Do you dream of helping people and making a difference in other’s lives? If so, it is no wonder you are currently investigating a career in nursing. Below, you will find information regarding the four main steps to take to become a registered nurse and to start practicing at a medical facility in the United States.
Step one: Choose a nursing program
Contrary to popular belief, there is not just one route to take to obtain your nursing qualification. There are plenty of nursing programs out there, and they vary in terms of prerequisites and the length of time that they take to complete.
Arguably, the best course of action is to apply to study towards a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, or a ‘BSN’ for short. This course is rather lengthy and takes around three to four years to finish; however, it is a must for those nurses who wish to study further. You will need to have a BSN degree under your belt if you plan to pursue an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) or a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) a bit further down the line.
The great news is that it is also possible to apply for an ABSN, which is an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Those with previous credits are welcome to apply for these courses and both students from nursing and non-nursing backgrounds are welcome. On average, it takes just under one year to make it through the coursework of an ABSN program. Interested in learning more? Here is a list of ABSN programs to consider.
Step two: Take the NCLEX-RN exam
Completing your nursing program isn’t enough. All qualified nurses who wish to go on to practice will also need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. In order to do so, you will need to register to sit for the exam via the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The test lasts six hours and consists of over 100 questions. According to experts in the field, the average pass rate is around 70%.
Step three: Get your state license
The next step is to decide where you want practice. Keep in mind that each state has its own requirements, so be sure to conduct your research and make all the relevant enquiries before beginning your job search. In most instances, a background check will be mandatory.
Step four: Find a job
Congratulations! Once you reach this step, you will have successfully completed all the necessary action points to make yourself employable as a registered nurse in the United States. Now it is all about working on perfecting your CV and your interview skills and finding employment. Soon you will find yourself living your dream and putting all your studies to good use.
One last pearl of wisdom: remember to take the time to investigate the various nursing programs available before beginning your journey into the nursing field. It is vital that you select an accredited nursing program right from the start to prevent any obstacles along the way.