Learn How to Become a Registered Nurse to Have a Career in Nursing
The healthcare industry in the US is growing rapidly, creating an urgent demand for health professionals. At present, registered nurses (RNs) are high in demand because of the advancement of new technology, retiring current nurses, aging population, etc. When considering these issues together with the fulfilment that comes with helping out other people, the plus side of being a nurse has never been better. This article can help aspirants learn how to become a Registered Nurse, know the essential skills to succeed, and understand what it is like to be a nurse.
Career Basics of Registered Nurses
More than 2.7 million registered nurses are currently employed in the US, as per Bureau of Labor Statistics, and about 60% of them work in hospitals. There are also RNs in home health care centers, clinics, long-term acute-care facilities, schools, military, rehabilitation centers, governmental organizations, and private companies. The demand for RNs is expected to keep on growing fast.
The responsibilities of registered nurses vary depending on where they are employed, but often include assisting doctors in medical procedures, taking care of patients, heading public health education campaigns, and providing assistance to family members. Nurses could have medical specialization like emergency care, pediatric, surgical, neonatal, or geriatric.
Registered nurses have shifting schedules around the clock, which could be permanent or rotating Emergency hours and overtime can also vary. Aside from passing the NCLEX-RN, they need to complete continuing education to retain licensure. For people with associate degree or nursing diploma, going back to school to obtain a bachelor or master’s degree would allow them shift to health care administration or advanced nursing practices.
Steps to Become a Registered Nurse
- Accomplish an accredited nursing program
To become a registered nurse, aspirants should complete an accredited course. The options available include bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or nursing diplomas.
Normally, an associate degree in nursing would take two years to accomplish, but accelerated programs could cut this timeframe. For a bachelor’s degree, it would take two years for students in an associate-to-bachelor’s course, or full-time study of four years. There is also an expedited option to enroll in a school that has a “second degree” course for people who already has a bachelor’s degree in another field. They may also opt to accomplish a bachelor’s course of four years at the onset of their education so they can move into advanced nursing, teaching, nursing consulting, research roles, or administration.
Along with their nursing coursework, a bachelor’s degree program would require students to accomplish general education lessons. A lot of the same subjects being discussed in the associate level are also taught in a bachelor’s degree, but a four-year course would offer a more thorough set of skills and knowledge. Many employers require newly-hired registered nurses to have a bachelor’s degree as the field of nursing continues to be more competitive.
- Pass the NCLEX-RN Exams
Nursing courses must be beneficial for students to do well and pass the NCLEX-RN test. To qualify for the examination, aspirants must sign up with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing after their graduation. When it is time to register for the exams, aspirants will get a notification for an Authorization to Test.
On average, the computerized examination has 119 questions and should be finished within six hours. Around 70 to 75% is the NCLEX-RN national average passing rate. Those who fail the exams should wait a minimum of 45 days before re-taking the test.
- Acquire a State License
All US states and territories, including District of Columbia, require registered nurses in employment to hold proper licensure. Regulations are different according to state, so to know if there are additional requirements, students can get in touch with their nursing state board.
- Be Employed as a Registered Nurse
As mentioned, RNs are high in demand, so fresh graduates from nursing courses often have several options on where to work. Aspiring RNs must keep in mind that a big part of being a registered nurse is acquired through actual experience.
- Take Up Additional Education or Training
Registered nurses can take up a master’s degree if they want to be part of advanced nursing practice and have specialized knowledge and skills. Upon finishing this education, they could apply for duties as certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse specialists.
For those who would like to go further, they may opt to enroll in a doctorate course. PhD or DNP courses are appealing to people who aspire to be university professors or scientific researchers in the field of nursing sciences. Registered nurses can also pursue further certifications in fields like nursing management, acute care, or critical care.
Highly successful RNs have a wide range of administrative and medical skills. Since nurses are often assigned in emergency cases that require quick decisions, critical thinking is essential. Communication also has an important part when creating the right diagnosis and passing on treatment plans to other healthcare workers. Being careful can mean either life for death. For instance, failing to hear lung sounds with a stethoscope or on the record of the patient might mean giving an improper dose of medication.
Apart from passing the NCLEX-RN test, there are several other certifications RNs could hold. Many certification courses are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, including:
- Ambulatory Care Nursing
- Pediatric Nursing
- Cardiac-Vascular Nursing
- Neonatal Pediatric Transport
- Gerontological Nursing
- Nurse Executive
- International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
- Advanced Public Health Nursing
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Most certifications should be renewed after a certain time, normally every few years, depending on the organization and certification.
Technology and Tools
There is a wide range of technologies and tools available to registered nurses throughout their work. Some of the most common are:
- Lancets and syringes
- Pulse oximeter
- Medical suction equipment
- Automated IV pumps
There is a growing need for registered nurses, with a 19% increase between 2012 and 2022. The bigger demand for RNs would come from long-term care and outpatient centers.