Are you interested in a career as a Registered Nurse? Find out in this article what you need to know to get started, and what education is needed to become a Registered Nurse.
A registered nurse (RN) is a nurse who has earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then passed the RN licensing exam.
In other words, you can become an RN by earning an ADN or BSN degree.
The Path to Becoming a Registered Nurse
It takes some time to become a registered nurse, but the journey is rewarding.
It’s similar to getting a driver’s license in that you study and practice before taking the test and applying for your license.
Research Nursing Degree Options
Before committing to nursing school, you will want to think about your overall career goals.
Since there are two major education paths you can take to become an RN, you’ll need to decide what the best fit is for your schedule and long-term plans.
For those who would prefer to get out into the working world as soon as possible, there’s the Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) route.
In the end, both degrees can lead to a career as a Registered Nurse, your decision simply depends on what’s best for you based on how much time you want to spend in school and what your personal career goals are.
It’s important to remember that nursing is a profession with a wide range of opportunities, so you always have the option of going back to school to advance your career.
Make Inquiries and Enroll in Nursing School
Once you’ve decided which degree path you’d like to pursue, it’s time to find a nursing school that aligns with your goals and enroll in a nursing program.
We’ve covered how to get into nursing school before, but here’s a brief summary.
After graduating from high school, you’ll need to research different nursing programs and then complete an application, typically requiring you to round up some letters of recommendation, write the requisite essays, and more.
You’ll also likely need to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam and prepare for your entrance interview.
It may sound like a lot is required of you right from the get-go, but when you break each step down and tackle it one piece at a time, you’ll start to see your path toward nursing success take shape.
The time and effort put into each phase of your process are important factors that can help you get into the school you’ve set your sights on.
Complete Nursing Coursework and Clinicals
After you’ve been accepted into nursing school, it may seem like all the hard work is behind you.
But the next stretch of your life will be spent building and strengthening the foundational knowledge and skills required of successful nurses.
You can expect to encounter coursework relating to chemistry, biology, anatomy, nutrition, and more.
You will also be expected to complete a series of nursing clinicals to help gain hands-on experience and witness what it’s really like to work as an RN.
Clinicals provide students with an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a real-life healthcare setting, serving as a critical capstone to your education as you learn how to gain your footing in the world of nursing.
Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam and Meet Licensure Requirements
Once you’ve come this far, you’re almost done with your journey to becoming a nurse.
Things will start looking up as you cross the finish line you’ve been chasing after, a degree in hand.
The only thing separating you from a rewarding career as an RN once you’ve walked across that graduation stage is passing the NCLEX-RN and ensuring you meet all state licensure requirements.
Any prospective nurse must pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination).
However, some states may have additional administrative requirements for obtaining licensure, such as passing a criminal background check.
You’ll be ready to find work as a registered nurse once you’ve obtained licensure, so prepare your resume and get ready to help fill the nursing shortage.