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What are all the steps in becoming a registered nurse?

Hello! I am a rising junior in high school, and I am very interested in nursing. However, I am not sure how to get there. Do I apply to nursing school straight from high school, or do I go to any college and receive my BSN, THEN go to nursing school to become a RN? How about my master's degree, and what do I major in? nursing nurse registered-nurses medicine college

Hello Athena , I am a Registered Nurse :) So, first -Finish High school (obtain high school diploma) -Apply & get accepted to a college (MAINTAIN A 3.5 or higher GPA if Possible) -Take basic prerequisite courses- specifically nursing major/pre-nursing prerequisites (If you are doing a BSN- Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, then the prerequisites take 2 years) (If you are doing ADN-Associates Degree in Nursing , then the prerequisites take about 1 year) *** I would HIGHLY recommend attending/obtaining a BSN program , MUCH more job opportunities**** Amber A.
-about 6 months before you're done with prerequisites, start to research the nursing program, program requirements, application forms, due dates, etc, ** always be ahead of the dates, not on time; AHEAD** Then, finish your prerequisites, apply & get accepted to the nursing program, then start the nursing program :) The BSN program is 2 years, including summers. The ADN program is 5 semesters in my town, it may vary depending on the school. Amber A.
**During the entire program, purchase an NCLEX study book to use each semester; do TONS of practice questions, I promise this will prepare you significantly** Complete your program, and graduate with a degree (either ADN, or BSN) , now buckle down and study even more for the NCLEX. -Schedule the NCLEX Exam, keep studying , then take the exam at a local testing center. -Pass the NCLEX exam, now you have your RN - Registered Nurse title. :) You can possibly work as a graduate nurse for a few months, before the NCLEX, but more than likely you must pass the exam, and become an RN before the job. Keep your nursing school textbooks. Each patient you have, go home after your shift and read about their disease. Hope this helps. :) Amber A.
Thank you for your response, Amber! It was very helpful :) Athena R.
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Geetika’s Answer

Hi Athena!

I was in the pre-nursing track in my school but decided to change my major as the medical model of human physiology interested me more, so I went into research instead. But, there are a lot of ways to get an RN. First, you have to decide if you would rather want a BSN in Nursing (salary does increase with a BSN, RN) or an RN title which you can bridge the gap from LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse) to RN program.

If you choose to go the traditional route of getting a BSN, you will have to attend a college/university with a pre-nursing track as their major! There will be 2 years of prerequisites you would have to complete along with shadowing, volunteering, and connecting with your college advisor to make sure you are on the right track. After you have finished your two years of nursing prereqs, you will have to apply to the schools of nursing across the country. For example, University of Michigan School of Nursing, has a specific school just for nursing that you can finish your BSN, and get your RN after you pass the NCLEX! This route is sought primarily after high school for students who know that they want to go into the nursing field.

However, if you are not sure if nursing is the right major for you, I would recommend you go the LPN - RN bridge route, and later invest into a BSN if that is something you are still interested in! There are vocational schools for LPN as the average length is 13 months and passing the NCLEX exam. After working in the field, if you still want to pursue nursing as a full-time career, there are many schools that will help you get your RN certificate, there is also the option of doing the BSN along with it too.

While you're still in high school and exploring different career options, you should think of becoming a certified nursing assistant or a patient care tech! For these positions, you will have to complete some kind of trade/certificate program and taking a state exam! However, these options are awesome just for getting your toes yet while young, so you know what to invest in and to possibly build more interest. These sectors are always hiring CNAs and PCTs as they assist the nurse and residents/patients with their activities of daily living and it is very hands-on! You can also work in a hospital, nursing home, clinics, or home health settings. Currently, I am a CNA at a rehabilitation center and love my job! It gives me a chance to communicate my medical knowledge with the nursing staff along with caring for people to get better.

Whichever route you pick or decide, I hope you aspire to be a great nurse and become a hero that we need! Good Luck!

Thank you for your response! Athena R.
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John’s Answer

Athena registered nurses, also known as RNs, are responsible for almost all of the patient care not directly provided by a physician. RNs administer treatment and medication, perform diagnostic tests, operate medical equipment, provide follow-up care, and perform many other patient care-related duties.


Registered nurses are also responsible for delegating tasks to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). They may work at hospitals, physicians' offices, government branches, correctional facilities, schools, and nursing care facilities. RNs may need to be on call and cover night and weekend shifts. Registered nurse degree programs range from diploma to associate's degree to bachelor's degree options. Additionally, RNs should have supervised clinical experience. Licensing is required in all states. Aspiring registered nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN, and voluntary specialty certifications are also available. Nurses should have good communication, organizational, and critical thinking skills. They should also be patient and emotionally stable and have strong attention to detail. Familiarity with medical and workforce timekeeping software as well as Microsoft Excel is also helpful.

Acquiring a high school diploma or its equivalent is an essential first step to becoming a registered nurse. As an aspiring registered nurse Athena you should be taking courses in chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Since nurses also need effective speaking and communication skills, you should also develop these attributes and take courses that may help develop these skills as well.

