towards becoming a reputable registered nurse is to finish high school with good grates and to get your high school diploma or your GED, which stands for General Education Development diploma. If you are still in high school but you are sure about the career path you plan on taking upon graduating, then make sure to get additional classes in the most important nursing and medicine-related fields: chemistry, nutrition, anatomy, physiology as well as biology.
2. Choose The Most Suitable Educational Path For You
There are several different education paths that you can take in order to become a registered nurse in the United States of America, and regardless of which path appeals to you the most, you will have to sit or the final licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN. Having said that, most registered nurses these days start off by enrolling in an AND program, or an Associate’s Degree in the Science of Nursing program, which typically lasts for two years and emphasizes on the technical aspects of nursing.
On the other hand, it is not uncommon for registered nurses to also opt for BSN programs, or Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing programs, which are designed for students with no previous nursing education and which will result in a baccalaureate nursing degree. These professional nursing programs last between four and five years, although some accredited institutions might also offer accelerated BSN programs that can be completed within 12 to 18 months. The BSNs typically emphasize on science and research, and the enrollment requirements vary greatly from one university or college to another.
EL-MSN training programs (Entry-level Master’s of Science in Nursing Programs) are also available for future registered nurses, and these are for non-nursing Bachelor’s Degree graduates and usually take 24 to 36 months to complete. Some registered nurses want to take their career to the next level and they even enroll in Ph.D training programs that will significantly increase their employment opportunities upon graduation: regardless of which educational path you plan to follow, it is of utmost importance to make sure that your nursing school or program is accredited and approved by the state’s Board of Nursing.
3. Sit For The National Council Licensure Examination For Registered Nurses
After completing a specialized nursing program, the next step you need to take is to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, which will help you gain your licensure and will allow you to work legally in the state where you reside. This is a nationally recognized licensing exam for RNs, and you must be well-aware of all the pre-requisites for the NCLEX-RN examination as they may vary from one state to another.
You must be a US citizen in order to sit for this examination, and you have two paths you can take in order to gain your licensure: if you are a first-time licensee, meaning that this is the first time you apply for a registered nurse licensure, then you must pass the examination. If you already have a license in a NLC state (also known as a “compact state”), then you can apply for a registered nursing licensure by endorsement. In the latter case, the state’s Board of Nursing will, most likely, provide you with a temporary permit until your current license is reviewed and until you receive your new licensure.
The licensure is set to expire every two years in most US state, this is why nurses are required to stay up to date with their practice and to get some continuing education courses in order for them to keep their license active and valid. The exact licensure renewal requirements vary from one state to another.
4. Start Working As A Registered Nurse
Nurses play a pivotal role in the medical industry, not just in the United States of America, but all over the world. Statistically speaking, there are more than two million skilled and licensed nurses that currently work in all 50 states of the US, thus making nursing the largest position in the health care industry. After receiving your education and getting all the practical hands-on experience that this position requires, along with your Registered Nurse designation, the next step is to move on and apply for a job as a registered nurse in the state where you reside.
These days, nurses work in a variety of different public and private clinical setting, and this can greatly influence both their payment and their working hours: it often happens that RNs work in private physician’s offices, elderly care homes, prisons, schools, state hospitals and such. Most registered nurses who are at the beginning of their career choose to work in a specialty unit where they interact with a variety of patients, as this will help them get used to the fast pace in the medical industry.
After becoming a registered nurse, you can still advance your career as a nurse and climb the success ladder by becoming a nurse practitioner, which represents “the next level” in the nursing industry. Nurse Practitioners, or NPs, are skilled health care providers who do a variety of other tasks that registered nurses are typically not allowed to do, such as making diagnoses or prescribing medication. If you have decided to become a nurse practitioner, then you must firstly become licensed as a registered nurse and then enroll in a higher training program that will later allow you to pursue your dream job of becoming a nurse practitioner.