HOW TO BECOME A REGISTERED NURSE

Follow these tips for becoming a registered nurse.Are you thinking about becoming a registered nurse? It’s a smart career move if you want to work in health care – employment for RNs is expected to grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is 12 percent faster than average. Registered nurses are primarily responsible for providing and coordinating quality patient care, and may work in hospitals, doctor’s offices or nursing care facilities.1 Think you were born to be an RN? Take these steps to begin this exciting career.

Complete a registered nursing program
To become an RN, the first thing that you’ll need to do is enroll in a registered nursing program and earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree.2 The program you choose should include classroom instruction in addition to practical training.3

Get licensed
After completing a registered nursing program, the next step toward becoming an RN is obtaining your license. All states have a board of nursing that is tasked with keeping the public from harm, which is why it is important that you become licensed.4 This can be accomplished in graduating from an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination.5 The exam is pretty detailed and will cover all manner of topics that are necessary to be a successful RN, so study hard! When you register, be sure to submit an application for licensure to the board of nursing where you wish to be licensed.6

Consider certification
To improve your employability as an RN, you can also become certified in a number of specialties including pediatrics and ambulatory care. Certification is obtained through professional organizations. While you likely won’t need to become certified in order to score your first entry-level nursing position, certifications are vital if you want to advance in the field.7

Brush up on your skills
While registered nursing programs will teach you important technical skills that you need to be an RN, you’ll want to make sure you possess the other qualities that lead to a successful career in nursing. Working directly with patients requires compassion and patience. It’s also important that you develop critical thinking skills so you are able to confront any situation that’s thrown at you with confidence.8

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Registered Nurses,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm
2 American Nurses Association, ‘How to Become a Nurse,’ 2013 – http://nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing/Tools-You-Need/RegisteredNurseLicensing.html
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Registered Nurses,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm
4 American Nurses Association, ‘How to Become a Nurse,’ 2013 – http://nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing/Tools-You-Need/RegisteredNurseLicensing.html
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Registered Nurses,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm
6 National Council of State Boards of Nursing, ‘NCLEX Exmainations,’ 2013 – https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm
7 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Registered Nurses,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm
8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Registered Nurses,’ March 29, 2012 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm

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