1.Table of Contents. Steps to Becoming a Nurse. ...
2.No matter how the world evolves, it will always need nurses. ...
3.Steps to Becoming a Nurse. ...
4.Choose a Nursing Path. ...
5.Earn a Degree. ...
6.Get Licensed. ...
7.For the Career Changer: Accelerated BSNs. ...
8.Career Changes Within Nursing.
Steps to Becoming a Nurse
One of the first steps to becoming a nurse is getting a solid education, whether you hope to be an LPN, RN or administrator. Every state and the District of Columbia require students to graduate from an approved nursing program in order to become licensed.
Here's a step-by-step guide on what you need to do.
Choose a Nursing Path
Nursing can take you in many directions, from a staff nurse to a head nurse. Or, from working as a CNA to working your way up to nurse educator.
When choosing your career path, think about the type of work environment you prefer. For example, RNs can be found in hospitals, doctors' offices and other medical settings, but certified nursing assistants often work in nursing homes. What type of setting will inspire you most?
Because there are so many facets to health care, nurses often specialize in certain areas, such as geriatrics or critical care. If you have a passion for a certain type of nursing, consider the type of schooling you'll need to get there.
That brings us to the next step in becoming a nurse:
Earn a Degree
The career path you're interested in pursuing will typically dictate the type of nursing degree you need. Nursing programs include classroom instruction as well as clinical experience. The latter will allow you to gain hands-on knowledge, ask questions in real-life scenarios and connect with nurses. The experience will also give you the chance to observe how a medical facility runs.
Before choosing a program, determine how nursing school will fit in to your busy life. Will you have time to get to campus? Many nursing bachelor's and master's degrees can be earned online (with clinical requirements completed in your local community).
An associate's degree program takes less time to complete, allowing you to enter the workforce sooner. The downside? Employers may be more apt to hire a nurse with a bachelor's degree because they received a more in-depth education. However, plenty of nurses with ADNs go on to earn higher degrees with the help of tuition reimbursement from their employer.
The following list details the types of nursing degrees available:
•Nursing diplomas are offered at community colleges and vocational schools.
•Associate's degree in nursing (ADN) can be earned at community colleges.
•Bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) are available at colleges and university.
•Master's degree in nursing (MSN) are available at colleges and university.
•Doctoral degrees (DNP, ND, PhD, DNSc) are available at colleges and university.
Once you complete your education, you'll need to take an exam to demonstrate your knowledge and nursing skills. The exams, and the topics covered, differ based on career path.
To become a licensed certified nursing assistant (CNA), you'll need to pass a state competency exam.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
RNs are required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn licensure.
Nurse practitioners must pass a national certification exam administered by a professional organization, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Upon completing their education, nurse midwives should pass the exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
After you become a nurse…
•Continuing education: Nurses are required to complete continuing education courses, usually every two years. Check with your state nursing board for requirements.
•Earn an advanced degree: Earning a master's degree will qualify you for a career as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife and certified nurse anesthetist.
•Get certified: If you decide to specialize in a certain area of nursing, consider earning professional certification. This cements your commitment to the field and demonstrates your skill set to employers.
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