Hi guys, welcome to today’s exciting read, where you’ll learn how to become an RN.
At the end of reading this article, you’ll come to fully understand the steps to become a nurse, the duties you should expect to perform as an RN, and more.
In this article, we’ll focus on:
- What a registered nurse is
- How to become an RN
- Nursing exams and licenses
- Duties of nurses
Let’s jump into this enlightening read to become a registered nurse!
What is a Nurse?
Before you drool for the job opportunities in a nursing career, you should first understand what nursing entails.
A nurse is an individual who has completed nursing education and has been endorsed by the appropriate regulatory agency to practice nursing in their domain.
Due to nurses’ invaluable roles in the healthcare sector, a renowned author and registered nurse, Shantay Carter, describes them as the “Heartbeat of Health Care.”
Without the coordinating roles of nurses, public health will be in chaos.
Nurses serve as educators; health education is a crucial aspect of nursing care.
Nurses help their patients rapidly gain independence.
Nurses teach patients how to manage symptoms and stay in good health.
Types of Nursing
The word “nurse” is generic, and to make you further understand how the industry works, we’ll highlight nursing specialties.
This discussion will also help you streamline your focus when searching for nursing jobs.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
CNAs help registered nurses in their daily tasks.
They perform simple clinical duties and give patients support.
They feed, bathe, clean, and turn patients.
You need a high school diploma for this position.
It’s the last position in nursing, and you only need 4 to 8 weeks of training to kick-start a career as a CNA.
They work in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and nursing care facilities.
The 2020 median salary for certified nursing assistants was $30,830.
This seemingly meager salary is understandable because it’s an entry-level position.
If you want a higher level of specialization, you may strive to become an RNA nurse.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) & Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
One needs a diploma or certificate in an approved program to serve as an LPN or LVN.
The required educational programs for these positions are taught in community colleges and technical schools.
Vocational nurses and licensed practical nurses monitor blood pressure, change bandages, communicate patients’ concerns to registered nurses and doctors, and collect urine and blood sample.
LPNs and LVNs work in physician offices, hospitals, and home health care.
With 9% projected job growth by 2030, the median average annual salary for these nursing positions in 2020 was $48,820.
If you’ve always dreamed of how to become a nurse without attending a registered nurse college, enrolling in a technical school for an LPN is the way out.
Unlike an RN program where you spend 2 to 3 years in nursing school, you need just a year to become a licensed practical nurse.
Also, obtaining a diploma in practical nursing is the answer for those thinking of how to become an RN fast.
Many schools allow LPNs to transfer credit into their RN degree programs.
It means you’ll spend less time completing your BSN program than those without prior experience.
Registered Nurse (RN)
Our preoccupation in this article is how to become an RN; the subsequent sections will focus on this subject matter.
You need either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to become a registered general nurse.
RNs work in hospitals, nursing care centers, and ambulatory care services.
Some of their roles include providing emotional support to patients, assessing patients’ conditions, helping doctors in diagnostic testing, and enlightening patients on their health.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median average salary of registered nurses in 2020 was $75,330.
If earning big is one of your career goals, you shouldn’t hesitate to participate in the BSN program or acquire the ADN.
It’s one of the easiest ways to standardize your nursing education.
Surgical Assistant Registered Nurse
According to the BLS, nurses under this category earn an average of $100,000 yearly.
They work in hospitals across the country.
You need either an ADN or BSN degree to serve as a surgical assistant registered nurse, but the latter is preferred.
Nurse Case Manager (NCM)
If you’ve always wondered how to become a case manager RN, the following line settles your curiosity.
You need just the BSN degree to become a nurse case manager!
NCMs earn an average of $65,177 annually, and they work in hospitals, industrial areas, and nursing homes.
They work with insurance providers, patients, and medical staff for the most effective care plan.
They also monitor care plan progress, assess care, and make informed suggestions based on their observations.
Clinical Nurse Supervisor (CNS)
A clinical nurse supervisor supervises the nursing staff in a facility, schedules work hours, gives outpatients tasks, and evaluates the workforce’s performance under them.
Supervisors work in long-term care facilities and hospitals.
You need an ADN, BSN, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to serve this role.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the average annual salary of these professionals at $74,933.
Some other nursing types you need a BSN for include critical care registered nurse, oncology registered nurse, labor and delivery nurse (nurse midwives), and emergency room registered nurse.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
As the name implies, this position is exclusively reserved for those who have advanced in nursing practice.
The BLS states that the 2020 median salary for APRNs was $117,670, with a 45% projected job growth by 2030.
