Classes You Need To Become A Nurse – How to become a Registered Nurse (RN) is often asked and it is a great career to get into! It can be a lot of hard work but it’s worth it in the end. I personally was an RN for 4 years and now I work with them every day as an ER Nurse Practitioner – so I thought I could give some insight into being an RN.
There are several different paths to becoming an RN, but I will describe the most common ways, as well as the less common paths.
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Registered nurses are nurses who have been trained to care for patients outside and in the hospital.
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When deciding how to become a Registered Nurse, one of the things you need to know is the type of program you want to attend.
There is no “one size fits all”, and that will become apparent when researching how to become a Registered Nurse.
To enter any RN program, you need a high school degree or its equivalent (GED).
However, there are specific prerequisites and application requirements or recommendations that nursing schools will look for in your transcript from high school.
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Nursing programs want to see certain classes you took in high school in order to be considered for their program.
Each program will be different, but check out some of the programs you are interested in online, and look for their “admissions” page, which can give you some insight into special recommendations for high school students.
Many programs require a minimum GPA as well as a certain SAT score – this will depend on the university and program.
To be a serious candidate, focus on doing your best in high school and getting the best GPA you can.
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This looks good for many nursing programs and can potentially offer you university credit, which can make your nursing program more manageable.
Working as a CNA, EMT, Medical clerk, or personal caregiver is a great option for a nursing program!
For nurses, this includes core science classes, as well as your basic “how to be a nurse” classes.
This also includes around 700 clinical hours within the hospital – learning how to become a bedside nurse.
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This is about half of how long the BSN takes. This allows nurses to enter the workforce more quickly.
If they still want a BSN or if the facility requires it, an RN-to-BSN bridge program is possible, usually entirely online, which can be completed in an additional 1-2 years of education.
Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is recommended and often required to do anything “beyond” bedside nursing.
Students will learn how to assess their patients, how to evaluate their patients, and how to best help manage their care.
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In addition, they must also be present clinically. Clinics are learning opportunities in a clinical environment, where student nurses can shadow and assist registered nurses in performing nursing duties.
The intention is to gain hands-on experience and learn first-hand how to become a nurse. By graduation, most programs require somewhere between 800-1000 clinical hours.
A “BSN” education for nurses involves all classes offered in the ADN program, in addition to:
Getting your BSN is definitely a good choice and will set you up for future endeavors and professional advancement.
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Even though you complete your program faster and can start working sooner as an ADN, you are less educated.
Many facilities require a BSN education, and some will hire you but offer money to help pay for the BSN portion, contractually requiring you to complete it.
Some facilities will pay their RNs the same regardless, but many offer incentives for advanced education as well as certifications. So you can make a few dollars more per hour as a BSN vs ADN.
In addition, you can earn a higher hourly rate by obtaining a specialized certification such as a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) or a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), if that is the specialty you work in.
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Overall, there is a big push for BSN-prepared nurses, and there is some evidence to back this up, with improved patient outcomes being linked to increased nursing education.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about this because it’s largely been written off, but RN Diploma programs were once a common way to get your nursing education.
Once you have all the prerequisites listed above and know which program you want to attend, you can start applying to the program!
Difficulty in admission will depend on your application as well as how competitive the RN program is.
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If unable to obtain immediately, some students choose to attend the university of choice as an “undeclared” major, taking essential classes in the RN curriculum, then hoping to be accepted into the program as a transfer when they have proven to do so. well
After completing your RN program, you must take a competency exam to prove your knowledge as a Registered Nurse.
This test is called NCLEX-RN, and you will spend a large part of your education preparing for this test.
Every state board of nursing uses this test as the basis for whether you deserve your RN license in their state.
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Once you pass (and hopefully within 75 questions), you will be considered “worthy” of the RN title after your name, once your state license has passed.
Once you apply for a state license by exam, you can apply for a state license by endorsement for other states.
Or better yet, if your state is part of the compact RN licensure state, then your license is good for all of those states!
Once you’re licensed, you can get a job as a registered nurse and finally start using the knowledge you’ve acquired to positively impact your patients’ lives and your bank account!
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Finding a nursing job can be difficult at times, but if you’re willing to be flexible – there are plenty of nursing opportunities out there!
I want to talk a little bit about some of the alternative options when trying to decide how to become a registered nurse.
As always, one size does not fit all and some of these other options may be just right for you!
If you already have a Bachelor’s degree in another program (ie business, math education, Biology), there are programs designed to accelerate your education to become an RN.
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This is partly due to many prerequisites being completed (Gen eds), but also as an intensive program designed for students who just want to “catch up” and become nurses ASAP.
These programs often have science prerequisites, are highly involved, require maximum effort, rarely take “breaks”, and can be completed in as little as 16 months!
If you are already a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), participating in an LPN-to-RN bridge program is a great option to become an RN.
LPN-to-ADN programs can be completed faster in 1-2 years, and LPN-to-BSN programs in 2-4 years.
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So there you have it. If you’re wondering what it’s like to become a registered nurse, hopefully this article will give you some insight.
How did you become an RN, and would you recommend something different? Let us know in the comments below! is an ad-supported site. Featured or trusted partner program with all school search results, finders or matches for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not affect our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorial-independent information published on this site.
Have you ever considered a career in nursing but felt intimidated by the complex relationship between education, training, and certification in the field? We are here to help.
Prospective nurses can use this guide to research the different levels, roles, and specialties available to nurses, as well as education and training requirements.
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For a healthcare facility to run properly, each level of nurse must handle different patient care responsibilities. Nurses begin their careers by obtaining a nursing diploma and performing basic care tasks for patients, which allows them to accumulate clinical experience. Responsibilities may include designing and implementing care plans, administering medications, and recording vital signs. Nursing roles at entry level include nursing assistants or practical/vocational nurses.
Eventually, after gaining hundreds of hours of clinical experience and an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, they can work as a registered nurse (RN). Many RNs go on to gain more experience, and a master’s degree, and become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
Once nurses reach the highest level, they can pursue specialized roles in the nursing field or continue their education to pursue careers in education, administration, or policy advocacy.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are not nurses. Rather, they are professionals who assist nurses by providing basic care to patients, such as moving beds, feeding, and dressing.
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CNA certification does not require a college degree. Instead, aspiring CNAs must complete a 3-8 week CNA program, which includes 75 hours of clinical experience. Candidates then apply with their state board to take the CNA exam and obtain certification.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), have more high-level caregiving responsibilities than CNAs, such as administering medication and taking patients’ vital signs. they
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