Perhaps you have dreamed of becoming a nurse. Now more then ever, more nurses are needed. Do you enjoy providing medical care, education and emotional support to patients? Then becoming a register nurse may just be the career for you.
You’ll need to have a high school diploma or GED and have passed a college entrance exam (SAT/ACT). The high school diploma and entrance exam will allow you to apply to a college. Hopefully, you took some science courses such as biology, physiology or chemistry in high school as this will help you with the same courses in college only they will be taught at a higher level.
There are several educational pathways you can take to become a registered nurse. However, all pathways will include biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology and nutrition.
Get a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) which general takes 4 years to finish. This type of program tends to offer more coursework in the social sciences as opposed to nursing programs. So, expect to see coursework like sociology, communications, leadership as well as critical thinking.
You can go for an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN) if that suits you. This is a two year program that allows student to continue on to a BSN program. If you’re afraid to commit to a 4 year program, this may be the path for you. Simply take one step at a time. Psychologically, a 2 year program may seem like something that you can achieve but 4 years seems so remote.
There’s another way to go and that is by getting a diploma from an accredited nursing program and this is usually found in a vocational school. These programs allow you to be eligible for licensure. The program time courses vary depending on the vocational school. See what’s available in your area. Look at the time and cost effectiveness of each pathway and determine what is best for you.
Once you pass one of the three pathways above, you can take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse Exam (NCLEX-RN). It is very important to practice taking this exam before you take it. If a course is offered in NCLEX-RN locally, it’s a good idea to take it to ensure your success. You know, some people just don’t test well but still know the material well. Nevertheless, you need to pass this to be licensed.
Once you are licensed, you can seek positions as a registered nurse. Congratulations. There are so many areas that you can secure a position including, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, nursing homes etc. As a nurse, you’ll be working with doctors, staff members and doctors.
You’ll need to keep up with new advances in nursing and medicine by reading appropriate medical journals, keep up with changes in policies as well as take continuing education. Advances in medicine occur so rapidly that you really need to keep up.
There is still room for advancement in your position. Consider becoming a nurse practitioner. Being a registered nurse can be a prelude to nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner has the ability to diagnose, prescribe medications and treat acute conditions. This position requires a master’s degree in nursing and you must pass a national exam. In fact, in order to become a nurse practitioner, you must be a registered nurse first.
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Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.