If you have always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others and nursing has been top of your list, then you are on the right track. Nursing is a trusted career with a plethora of opportunities to choose from. It is high in demand; hence you don’t have to worry much about not getting a job after school.
Whether you are in a different field and want to make a career switch into becoming a nurse, you have other options to choose from. For most people, becoming a registered nurse (RN) is an entry point that allows them to advance into more senior positions such as clinical nurse leader. However, like any other career, you have to start from somewhere. The following is an insight into what it takes to kick off your nursing career.
Get your nursing degree.
A bachelor of science in nursing degree is one of the educational paths you can take in your journey to become a nurse. You require four years of learning to get a degree. Although it takes the longest time, a degree in nursing gives you a good start in your career.
For example, nurses with a degree have vast options for career advancement and start at a higher salary. It is also an excellent educational path that prepares you for licensure examination due to the extensive amount of education and clinical practice it equips students with. The other two options include:
- A diploma in nursing. You can find this program in technical schools and community colleges, and it usually takes the least amount of time. Most students complete the course in as little as one year, and the longest it might take is three years. Although it is the fastest option, the learners may not get the most out of it as it equips them with the minimum requirements needed to become a nurse.
- An Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN). It takes the least amount of time second after a nursing diploma. You require a minimum of two years to acquire a college degree. This educational option is different from a nursing diploma because graduates with ADN secure a college degree and not a certificate as with a diploma in nursing. While both programs prepare learners for the licensure examination, those with ADN can transfer their credits towards a bachelor of nursing degree. The bridge approach allows you to work as you further your studies
Sit for the NCLEX exam
It is the next step right after earning your nursing degree. The board exam is designed to test your knowledge in essential fields or areas in nursing. The licensure exam is a prerequisite to obtaining a nursing license to practice in your state. The requirements vary from state to state, making it essential for you to be conversant with your state’s requirements.
The exam has two parts – one with multiple-choice questions and the other being alternate-format queries. It is a significant part of your career that needs proper preparation. You might have to wait for another 45 five if you failed the exam on the first attempt.
Obtain your license
The next step requires you to obtain a nursing license in your state of choice after passing the NCLEX-RN examination. The license shows that you have the necessary qualifications to practice nursing. The board of nursing usually grants based on the state in which you applied.
The board needs to verify your participation and graduation as an authorized or recognized nursing and verify that you passed the licensure examination. Some states have regulations that require a criminal background check.
Now that you have what it takes to become a nurse, including a nursing license, you can start looking for job opportunities. Consider medical facilities in your state and understand that you may not land the perfect job at first. Here, nurses with a bachelor’s degree have the edge over other applicants with minimal education qualifications and less clinical experience. Here is when you activate your college network to help you in your job search. No matter what educational path you took, this is a moment to remember as it marks the start of your career in the nursing field.
The above steps are what it takes to become a registered nurse and practice in a particular state. Proper planning will make your journey into the nursing career seamless.