If you want to be a beneficiary of this projected growth, you must have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
Advanced practice registered nurses work in outpatient care centers, hospitals, and physician offices.
They prescribe medications, manage treatments, order tests, and diagnose patients.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
This position is reserved for nurses with exceptional clinical experience.
Their average annual salary is $109,822, and you need an MSN to stand to be employed for this position.
Clinical nurse specialist,s work with social workers, pharmacists, and doctors to improve patient care plans.
The minor level of education for this role is an MSN, and you should specialize in a part during your master’s degree to stand as a strong contender for this position.
Nurse practitioners work in hospitals and physician offices.
They diagnose and examine patients, manage treatments, administer drugs, and evaluate test results.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the 2020 average annual salary for nurse practitioners was $111,680.
The BLS also forecasts a 52% job growth for this profession by 2030.
One of the advantages of degree programs is that they give you access to the top positions in every profession.
Nurse practitioners are in high demand because the position is reserved for specialists who can perform some critical clinical functions.
You need a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to serve as an educator.
These professionals primarily work in academic settings, and they facilitate training, draft educational programs, design educational patterns that have positive impacts on patients and provide valuable materials to medical staff.
Some nurse anesthetists also earn the DNP to further understand the demands of their fields.
Due to the critical nature of their services, they consistently seek more knowledge.
Duties of a Nurse
Though we posited that nurses are indispensable to healthcare services, it would be great if we highlighted their specific roles
The core duties of nurses include:
- Operation of medical equipment
- Administration of medication and treatment
- Serve as the liaison between doctors and patients
- Public health services and education
- Performance of diagnostic tests
- Development and direction of treatment plans
However, note that there are no two identical job descriptions.
Your experience, level of education, and employer’s requirements will determine your specific roles.
Depending on your passion and expertise, you may specialize in geriatrics, trauma, ER, pediatrics, and OBGYN.
With more experience, you can streamline your areas of interest.
However, don’t engage in activities outside what your nursing license permits you.
Educational Requirements for a Nursing Program
You need a nursing degree to become a registered nurse.
You need first to earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) before you can sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Where you want to work will determine the degree you should earn.
Some states require individuals to earn an associate degree in nursing before practice, but the tide is fast changing.
More states have now mandated those willing to join the nursing profession go through the BSN program.
Even in states where BSN isn’t a prerequisite for licensure, individual employers request a bachelor’s degree as a condition for employment.
Hence, if your career path in nursing, you should voluntarily participate in the BSN program before it hinders you from some juicy job opportunities.
An ideal bachelor’s degree in nursing will increase your competency and whet your critical thinking skills.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to be a pediatric nurse or labor and delivery nurse; you should enroll in a registered nurse school that emphasizes the clinical experience.
You shouldn’t just be fixated on how to become an RN with a bachelor’s degree without thinking of the process that will produce the result.
Experienced faculty members teach registered nurse programs.
When experienced lecturers teach you, they’ll expose you to the practical aspects of the profession, and you will be mentally prepared for the journey ahead.
It is how to become a sane RN; the profession’s challenges won’t catch you unawares.
How to Earn Your BSN in a Nursing School
“How to become an RN” is one of the most typical searches about registered nurses RN; people want to know registered nurse requirements.
There are many ways to earn an RN degree.
If you’re a first-time college student, the most suitable choice is the conventional 4-year nursing program.
However, if you have an associate degree in nursing, you may go for the RN-to-BS program’s accelerated BSN option.
You can complete this nursing program within 12 to 14 months.
Also, if you’ve already gotten a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing, you should explore the option of other accelerated BSN programs to switch careers.
You can complete such programs within 16 to 24months.
Fortunately, you can become an RN online; most schools offer almost all the nursing programs listed above online.
However, it would help if you were careful of the online programs you enroll in.
Before you put both legs in an RN program online, verify that it’s an accredited program.
Accreditation is the first issue you should consider before other fundamentals.
If you want to know how to become an RN online, check the websites of trusted institutions for more information.
This appeal aims to prevent you from falling into the wrong hands because no one might offer you financial aid if you waste your money on unaccredited programs.
Also, if you’re schooling for nursing online, you should take your RN classes seriously to maximize the opportunities that come with them.
Some students abuse the flexibility that RNs school online offers them.
We tend to discourage online RN schooling because students don’t get to learn the practical aspects of the topics.
Their clinical experience is almost at zero.
If you meet the nursing degree requirements of your preferred institutions, you should go through the conventional learning mode.
Nursing schooling requirements keep changing, so you must keep yourself abreast of the field’s happenings, especially those who wish to further their education.
