Choosing a career in nursing is an excellent choice. It is a profession that allows you to impact patients' lives positively. A registered nurse's role is pivotal in the health care system as they assist patients throughout their recovery. If you are passionate about nursing, this guide can help you become a registered nurse.
What is a registered nurse?
A registered nurse is a licensed medical professional that provides care to patients. Their job is to bring patients back to health with medical expertise and emotional support. Additionally, nurses must assist doctors, manage patients' records, and coordinate with their families.
What are the benefits of becoming a registered nurse?
As a registered nurse, you can open doors to many benefits. You can find excellent employment opportunities, as nursing is a flourishing field. The industry will grow 46% from 2021 to 2023, creating 194,500 new jobs yearly. You can also earn handsomely as a nurse. In the US, the national average salary of a nurse is $75,330.
Pursue a nursing degree
One of the many requirements for becoming a nurse is having formal nursing education. Almost all nursing jobs require a degree. You must choose your degree wisely, as it significantly impacts the prospect of a successful career. There are many programs you can opt for, for example:
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is excellent for aspiring registered nurses. This degree is a gateway to high-paying jobs and various career opportunities. Besides, it also allows you to pursue higher education. Online learning has made things a lot easier. For example, the UTA online nursing program can help you in accelerating your career, as its duration is 15 months and requires only 51 credit hours. It is an affordable program that offers high-quality education.
Having at least an associate degree is necessary to become a registered nurse. It is one of the popular programs as it involves less time and cost. Thus, it is a quick path to the nursing industry. The degree also makes you eligible for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. In addition, it also brings you a step closer to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Hence, it will allow you to widen your academic horizons.
Registered Nurse Diploma
A Registered Nurse Diploma is a traditional way to enter the nursing profession. In the early days, it was the only formal nursing education available in the US. However, by the 1950s, nursing associate degrees became common and, since then, have become the standard. Nonetheless, this diploma is still an excellent way to become a registered nurse. The program consists of 50 credit hours and is usually for two to three years. RN Diplomas are mostly offered in hospital nursing schools instead of universities.
The diploma primarily teaches clinical practice instead of general nursing education. In addition, it also prepares you for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. After passing the program and exam, you are eligible for entry-level RN positions.
Obtain a license
After completing your formal nursing education, obtaining a license is the next step. A license is mandatory to work as a nurse. Your credentials matter a lot when it comes to earning licenses. Hence, make sure to study in an accredited and state-approved program.
For the license, you must register for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) conducts the exam. The organization uses it to determine if a candidate possesses the skills to work in the field.
Most nurses opt to take the NCLEX-RN a month after their graduation. Hence it is better to give it as soon as possible, so you can kick start your career. Before applying for the exam, make sure you meet all its prerequisites. The minimum qualification for the exam is a diploma or an associate degree in nursing. In addition, your program should also include 400 clinical hours.
Moreover, the exam is computer-based and costs $200. You must complete a minimum of 75 questions out of 205. It can take up to six hours for you to complete the NCLEX-RN. The exam time involves two optional breaks. After two hours of the exam, you can opt for your first break. Additionally, you can also have unscheduled breaks during the examination.
The test includes topics such as safe and effective care environment and psychological integrity. Besides that, health promotion and maintenance and physiological integrity are also prominent topics. Lastly, if you cannot clear the exam, you can re-attempt it after 45 days.
Select a specialization
After passing your exam and earning your license, your next step should be specialization. Opting for specialization can let you move your career in various directions. Choosing a specialty of your interest is essential. Investing in a niche you enjoy leads to more career satisfaction.
Specialization comes with many advantages for registered nurses. You can earn more and apply for high-level jobs, such as managerial positions. Besides, it teaches you valuable skills and knowledge. In addition, it opens doors to private practice if you are not interested in doing conventional nursing jobs.
Furthermore, you can opt for your specialization in many fields of nursing. One of the most common ones is community nursing. It is a specialization that involves treating, educating and managing a particular community's health. You can specialize as an occupational health nurse or a school nurse.
You can also specialize in emergency nursing. It involves giving immediate attention to people in trauma or life-threatening conditions. You will learn various skills like time efficiency and critical thinking. For emergency nursing, you can specialize as a disaster management and trauma nurse.
Lastly, family nursing is also a great area for specialization. Family nursing focuses on the health of families. Your role will include treating and educating families on their well-being. Besides, you will prevent diseases in families and cater to people of all ages.
Nursing is one of the most gratifying professions in the healthcare industry. Caring for patients allows nurses to make a significant difference in society. The demand for registered nurses is on the rise. If you have a passion for nursing and want to become a registered nurse, a few tips can help you become one. You first must complete your formal nursing education. After that, you should acquire a license by passing the NCLEX-RN. Lastly, to boost your career, choose a specialization of your choice.