Education requirements are directly related to the type of nursing a person will pursue. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), perform basic patient care and some administrative tasks under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. Registered nurses are qualified to provide a greater range of patient care and may even focus on a specialty area, such as nephrology, cardiology or neonatology.

With a career path in mind, students can choose an appropriate nursing program. LPNs complete an approximately 12-month program. These programs are available through community and technical colleges that meet state requirements. Aspiring RNs can earn a 2-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at an accredited university or college. Most nursing education programs combine classroom teaching with labs and hands-on clinical experiences in a healthcare environment. Courses in nursing, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and psychology are commonly found in nursing education programs.

In addition to classroom instruction, nursing programs include supervised clinical training. Some programs may also offer simulated lab training, which are classes held in real-world medical environments. Nursing students also receive clinical training in hospital departments, public health departments, home health agencies, nursing care facilities, and medical clinics.

All states require nurses to obtain licensure before starting a job, though specifics vary for each state. Students who have completed a state-approved nursing program must pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for either practical nurses or registered nurses. Some states and hospitals may also require continued education to maintain your license.

Nursing isn’t an easy career Athena. Difficult patients, 12-hour shifts, and work that demands every bit of your mental, emotional, and physical focus requires a special — and resilient — kind of person. The schedule and responsibilities of nursing school can be even more difficult. It can’t be a career choice you make on a whim. Most feel a calling to become a nurse.

John recommends the following next steps:

Become a HOSA Member – Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) provides an opportunity for future health leaders -- including nurses -- to take advantage of professional and academic resources while still in high school.
Stay Up To Date – Reading publications such as the American Journal of Nursing or Science Daily can help learners stay aware of current trends and issues in the field of nursing. Following these publications also provides insight into some of the challenges facing the profession in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Learn CPR/First Aid – First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills come in handy for a variety of professionals, including students who aspire to become nurses. Weekend training courses can help familiarize learners with basic skills and help boost college applications.
Volunteer – Spending a couple of hours each weekend at a hospital, assisted living facility, or in another healthcare setting can help students learn more about the profession and understand whether it offers a good fit for their personal and professional needs. Volunteer work hours also look great on a college application.
Check Out NCLEX Pass Rates – NCLEX pass rates are one of the best and easiest ways to determine whether a postsecondary nurse training program actually prepares students for the rigors of the working world. Avoid schools with low pass rates, as this means learners did not gain the skills needed to meet basic competency requirements.
Thank You Geetika. Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. John Frick
Thank you for your helpful response! Athena R.
Your Welcome Athena, It was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” John Frick
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Tequila’s Answer

Given the fact that you're a rising junior, you have time to prepare yourself. Ensure you have basic arithmetic, then the concepts of algebra. The rest of the math is good to know but really we only use algebraic concepts. Test yourself with the sciences, biology, chemistry, and even physics. This will help acclimate you to the sciences used in nursing school and the prerequisites before nursing school. Reading comprehension in the sense of being able to take complex idea and tell someone in basic terms; we do that a lot with patient teaching. Building self confidence. You have your colleagues to assist but you will be an relatively independent practitioner in so many situations. Establish the ability to speak well in front of people, especially to get those complex medical subject across to someone who may not have a clue as to what you're talking about. I would also advise you to work with people... of course be very careful about social distancing and wearing a mask given the COVID climate.

That was preparatory things to do now. Once in college, follow the college's curriculum, courses, and study. Sound simple, but college offers a lot of distractions.

Check to see if there is high school medical career preparatory program in your school. Nice to hear and learn medical acronyms, procedures, technologies, and health care organizational structures.

You're have to basically take many of the same classes other students will take to prepare for medical professions. So while in those classes network, ask them questions just like you're asking now. Although I want more nurses to following me, you may find there is another career field in health care you want to pursue. We basically all take the same courses with the exception of math during the 1st 2 years of college; potential doctors take more math and I think they have to take college physics.

Once you graduate, then you take the qualifying examination, NCLEX. Best part about going to college now, it that the learning tools seem endless. YOUTUBE, GOOGLE, and a lot of documents like MEDSCAPE are on line. So research, homework, and tests preparation has gotten less time consuming.

While in school, you might want to take a job as a nurse extern. Basically a nursing assistant studying to become a RN. It puts you around the people, language, patient care environment, etc. Helps you to become more comfortable in patient care facilities. Also helps you build your resume. And, because you're a student, most managers are understandable when you need to adjust your schedule.

In closing, if you find you like this field, then you should always be able to find employment wherever you go.
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Donna’s Answer

Another good research tip would be to talk directly to your very own doctor and ask about their experiences. Why they chose this profession and what advise they would give an aspiring student. As someone mentioned earlier volunteering at a hospital would also give you some hands on insight as to the environment and may even expose you to areas of study you hadn't even thought of.

Donna recommends the following next steps:

Talk you your own Doctor
Visit the reception desk at your local hospital to inquire on volunteering opportunities
Do more online research of your own
Continue to talk to various people in the profession