Becoming a registered nurse is a demanding process. Unlike a licensed practicing nurse, a registered nurse must complete an accredited two-year nursing program. After graduation, they will have to become certified. Although the process is more intensive, RNs receive better opportunities than LPNs. They allowed to administer medications, assist physicians in more critical care areas and are more directly responsible for their patients. Most registered nurses feel that the program is worth the effort they must go through.
Requirements for Becoming an RN
Make sure you meet the prerequisites to get into nursing school. These requirements include completing high school with the required GPA (which varies among schools), taking the SAT or ACT exams and meeting the course prerequisites before attending. Common course prerequisites include basic algebra, English, and multiple biology and chemistry classes.
Apply to nursing programs you are interested in. Programs are available both online and in traditional campuses, but the curriculum will be similar. You may be required to complete a prerequisite course or an admissions essay. The school will review your academic transcripts and test scores. Each school has enrollment applications you will have to submit to the admissions office.
Take the required classes during the two years you are in nursing school. They will include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, as well as general education courses in math, science and humanities. Nursing school is intensive, so you will need to study regularly while attending. You will probably need to take four classes a semester while you are in school.
Complete clinical rotations before you complete nursing school. These rotations will give you some insights and experience in different nursing specialties. You will need to demonstrate that you are competent and safe while you are working.
Take the National Council Licensure Examination after graduating from nursing school. This is a comprehensive examination of everything you will need to know as a nurse.
Tips & Warnings
- You can consider obtaining a bachelors of science after you receive your RN, although it is not required to become a registered nurse.
- Always be careful while you complete your clinical rotations or laboratory work. This work is much more serious than your coursework and can result in injury or death if not completed correctly.
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