Steps How to become a Nurse
If you want to become a nurse, there are of course certain things you have to do, and there are requirements that have to be met, in order for you to work in this field. Due to the fact that there are certain requirements you have to meet, if you would like to work in this career path, it is important to know what they are, before you get started with your schooling and training. If you have ever wondered how to become a nurse, these are the steps you are going to take to get there.
Starting out being a nurse
1. High School Diploma or GED
You must first complete certain credit hours and have graduated from high school or have received your GED in order to move forward in this field. Most, if not all high schools have a certain path of courses you have to take, in order to graduate; in order to move forward in your studies you must:
- Complete 4 years of English.
- Complete at least 3 years of math and social study courses.
- Complete at least 2 years of science course work.
- Complete at least 2 years of a foreign language of choice.
These are the minimal requirements to graduate high school, or if you receive your GED, you will have to have completed at least a minimum number of hours of training, and complete comprehensive testing in certain areas of study to move forward and go in to college.
2. Select your Nursing school and apply
Depending on the type of schooling you choose to go to, the type of degree you will receive will vary. Some options are:
- An associate or a bachelor’s degree in nursing; these will take either 2 years or 4 years when going full time.
- Students can receive their master’s degree in nursing, which is going to require a minimum of at least 2 years, after completing their bachelor’s degree through an accredited institution.
- It is possible to get your training through as hospital program in certain instances where you will receive a diploma, and will likely be required to take certain classes at a nearby college; or,
- You can go through some type of military training program, and an ROTC program, in order to receive your necessary training, to move forward in the field of nursing.
Depending on the degree type you receive, LPN, ADN, or BSN, the amount of time you will be in school is going to vary. You have to know what each entails, in order for you to move forward in your training. It is also important to know what courses you are going to be required to take while in school. There are certain science courses (physiology, biology, chemistry, etc) and math courses that you have to complete, in order to receive the different degrees. Knowing what is required under each type of degree, and how many hours you have to complete, is the starting point to deciding where you are going to go, and what degree you are going to receive, when you choose to follow through in the career of nursing.
Upon selecting the degree that you will receive, you then have to select a school; some things to consider doing before you choose are:
- Visiting a few institutions and looking at online institutions, in order for you to have a feel of what each one offer, and what atmosphere you are most comfortable with.
- Applying with a few schools, so that you have more opportunities, and possibly more chances for scholarships and grants, if you are accepted in to more than just one of these institutions that you apply to.
- Find out all requirements for application (including testing you have to complete), what documents you have to submit, and so forth, to ensure you have met all requirements to apply to a certain institution.
Some will prefer the online route, others prefer traditional university; you have to consider all factors so that it is easier for you to make the best decision, when you are finally ready to decide where you will apply, and where you will eventually go to school, depending on the institutions that you are accepted into after you do apply to them.
3. Apply for Financial Aid for Nurses
In most, if not all cases, you are going to need some kind of financial assistance, so you have to apply for financial aid. There are a number of ways to receive aid, including:
- Through grants or scholarships.
- Through different programs you enlist in.
- Based on minority or other types of specific race opportunities for certain students.
Depending on which criteria you meet, you are likely going to be eligible for more than one kind of financial aid and assistance; know how to apply, when you should apply, and what to apply for, to ensure you get all the help you need, and to ensure you receive the most possible assistance, when you are getting ready to apply to different schools.
4. Becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse
Passing the national council licence exam for registered nurses is a prerequisite to practicing as an RN, for all individuals who complete their schooling. If you just graduated, the best method to prepare is to start studying right away; if possible, there are study groups you can join that will help you. Not only are these proven to help you do better, but the pass rates are also much higher for those who take the exam right after completing schooling. You have to make sure you meet all requirements to take the exam including:
- Submitting your application to the licensing board to sit in for the exam.
- Waiting for your authorization letter, so that you can then apply for the exam.
- Registering with Pearson VUE, and becoming familiar with the licensing test site, so that you can start your application, and prepare for the exam.
