Do you want to be a registered nurse? The following article provides a step-wise guide on the prerequisites for this profession.
With the annual salary ranging anywhere from $46,000 to $67,000, and almost all job market researches predicting a boom in this field in the coming decade, this is the right time to become a registered nurse. Although, the kind of work such professionals do varies according to the place and organization they are employed at, but the basic job remains the same i.e., maintaining the medical records of patients, checking their daily progress, providing emotional support to them and their families, performing various kinds of diagnostic tests on them, administering treatments suggested by doctors, and finally educating the patient and his family on the disease, its symptoms, and various treatment options.
If you ask me, the most important prerequisite for nursing is a natural caring attitude towards people, presence of mind, and ability to take quick decisions.
For becoming a registered nurse, the preparation should start from the school level itself. You should obtain a good grade point average in high school. You should also make it a point to attend classes and gain as much knowledge as you can in subjects which will help you later in the profession such as science, biology, language (written and reading), social studies, and mathematics.
The next step involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN) or an associate degree (Associate Degree in Nursing or ADN). Usually, getting admission for a bachelor’s degree course can be a bit tough, that’s why many aspiring nursing candidates opt to obtain the associate degree. If you too plan to do the same, the associate degree can later help you to get admission in the bachelor’s program. Both these degrees educate and train the candidates, with classroom theoretical education as well as practical training in clinics and hospitals, for a career in the nursing profession. The subjects taught during these courses would include psychiatric nursing, biology, psychology, nutrition, anatomy, organic chemistry, amongst many others.
ADN takes two to three years while BSN takes four years. The BSN degree, besides preparing you for providing care in various settings, teaches administrative and leadership skills as well, both of which are much-needed for moving onto higher positions in hospitals. That explains the registered nurse education requirements.
Ideally, choose a nursing school with a good reputation as it will help you with better placements later on. Search the Internet thoroughly and check the requirements of getting into the same. Many nursing schools look for candidates who score high in ACT or SAT scores. Some require you to have passed the “National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Exam”. One tip here – apply to a number of colleges as it will increase your chances of getting into a nursing school.
The last of the prerequisites is to obtain the licensure for practicing. For this, you need to take up and pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). Here, a sound advice is to take up the exam as soon as you graduate, as going by the statistics, fresh graduates who take up this test are much more successful than those who have a gap in between their completion of graduation and taking up this exam.
Besides this, you need to obtain a license from the state nursing board as well. For this, you must meet the educational qualifications, pass a criminal background check, and should have cleared the NCLEX. The license, when it is finally obtained, has to be renewed periodically. This means that you would be continuing with your education as long as you remain in this career.
These are the basic requisites to enter this noble and highly lucrative career. If in addition to this, you obtain a master’s degree, or have additional specializations such as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, or a nurse anesthetist, your job and salary prospects will increase manifold. As is true with all other professions, the more prepared you are to work, the more successful you can be in this field.