How to Become a Staff Nurse

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Most of the nursing positions at any hospital are filled with staff nurses who have varying areas of expertise. As a staff nurse, one might be expected to administer care to patients from the emergency room or babies in maternal services. There are many opportunities for advancement to more specialized and supervisory positions. In fact, many registered nurses begin their careers as staff nurses, before moving on to more specialized positions. In most cases, advancement is predicated on the completion of further schooling and clinical training.

  • Receive your high school diploma or GED. Enroll in life sciences, psychology and English classes, as well as any nursing-related courses that are offered at your school. Study hard and earn exceptional grades.

  • Attain practical experience in a health-centric field. Contact area hospitals and clinics to see if they have openings for assistants or aids. Not only should nurses have a medical background, but they must also be effective communicators, as they will be called to interact with patients, their families and other medical staff.

  • Complete a nurse training program at a four-year college or university, or earn a nursing associate's degree at a community college. Another option is to graduate from a three-year diploma program, which is often based in a hospital. All training program options must be accredited by your state's nursing board. Each program yields certain advantages, depending on what field of nursing you intend to pursue. Explore financial aid options to help you finance your education and training. Check the American Nursing Association website, as well as your program's website, for a listing of available aid.

  • Receive a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to receive your license to practice. Some states may have further licensing stipulations, so check with your state's nursing board.

  • Check online job listing sites such as Indeed.com for any area openings. Consider further education and training that will allow you to earn one of four advanced nursing designations: clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner. All of these positions require at least a master's degree in nursing.

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  • Photo Credit nurse on duty image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com
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