How Do I Become a Registered Nurse?

Registered nurses, or “RN’s” as they are commonly called, are an essential part of patient-facing healthcare services. Nurses are expected to work with doctors, physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers in order to facilitate better patient care. They actively work on care plans, administer medications, operate equipment, observe patients and perform diagnostic tests if necessary. 

Training and Education

Becoming a registered nurse requires intensive study. While many registered nurses begin two year training programs after completing an Associate’s degree, others may decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN). These four-year degrees provide a well-rounded education in practical healthcare, business management, critical thinking and communication. This can be invaluable if a registered nurse wants to pursue research or administrative jobs later in their career. Nurses may also pursue an Associate’s degree in Nursing
(ADN) if they wish to do so. These programs tend to be more flexible and some can even be completed part-time.

Anyone who is interested in applying for a nursing training program or degree course should make sure that their program of choice is approved and accredited in their state.

Coursework generally covers the following subjects:

  • Basic nutrition
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Patient care techniques
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical ethics
  • Business mathematics and business English
  • Speciality areas, such as diabetes management, for advanced nursing students

In addition to the coursework they must complete, nursing students also have to undertake a certain number of clinical hours in order to earn their degrees and certifications. The number of hours will vary from program to program, but these clinical hours provide future registered nurses with valuable hands-on practice.

After nursing students have completed their coursework, they must undergo licensing examinations. These usually consist of oral or written exams as well as a practical skills based test. After nurses have passed their coursework and their licensing examinations, they will be added to the registry in their state. They must continue to take re-certification courses every two years or within an amount of time specified by their state.

Potential Career Opportunities and Job Outlook

Job prospects for registered nurses tend to be quite good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for nurses will grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is higher than demand for many other healthcare professions. The national median wage for nurses in 2012 was $65,470, and salaries are expected to rise with inflation. Individual nursing salaries and job opportunities may vary according to the applicant’s location, work history, and certifications held.

After working as registered nurses for a few years, many people decide that they would like to return to school to pursue further education in nursing. They may want to move towards working in an administrative setting where they oversee a team of nurses, or they may want to start teaching the next generation of nurses. Some registered nurses continue working in the field while they train for additional certifications.

Nursing – a Rewarding Career Path

The stringent standards and requirements that are asked of potential nurses are there in order to maintain a high standard of quality. Training to become a nurse takes hard work and dedication, but it is definitely worth the effort. If you think that you want to choose a fulfilling career path that lets you help others, then training to become a registered nurse might be the right choice for you.

Take a look at “Cutting-edge Nursing