If you are looking for how to become a registered nurse, this article will give you all the information that you need. We’ll cover everything from how to get your degree and what classes to take to the entrance exams and where you can find employment opportunities. Becoming a registered nurse is not easy; it takes years of dedication in order to reach this level of excellence. However, with hard work and following these guidelines, it’s possible for anyone!
What is a Registered Nurse?
A registered nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional who has been educated in the field of nursing and can provide advanced medical care. Registered nurses, also known as “RNs,” are considered to have one of the most stable positions in any health care system because there will always be a demand for them.
Education and Training Requirements:
Before you can become a registered nurse, you must complete the required education. There are four levels of nursing degrees: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. You must also take courses in anatomy and physiology before graduating from any level of nursing school.
- Associate’s Degree Nursing Programs: These programs typically last two years and involve 130 credits hours total – 50 for general studies classes (required for all degree types) and 80 credits hours focused on nursing topics like pediatric care or gerontology. The majority of these schools offer blended learning options where students may be able to use online lectures with traditional classroom sessions as well as accelerated course schedules that allow them to graduate sooner than traditional programs would have allowed.
- Bachelor’s Degree Nursing Programs: This degree is the most popular among nurses who have already earned an associate’s degree because it typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. There are 133 credit hours for general studies courses and 96 credit hours focused on nursing topics.
- Master’s Degree Nursing Programs: These programs are designed for those interested in becoming nurse teachers, research scientists, or clinical nurse specialists.
- Doctoral Program Nursing Schools: Those looking to teach at a university level will need this type of program, whereas others may not be as interested.
Nursing Specializations: Nurse educators focus primarily on teaching future RNs entering the workforce, while clinical nurse specialists focus more heavily on providing care for particular patient needs such as women with gynecological cancer, pre-operative assessment, and postoperative care.
Determining your goals and interests:
The first step to becoming a registered nurse is figuring out your goals and what kind of nursing interests you. There are many different routes one can take, so it’s important that you know which one will work best for you:
•Pediatrics or newborn care
•Obstetrics or gynecology (OBGYN)
•Critical Care Nursing
Research the type of nursing that interests you most in order to determine if this field is the right fit for you. Figuring out where your strengths lie may help narrow down career options as well. For instance, some people who have an affinity with math would gravitate more towards healthcare informatics than they would towards pediatrics.
Consider the cost of education:
- The cost of becoming a registered nurse is typically between $30,000 and $90,000.
- This can be discouraging for many students. However, this doesn’t include the time spent in a clinical experience that will also need to be paid for.
- One way to reduce education costs is by attending a two-year RN program versus four years at an institution like the University of Colorado Boulder or California State University Fullerton, which are both over $100K per year on average!
- Another option would be taking out loans or working part-time while in school as well as after graduation to help pay off your debt more quickly.
Research nursing schools in your area:
Research the nursing schools in your area. Decide which one you would like to apply for, and make sure they have a “general” program that will work well with your desired schedule. Once you find out what is required of each school, visit their websites and take notes about the requirements (i.e., GRE scores). If possible, talk to someone who attends or has attended this specific school, as well as nurses who are currently practicing at hospitals in your area. Remember, you can also check out nursing schools on social media as well. The general thing is to research the school and go with what feels right for you. Check out what the day in the life of a registered nurse is like here
Preparing for your nursing school admission
Prepare for the admissions process with prerequisites and test prep courses, including NCLEX-RN Prep:
- Get your high school degree or GED if you don’t have it.
- Learn all the prerequisites for nursing schools of your choice and take NCLEX Practice exams to prepare yourself before taking the real thing because passing rates are low in general.
- Make sure that any criminal records are expunged as they will show up on a background check with many potential employers these days.
- Consider volunteer work or internships at some point during college to get more experience caring for patients and giving them care than just sitting in lecture halls every day.
Here is a link to some nursing schools in the USA