The step by step process on how to become a registered nurse
I typically get many questions about my nursing career…. am I an RN? Am I a BSN? How many years of school? How did you start nursing? etc
Yes, I am an RN. I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, which I earned after completing four years of college and clinical experience. I began my nursing career by obtaining my licensure through the state board of nursing and then working in various clinical settings to gain experience.
What is a Registered Nurse?
A registered nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional who has completed a nursing program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). They provide direct patient care, educate patients and the public about health conditions, and work to promote health and prevent illnesses. RNs may specialize in areas such as geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, obstetrics, etc.
My Journey to Becoming a Nurse.
I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and after completing High school, I attended Cleveland State University.
At my university, prerequisites are required before applying to the nursing program. ( although not on schools are the same, some you can be in the program starting out depending) I have taken many different classes, including chemistry, anatomy and physiology, statistics, microbiology, etc.
Typically the prerequisite classes can take up to a year or two to complete depending on what school, what classes are required, or what is available. I often have heard people have to be placed on a waiting list to get into some pre-required classes. Then the nursing program I attended was three years commitment. There are many different nursing programs out there, with some advanced options as well.
In my experience, I had to apply to nursing school after completing the required classes. And a large portion of my acceptance relied on my grade point average from my pre-required classes.
In my senior year of high school and the summer of my freshman year of college, I attended a 6-week training school course (I think 6, maybe 8, not sure) to become an STNA. State-certified nursing assistant….. (this is not required to be a nurse, but I would recommend it, if you are interested in nursing. I worked as a nursing assistant for five years as I went to college and prepared to take my NCLEX examination. Anyone who is thinking about being a nurse would recommend trying out this job to see if nursing is a good fit for you. Being a nursing assistant was eye-opening and helped me feel more comfortable caring for patients. As a nurse,I rely so much on my nursing assistants and am so appreciative of their help.
Some jobs and states do not require you to have a certification to be a nursing assistant… typically if you have been in nursing school for one year that also applies to you for a candidate to be a nursing assistant.
When I was a nursing assistant, I worked in nursing homes, hospice faculties, and hospitals. I started working as a nursing assistant in nursing homes and transitioned to the hospital after about a year into nursing school. After graduating, getting a job at the hospital as a nursing assistant helped me land a job as a critical care nurse.
I started as a critical care nurse… which typically doesn’t always happen… the majority of the time they want nurses to work a medical-surgical floor or telemetry or lower acuity floor for a year before working in critical care.
I worked as a night shift critical care nurse for a year and six months before I began travel nursing.
My first year in nursing holy moly….. did I get my butt kicked….. multiple nights of tears crying… stressful…. a full-time job and switching from working part-time with school to FULL TIME WITH LONG AND BUSY 12-hour shifts.
I have definitely had my fair share of being bit, kicked, and spit on patients. Cleaning up vomit, blood, bodily fluids, poop, and urine… I have put in many Foley catheters and many IV. I have done CPR on multiple patients and have been under some super stressful situations. The thing about being a nurse or working in the medical field is that whatever you do…. how you act… carry out things…. talk…makes an impact on your patients their families and your patient’s care…
My most significant piece of advice and the advice my manager told me being a nurse….. you may be having the worst day and everything could be going wrong… BUT things could always be worse…
I think remaining positive when things
Going to get a 4-year bachelor’s in nursing degree is not the only route to go.
There are programs to obtain an associate’s degree, which is a 2-year program which you will take the NCLEX and then become an RN.
This is not considered a bachelors degree; many programs market themselves as RN to BSN. (basically, taking more classes to receive that bachelor’s title.)
Another program I see often is an advanced bachelor’s degree to a bachelor of nursing degree. This classifies as individuals getting a bachelor’s degree in biology, economics, business… etc. (X<Y<Z)
The advanced program is typically 2-3 years of accelerated nursing courses! After that, individuals will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and be able to take the NCLEX.
Again there are many different ways to become a Nurse and many different routes in the nursing profession!