Becoming a registered nurse requires much more than just a desire to help others. However that’s a good start. If you are thinking of a career as an RN, this article is for you.
Perhaps you been considering a medical career for some time and are now beginning to research different avenues. Ideally, you should have planned your education, ensuring your high school studies included appropriate science courses such as biology and chemistry. These subjects are an important first step in becoming a registered nurse. You also need good grades and should complete secondary school education.
Before you think of becoming an RN, consider how much time you are willing to spend on education. Also, do you have the tuition fees required for an RN course? Finally, decide how far you wish to advance in your career. These are the factors that will determine whether a career as an RN is right for you.
Overview of Registered Nurse Education
There are different registered nurse education requirements. If 2 to 3 years is suitable for your situation, you could choose a 3-year diploma course administered within a hospital. However, there are only few of these offered.
The more common options are programs offered through junior or community colleges. These are the 2 to 3 years Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program.
Both of these programs will equip you with the skills necessary for entry-level positions into nursing. However, the programs are limited when it comes to advancement.
BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs are offered in colleges and universities. The programs take 4 years to complete and offer you RN entry-level positions into nursing. You will also have the added benefit of advancement opportunities for a higher registered nurse salary.
BSN is normally required for any administrative, teaching, research or consulting positions. The program includes more training in communication, leadership and critical thinking and is often a stepping-stone for higher education into an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) program. The typical MSN program takes 2 more years.
APNs or Advanced Practise Nurses often deliver health care services previously done by family doctors e.g. ordering certain meds and delivering babies. Once you have successfully completed any of these programs, you have to pass the national licensing examination before you can become a registered nurse.
All nursing programs include both classroom and clinical experience. Classroom work will include studies in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, psychology and behavioral sciences, and nutrition. Therefore, it is vital that you have previous education to enable a basic understanding initially.
Clinical experience may be achieved in many settings such as hospitals, home health agencies or public health departments and may include pediatrics, maternity, psychiatry or surgery. The experience often involves learning how to use a fetal stethoscope.
Many people who become RNs through any of the first 3 programs often go on to advance their education through part time studies or online education. There are many colleges and universities that allow you to study part time while earning your degrees.
With this option, you do not only get employed while you work towards your degree, but starting with a basic education also allows you to test your abilities and decide whether you want to be a nurse before investing a lot of time and money.
You can also work k in many different areas of nursing while getting to see first hand what nursing is all about. This will help you determine the right specialized field to further your education.
Becoming a registered nurse requires dedication and commitment to not only yourself and your career, but to the health industry, patients or clients. It’s not an easy job, but it can be a very successful and rewarding career if you let it be.