Steps to Becoming a Nurse

Nursing is a high-demand field in the healthcare sector, and their demand is only expected to increase. Nurses not only receive an attractive salary, but they play a crucial role in patient care. These are the individuals who educate patients and coordinate their care with doctors. Furthermore, they commonly provide emotional support after devastating news or procedures. Anyone with a passion to serve others can become a nurse after completing a few simple steps.

Steps to Become a Nurse
Once you have decided to become a nurse, you first need to research program options to decide what will be the best fit for you and your nursing goals. You should select a program that at least has state accreditation. However, if you plan to pursue any degree higher than a BSN, you should consider programs with state and national accreditation.

The second step to becoming a nurse is enrollment in the program that aligns with your goals the best. Applicants to nursing school must first take the TEAS entrance exam. This four-hour exam assesses your knowledge in reading, math, science and English.

You selected and enrolled in a program, so now your work truly begins. Your nursing coursework will educate you in subjects such as chemistry, biology, anatomy, nutrition and more. Clinical training is another crucial part of your nursing education. Each student rotates through various areas of nursing to gain hands-on experience while simultaneously learning real-life skills. You can think about your specialty in the meantime, but you do not have to make any final decisions until after graduation.

Graduation marks a milestone in your journey because it means only one thing stands between you and your dream career: licensure. All nursing graduates must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed nurse. Only examinees who pass the exam are allowed to practice nursing. Whether you have an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you can sit for the examination.

After passing the NCLEX, you only need to find a job. The good news is nursing jobs are projected to grow 15% from 2016-2026. You can specialize as either a BSN nurse or ADN nurse. ADN nurses, however, may be limited to non-hospital settings.

Educational Pathway Options
One route to obtain a career in nursing is to get an undergraduate diploma. Nurses obtain their diploma through hospital-based schools of nursing. Alternatively, the ADN permits aspiring nurses to gain employment in an entry-level position. ADN nurses can quickly become an RN in only two to three years. Students for the ADN take courses from hospital-based nursing schools and community colleges.

The BSN nursing option requires four years to complete in a college or university setting. For those who just cannot wait, fast-paced RN-to-BSN programs exist to shorten the span to only two to three years. Other individuals who can merit from an accelerated program are people with a non-nursing bachelor degree. They can complete the nursing requirements within only one and a half years. A BSN degree affords more opportunities to nurses because you can work in any healthcare setting.

BSN holders can further their education with a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN). THe MSN degree elevates practitioners to an Advanced Practice Nurse, nurse administrator or nurse educator.

Nurses interested in research should pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing. They will be able to become a teacher or researcher.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice accolade focuses on leadership roles and clinical practice.

Online Degrees
Maybe work or your family prevents you from attending nursing school in a traditional setting. Your dreams can still come true because there are many RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN options online. You can complete these degrees entirely online. However, you usually must have a high GPA and healthcare experience for admittance. These 30 cheapest online RN to BSN Programs offer options for everyone.

Options likewise exist to pursue a BSN or ADN online either fully or partially. Whether studying for the BSN or ADN degree, students have to gain clinical experiences. Distance learners usually gain clinical exposure in their local community.

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