What Is Required to Become a Nurse?


Anyone who wants to become a nurse must obtain a nursing license in his employer's state. All nurses have a code of ethics that puts the care of the patient before the nurse's wants, opinions or feelings. Nurses will pay close attention to detail and may report to a physician or nurse of higher authority. The ability to remain calm and professional is needed.


  • Nurses offer treatment, care and advice to patients that have medical conditions. Nurses have different responsibilities, which include recording medical conditions, administering medication, asking patients questions and assisting with diagnostic tests. When patients are released from the hospital or treatment facility, a nurse may teach the family members or friends how to care for the patient. A nurse also explains procedures and counsels patients or his family members or friends.

Nursing Program Or Certification

  • All nurses are required to complete a nursing program. The type of nursing program may vary. A prospective nurse may enroll and complete a two-year associate's degree in nursing or a four-year bachelor's degree. A third option is to complete a nursing program through a hospital. All of these programs provide the prospective nurse with critical thinking, communication and leadership training as well as clinical experience in and outside of the traditional hospital setting. All prospects must be accepted into the program he or she chooses by the school, administration or hospital.


  • Once the prospective nurse chooses the program of study, the prospect must earn the degree or nursing certification. The curriculum the prospective nurses will take and must pass before becoming a nurse includes chemistry, biology, nutrition, anatomy, psychology, microbiology and nursing practices. The nursing program will provide clinical rotations in various health-care settings. Some nursing programs require a certain grade-point average for their nursing students to remain in the nursing program.

State Board Examination

  • Completing the nursing program does not qualify the nursing student to begin practicing. Each state has board of practice exams designed for the prospective nurses. The state board exams will test the nursing students on the information she acquired in school. The exam assesses knowledge in patient care, comfort management and infection control, for example. To become a nurse, minimum score of 70 percent on the state board exam is required to pass.

Foreign-Trained Nurses

  • There are foreign students and American citizens that have been trained in nursing in other countries. Those foreign-trained students who want to become a nurse in the United States must pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools certification program. The program consists of three parts, which are an English-proficiency exam, credentials evaluation and a one-day qualifying exam of nursing knowledge. The exam consists of 260 multiple-choice questions and may be taken at four times a year. In addition to the exam, foreign nursing prospects must pass the exams and have all of the credentials previously mentioned.

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