By preparing early, not only are you going to register in a timely fashion, you will also find that it is easier for you to meet all necessary requirements to be able to sit in for the exam, when you are ready to take it.
Consider Nursing as a Second Career
If you worked in a different field early on in your career, or are now considering starting up with nursing, there are a few accelerated programs you can enter in to, so that you can bypass many of the initial requirements, because you already have a bachelor’s degree in another area. The ADN or BSN programs are for those who have already receive a bachelor’s or associate degree, in a different field, and would now like to enter the field of nursing. Knowing the requirements, and knowing how to get started, is the first step to starting your second career in the field or nursing.
What else can you learn in nursing?
If you have already received your degree, you might choose to specialize in a specific field, or if you have done clinical programs, you can put those to work as well. Many clinics specialize in a specific field, and you can put these to work for you, and for others that need your assistance. Knowing which nursing career to take, is the first step to deciding where to go, and what you will do in the field or nursing.
You can always choose to do volunteer work, if you have received your degree, or if you are new to the field, and want to start working. You can do volunteer work at:
- Local hospitals or clinics that need extra hands.
- Put your specialized skills or clinical work to use, and volunteer at a local clinic.
- Volunteer at a doctor’s office.
Not only will these positions give you perspective, they will also allow you to use your skills, in a manner to help others who need it, and will allow you to progress forward with your nursing education and training at the same time.
2. Consider a nursing camp:
If you would like to experience what it is truly like to work as a nurse, these camps provide a one to two week program, that you can help in the camp setting, and learn what work you will be doing. If you received your specialized training, alongside your master’s degree (in anesthesia, midwives, clinical specialists), you can also work with specialty nurses in these camps.
Depending on where you live, nursing schools and hospitals will provide these programs as an internship opportunity to students. Or, if you are at the high school level, and would like to volunteer, many local hospitals also provide this opportunity, depending on where you live, and how much additional help they require at any given time.
3. Work with nursing organizations:
If you would like to keep up in nursing, find out about events you can help at, local organizations you can work in, and so forth, you can also keep up with certain nursing organizations in your local community, as well as on the national level. Some of the national organizations that you can reach out to include:
- Student’s nursing association.
- Women’s health.
- American nursing association.
Not only do they provide information online, but you can find out about local events in your area that you can help out in. Or, if you need extra credit hours, are looking or an internship, or simply want to keep up with the latest news in nursing, these organizations will keep you up to date, and will provide you the information that you are searching for.
Regardless of what organizations you choose to hook up with, it is a great idea for you to stay up to date on the latest news and updates in nursing. You will also find that many of them provide information about local events or opportunities for you, especially if you are a nursing student that will allow you to help out your local community, and possibly receive the credits you need towards a course. So, staying on top of the news, and knowing what is going on in the world of nursing, is something that all individuals in the field should be doing, through these, as well as through the local organizations that can be found in their own community as well.
Ongoing Nursing Education
In the field or nursing, things are always changing, since medicine is always changing. So, after becoming certified and licensed as an RN, you do have to take ongoing educational courses, to keep up with the licensing requirements, by state and federal licensing boards. In certain states you might have to take exams to keep your license up to date, so find out what is required in your state, and what the federal licensing regulations are, to ensure you know what they are, and to make sure you always have your license updated, and can practice, in the fields you specialize in.
It is a long road to become a licensed nurse practitioner, but if this is a field you would like to work in, it is well worth the rewards you are going to receive in your career. In addition to helping those in needs, in a variety of settings, you will also find that there are various opportunities to volunteer, and help out in other areas, outside your job that you work in. So, not only are you going to find there are hundreds of open career paths you can take, but you can also help out at the base level as well, if you choose to volunteer in different organizations and through different specialty areas as well.
Regardless of whether you choose to specialize or not, there is always a demand in the field or nursing. So, if you are considering to become a nurse, stay focused and remember: it will take few years and lots of dedication, but you will be making a real difference by helping people.