How to Qualify as a Nurse
According to American Nurses Association, there are four million registered nurses in the U.S. Sixty percent work in hospital. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the nation requires to register new RNs by 1.1million. That the nursing shortage in the U.S. continues to worsen is no longer news. There has never been a better time to become a registered nurse, and things are getting better. Small wonder you’ve decided to become a registered nurse. But how does one become a registered nurse? This post explains how you can launch your nursing career the soonest possible.
Prior to COVID-19 pandemic the United States was already experiencing a severe shortage of nurses due to aging baby boom population. COVID-19 has worsened the shortage as many nurses quit profession due to occupational stress and pressure. The World Health Organization is painting a gloomy picture as they estimate the world needs to raise nurses workforce by 6million to meet demand. Similar sentiments are echoed by Linkedln that has places RNs as among top ten in demand jobs in 2021.
Requirements Vary Across Countries
The requirements you have to meet to become a registered nurse aren’t exactly the same in every country. Even within the same country, say the U.S., requirements may be slightly different in different states. Requirements also vary with the practice level at which you wish to enter the profession.
This post will focus on how people become registered nurses in the U.S. To become a registered nurse in the U.S., you have to meet two types of requirements. First, you have to meet all the educational requirements. Second, you have to meet licensure requirements.
The Nursing Journey
In most states, the nursing journey begins when the interested person enrolls in a nursing degree. You can study one of two degrees namely the ASN or BSN. ASN stands for Associate Degree in Nursing while BSN means Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
It’s pretty easy to enter the nursing world with either of these two educational qualifications. But employers increasingly prefer to hire BSN to ASN degree holders.
The ASN degree is a two-year program while the BSN degree is, for the most part, a 4-year program. You MUST ensure that the nursing school you attend is accredited.
Writing Lots of Nursing Assignments
For the better part of the first year in nursing school, you’ll mostly do regular college courses. But in your sophomore year, you’ll jump into nursing proper.
In nursing school, everyone studies seriously. And there are tons of papers and assignments to complete all the time. One week you’re writing a nursing essay. Next week you’re writing a nursing case study or preparing a nursing care plan. In the week that follows, it’s a lab report or some other nursing report.
Also, there’s always a nursing term paper to handle at the end of every semester. And of course, no one graduates college before completing their BSN nursing capstone project. You are required to score highly in all these nursing assignment writings.
Clinicals have always been there in nursing school. They are basically the practical side of nursing. Clinicals involve visiting healthcare facilities to learn how to apply the skills and knowledge you’ve been accumulating. Working alongside a real nurse (a preceptor), you’ll get exposed to the finer details of nursing in real-life situations.
Typically, clinicals start in year two of college — in semester 1 or 2 of nursing school. Nursing school probably doesn’t want students to start their clinicals before they’ve covered the foundations of nursing.
Most student nurses enjoy clinicals, especially if they have a supportive preceptor. The clinicals are a great opportunity for you to decide what area of nursing you want to specialize in.
After graduating college, you’ll have to apply to your state’s Board of Nursing for NCLEX. NCLEX is a standardized exam that all trained nurses must pass before they can obtain licensure.
Note: In pretty much every nursing school, you won’t be able to apply for NCLEX before graduation. Also, you should have met all requirements of your school before applying.
Most schools send the paperwork necessary for ATT (Authority to Test) to the state’s Board of Nursing after graduation. Once you pass NCLEX-RN, you’re ready for licensure. Down the road, you may want to get certification for a specialized area of nursing. That’s how to become a registered nurse in the U.S.
Want to Become a Registered Nurse?
Start applying to your preferred schools the earliest you can. You may want to dust your essay writing skills as many schools require applicants to submit an admissions essay. But that shouldn’t be hard if expressing ideas coherently and persuasively in English isn’t a problem for you. Maybe you’ll need a bit of luck considering that nursing has become extremely competitive these days. Good luck!