There are no indications that the need for licensed practical nurses will slow down. You must fulfill a number of prerequisites if you want to become a registered nurse and contribute to the need for additional nurses.
Let’s start by thinking about the career field. By 2026, nurse positions are expected to grow by 15%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for registered nurses is close to $71,000, with greater earnings for those in specialized specialties.
Both recent graduates of high school and nontraditional students have options for pursuing nursing careers. Having stated the following are the three prerequisites you must fulfill in order to become a registered nurse:
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Make Sure a Nursing Career is the Right Choice for you
Nursing is a significant profession to choose from. Nurses shoulder a lot of responsibility, and the demands of the job may be quite stressful and anxiety-provoking. But if you’re dedicated to assisting others via your work, it may also be a very fulfilling career.
Be aware that due to the numerous licenses and standards, they must meet, nurses have a highly definite educational path to follow and little latitude to deviate from it. Be ready to dedicate at least two to four years to obtaining your degree and passing the demanding NCLEX licensing test in order to become certified as an LPN or RN in your state (RN).
Complete a Nursing Degree Program
An associate’s degree, which usually requires less time and money than other educational alternatives, is essential for registered nurses to have. However, RNs with a bachelor’s or higher degree have a better chance of landing a job and a higher earning potential.
That is why the majority of nurses have a bachelor’s degree. Through a standard four-year curriculum that includes liberal arts studies and clocks in at roughly 120 hours overall, students can obtain a bachelor of science in nursing.
A direct-entry program is an option for those who currently hold a non-nursing degree. Due to the fact that it does not involve any or many general education subjects, this program often lasts less.
For Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who aspire to get a BSN or Master of Science in Nursing, certain colleges offer “bridge” programs. In comparison to a conventional four-year degree program, these choices are also more concentrated and quicker.
Last but not least, some prospective RNs choose to enroll in a diploma program, often a three-year commitment run by a hospital. Today, there are very few diploma programs.
You will take classes in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, and psychology regardless of the path you take. In addition to the time you spend buried in a book, clinical courses will provide you with practical experience. The locations range from clinics and public health agencies to hospitals and nursing homes.
Apply to your State’s Nursing Board after Passing the Licensing Exam
Regardless of where you intend to practice, all registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). In general, you must demonstrate your ability to create and apply analyses using the nursing information you learned in school when taking the NCLEX, which contains eight core categories. Exam results are pass/fail.
There are several requirements for becoming a registered nurse in each state. It’s preferable to do the study while you’re still in school. Your instructors or the school counselor ought to be able to assist.
Determine if you want to Specialize in Nursing
Some nursing students are drawn to certain patient populations or job environments. These students might want to register for more specialized courses or complete their clinics in a setting that appeals to them.
The need for that kind of treatment from patients has led to an increase in the popularity for gerontology, midwifery, and orthopedics.
Another common specialty that you could be interested in is child care. Nurses who specialize in neonatology care for infants who may have difficulties from preterm delivery, genetic disorders, or acquired diseases. A BSN is often required for neonatal nursing, as well as a national certification from a body like the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the National Certification Corporation.
Pediatric nurses offer acute and preventative care for kids and teenagers everywhere. They could specialize in cancer, dermatology, gastrointestinal, or pediatric cardiology, with knowledge covering the entire ABP pediatrics board exam content. Additionally, they could focus on cancer, dermatology, gastroenterology, or pediatric cardiology. Those who are certified by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board may be able to earn greater income and have additional employment options. Pediatric nurses often hold a BSN.