Our discussion in this section has answered typical questions on the lips of aspiring registered nurses, such as:
- “How long is schooling for an RN?”
- “How many years is nursing school?”
- “How many years of schooling to be a nurse?” and
- “How long does it take to become a nurse?”
Prerequisites for Licensure
If you don’t know how to get your RN license, dedicate a few minutes to this section.
You have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam after your nursing schooling to be licensed.
Purpose of the NCLEX-RN Exam
Most times, candidates complain about this certification examination because they don’t understand its purpose.
The NCLEX-RN exam stabilizes RN programs; it tests your understanding of the core nursing areas to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the profession.
You can request a state license upon passing this examination.
However, if you fail the examination, you have to wait for 45 days before a retake.
Contact your State Board of Nursing to know the exam pass rate.
It will help your preparation because you know what your target is.
After passing the exam, you should obtain a license from the state where you want to practice.
If you want to work in more than one state, you’ll need to acquire a license from all the concerned states.
But some states honor the license from other jurisdictions.
However, make sure you find out before assuming because every state has its unique requirements.
Simple online searches such as “How to become an RN in Florida” “How to become an RN in NY,” and “How to become an RN in California” will save you from falling into avoidable traps.
The searches will provide you results from state boards of nursing of what you need to do before you’re allowed to practice.
When you’re meticulous enough to find out how to become a registered nurse in every state you go to, you’ll find it easy to get started.
Save for those who’re unwilling to stretch themselves; it’s relatively easy to meet the RN requirements of every state.
How to Pass the NCLEX-RN Program
The only impediment on your way to becoming a registered nurse is failing the NCLEX.
One of the things an ideal RNs school emphasizes is how you can pass this examination at a go.
You wouldn’t bother about how to become an RN again once this issue has been taken care of by the school.
However, if you still feel inadequately prepared for the examination, you can activate some mechanisms from your end.
First, familiarize yourself with the exam format; if you’re not in the dark about the structure, you’re more likely to do well in it.
Don’t involve in self-evaluation during the exam; concentrate on answering the questions to the best of your ability instead of wasting time on self-assessment.
Choose a befitting study style and choose a study plan that works for you.
Be intentional about learning.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve met all nursing schools requirements and hope to learn everything there upon resumption.
No matter how extensive and comprehensive a syllabus is, you still need to engage in self-studies to get an excellent result.
Sharpen your exam-taking skills by practicing past questions on this licensure examination.
The more you practice, the more familiar and confident you’ll become about the examination.
Invest in suitable materials.
Your level of preparation for the examination will determine if you truly want to become an RN registered nurse.
Don’t miss the opportunity to make a footprint during the preparatory stage.
If you follow these guidelines religiously, there’s no gainsaying that you’ll pass the examination once.
By now, you will no longer ask: “Is nursing a major medical profession?”
Our discussion in this article has perfectly answered that question.
You can see it’s relatively easy to become a registered nurse, but you must show commitment to the process to make it happen at the right time.
We stated that acquiring an associate or bachelor’s degree and passing the licensure examination are the two defined ways to become a registered nurse.
However, if you want to earn more and carve out a niche for yourself, you should go for more training.
Such training will make you more passionate about your job and thirst for new ways to get things done.
What are the requirements to become a nurse?
Your area of specialization will determine the requirements. Generally, you need a diploma or bachelor’s degree in nursing education and an operating license. You must pass the National Council Licensure Examination to become a nurse.
How long does it take to become an RN?
It takes between 24 to 36 months, depending on your experience and the educational program you enroll in. Nursing students spend between 2 to 3 years in college, while you need 4 years for degree programs. This answer also answers the typical question: “How long is RN school?”
Can you become an RN in 2 years?
Yes, you can! However, it’s only possible through the BSN accelerated program.
How hard is it to become an RN?
It isn’t hard to become a registered nurse if you’re ready to put in the hard work. It takes 2 to 4 years to complete a nursing education. You can also become a licensed registered nurse a few months after your nurse training. How much does it cost to become an RN?
How long does it take to become an LPN to RN?
It takes 24 to 32 months. It depends on your commitment to class, how fast you’re able to complete coursework, and the institution where you’re doing the program.
How much schooling to be a nurse?
If you want to be a practical or vocational nurse, you need 12 months of schooling. If you want to be a registered nurse, you need 2 to 4 years of education. Apart from the general education, you also need to obtain the NCLEX-RN license.
What education is needed to become a registered nurse?
The least education requirement is an Associate Degree in Nursing, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is preferable. Then, you must pass the NCLEX before obtaining a state license.