October 31st, 2011 | The Blog
Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) is an exciting health care career that exposes you to a range of medical conditions, practices, and health care techniques. Becoming an RN is both a challenging and rewarding endeavor, with many opportunities for leadership positions and career development.
There are several different educational paths to take in order to become an RN, all of which are offered at nursing institutions throughout the United States. The most common degrees are the Associate’s degree in nursing (takes about 2-3 years to complete) and the Bachelor’s degree program (4 years to complete).
Each program provides a solid educational background to help jump start your nursing career. You can also obtain a nursing diploma from a specially approved nursing program, which takes anywhere from 3-5 years.
Once you have completed your initial nursing degree, to obtain an RN license you must complete a national nursing licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN. Generally, all three ways of becoming an RN qualify you for entry-level positions; however, the better your educational background the better your chances of advancement in the field.
A Bachelor’s degree in nursing will help qualify you for a wider scope of nursing practice. Specialization and additional education can also help prepare you for more complex medical fields while creating more advancement opportunities as an RN.
In addition to completing courses in general nursing ideology, nursing students take courses in anatomy, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, nutrition, and psychology. Unlike medical school, nursing school takes a more holistic approach to medicine.
For this reason, nurses are trained not only to treat patients’ symptoms but to assess emotional conditions and provide psychological support for patients. RNs also help promote general health by educating the public about medical symptoms and conditions and how to recognize early warning signs of various diseases.
All nursing programs include both classroom instruction and clinical experience within hospitals and other medical facilities. Additionally, each RN training program has a unique vision and emphasis of nursing education. It is therefore most beneficial to find a program with a mission statement that matches your own values and career goals.
As the demand for RNs increases nationwide, the job outlook for RNs is very positive. Registered nurses can be found working in hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing care facilities, and other medical care service institutions. In the next few years the demand for RNs is expected to continue as one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States.