These days a lot of aspiring students take up nursing due to the increasing demand for health care workforce and the greener pasture this career path is about to offer. Among the nursing service team, a registered nurse is one of the most respectable and knowledge-equipped personnel that provides quality and safe nursing care. Like any other profession, becoming an R.N. requires a step-by-step procedure on how to obtain a license to practice nursing.
Initially, every nurse trainee must secure the proper educational course to take in order to become a registered nurse. A number of nursing courses and degrees are available that can be pursued in relation to licensure as a registered nurse.
There are three most common ways to become a RN. The most typical path is taking up an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in which it only requires the student to attend a two-year program at a junior or community college. Having a diploma program is the second choice which lasts for about three years and is available through hospitals. Lastly, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, like any other degree programs, requires four school years to finish and is granted by a university or college.
The first two years of the BSN program focus on human anatomy and physiology, psychology, microbiology, nutrition, organic chemistry and human growth and development. The final two years concentrate on medical and surgical, pediatric, maternal and child, community and psychiatric nursing.
RNs who have completed a BSN degree are considered under the professional level while ADN-skilled RNs are categorized under the technical level. Thus, RNs who are BSN degree holder have more employment opportunities than RNs who had ADN or diploma courses. Currently, a lot of nurses practice the BSN completion program where they start in the ADN program then accelerate into a BSN degree course. Through this process, transition from ADN to BSN is faster than undergoing the conventional program.
After graduation from any of the three common nursing education programs, an examination for licensure must be passed before start of actual nursing practice. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing conducts the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Through the NCLEX-RN, nursing knowledge, competency and understanding are tested.
All 50 states in the United States applies NCLEX-RN. Requirements for maintaining the license varies from one state to another and requires renewal through continuing education. Every state has a board of nursing which imposes rules and regulations for the safe and quality practice of nursing throughout the entire United States.
After getting hold of the title and license, RNs have other specialized paths of education for further expertise and knowledge. First, a Master’s Degree allows RNs to become nurse educators, nurse administrators and advanced practice nurses.
If anyone is inclined in performing research studies, a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is most suitable. A more advanced level of Master’s Degree of Nursing, called Doctor of Nursing Practice, concentrate on the roles of responsibilities of a nurse in leadership and clinical practice.
You can read more about transitioning from a CNA to a nurse on this page.