Did you know that there are close to 4.2 million registered nurses in the United States of America? Becoming a registered nurse is a wonderful career path because you’ll get fulfillment from helping people in need while also getting some amazing perks of the job for yourself. Many people choose to go to nursing school without understanding the necessary steps to become an RN.
Achieving your goal of starting a career in nursing will give you tons of flexibility with your work schedule and pay you well for your skills and knowledge. If you’ve always wanted to become a registered nurse but you weren’t sure how to start then today is your lucky day.
You’ve come to the perfect location to learn all about what an RN does, the steps to take to get a career in the nursing industry, and the benefits of becoming a registered nurse. Keep reading this article to learn more today!
What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Registered nurses play one of the most important roles in the field of healthcare. The exact responsibilities that you’ll hold when you become an RN are hard to say, as these change depending on the hospital you work at and the size of the team that you’re on.
Still, there are a number of job duties that are across the board when it comes to your career in nursing. You’ll be observing patients and conducting assessments of their condition and overall health. You’ll also have responsibilities for recording patient health and looking at their symptoms.
Registered nurses are also responsible for updating a patient’s medical information and patient files when these updates are needed. Another important task that you’ll handle as part of your RN job is helping to create a patient care plan with the other members of your team.
There are other tasks that you’ll handle that are a bit more hands-on. These tasks will include helping to administer treatments and medications to patients and providing care for any wounds that your patient might have.
You might think that this sounds like a lot, but registered nurses get compensated quite well for their skills and the work that they provide. Not only will you have incredible job stability but you’ll also bring in a salary in the $70,000 range each year. Keep in mind that your pay will continue to go up as you gain more experience in the nursing industry.
How to Become an RN
Now that you have a better understanding of the job duties that come with a career in nursing it is time to teach you about the steps that you’ll need to take to get there. The steps that you’ll need to take are pretty simple and they start with getting into nursing school and getting a nursing degree.
Earn Your Degree from Nursing School
If you plan on becoming a registered nurse then you need to start applying for nursing schools in the United States of America. Start looking into universities that are accredited and start looking at your different nursing degree options.
The biggest difference between these degree options is the number of courses and years that it takes to graduate. You also need to keep in mind that each state has different rules about your requirements for a career in nursing. There are some states that require only an Associates’ Degree in Nursing.
Nowadays, more and more states are requiring potential nurses to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing before they’re allowed to get hired and start practicing medicine. Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require a BSN, the potential employers in your state might require that level of education in order to hire you.
If you want to work as a registered nurse then the best path to take is to go to nursing school and get your BSN. Look for a nursing school or nursing program that places a premium on clinical experience. You’ll gain the chance to learn from faculty members that have first-hand field experience.
You have many options to choose from for your BSN depending on your past education levels. If you’ve just graduated high school then your best bet is going to a 4-year school and getting your BSN. If you already have an Associates’ or Bachelors’s degree in a nursing field then you can sign up for an accelerated program that lasts a bit longer than a year.
Pass the NCLEX
Completing your degree at nursing school is a big deal and cause for celebration but there is still work to do if you want to make a career in nursing a reality. After getting your degree you will want to sign up to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.
You’ll get tested on your knowledge in all of the key areas of the nursing industry to make sure that you’re ready for your responsibilities as a registered nurse. You won’t get your state license as an RN until you pass this exam.
If you don’t pass the NCLEX the first time then it is not the end of the world. You will have a 45 day intermission between the first time you took the exam and the next time that you can attempt to pass it. When you start looking at different nursing programs it is always a good idea to check out the NCLEX pass rate.
A good nursing school will have no problem posting their pass rate as it will reflect positively on their teaching ability.
Get Your State License
Now that you’ve passed the NCLEX, the next step is to get your license in the state that you live in and plan on practicing in. If you live in an area like St. Louis, which is on the border of two different states then it is a good idea to get licensure in both Illinois and Missouri to provide even more opportunities for a great RN job.
Each state has its own set of requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to get your license to practice nursing there. Make sure that you take the time to check with the right board to see that you meet all of the requirements for getting your state license.
Get Advanced Training
Becoming a registered nurse was the goal, but your education and your training don’t have to end there. Getting your state license means that you’re 100% a registered nurse, but that opens even more opportunities for your career in the nursing industry.
You should look into different nursing certificates that show your knowledge and experience in a particular niche of nursing. Oncology is a popular option for specialized training as is neonatal and pediatrics nursing. You’ll get better job opportunities and much better pay when you get advanced training in those areas.
You can also look into educational opportunities at nursing school to work your way up to a nurse practitioner or even the clinical nurse leader. In order to reach those positions, you’ll need to get either a Master’s Degree in Nursing or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.
Benefits of Becoming a Registered Nurse
There are tons of benefits that you’ll gain when you choose to become an RN. Yes, the pay is great and you’ll have a great opportunity to further your education. You’ll also get a great sense of fulfillment since you’ll spend your days helping those that need it most.
Still, there are other perks that you should consider when you decide that you want to go to nursing school. Here is a closer look at those benefits.
The typical workday for people in the United States involves working for eight hours a day and for five days each week. Nurses have vastly different shifts. The typical RN job requires you to work a 12-hour shift three times each week. That means that your weekends are four days long.
Yes, you’ll need to work longer hours but you’ll also gain a ton of free time by going this route which allows you to have fun and focus on your own health and wellbeing. A general rule of thumb is that the longer days that you work, the more days off you get. It is one of the best perks of the nursing industry.
If you’re saving up for a home, a new car, or an exciting new adventure then you’ll need to make more money. In the nursing industry, there are always plenty of chances for you to work overtime. You’ll get the pleasure of helping out other hospitals and healthcare professionals while getting paid a good deal more money for your time.
Many professions don’t invest in their employees like those in the nursing industry do. If you want a chance to rise up the ladder in your industry then you should look at becoming a registered nurse. Many clinics and hospitals will put money towards your tuition costs so that you can get special training and further your education.
This has an additional benefit of better pay. You’ll get your schooling paid for by your employer and you’ll get higher pay once you get your degree.
If you’re someone that loves to travel then you will love life as a registered nurse. You can always look into becoming a travel nurse and working in hospitals that are low on nurses. You can also pick up your life and start somewhere new that has always called to you.
The nice thing about a career in nursing is that your skills are always in demand. You will have zero problems finding jobs hiring near me within the nursing industry.
If you want sunshine and beaches then you can get a job as a nurse in Florida or California. If you want mountains and white-water rapids then you can look at moving to Colorado or Utah for an RN job.
Working an RN job is one of the most active jobs that you can have. You’ll spend a lot of time on your feet while helping people in need. You also need to bring your “A-game” from a mental standpoint each and every day that you’re working at the clinic or hospital.
There will be times when you have to move patients or heavy equipment from one room to another. Needless to say, you’ll get a lot of exercise during your shifts at your RN job.
If you want a job that provides great flexibility with great pay then you should look no further than the nursing industry. Taking the steps to become a nurse will get you a salary of around $70,000 while only working three days each week. The more training you get and the better your education becomes, the more money you can make.
No one wants to worry about their job security on a consistent basis. One of the benefits of becoming a registered nurse is knowing that you’ll always be needed and in demand. There is always a shortage of trained nurses within the nursing industry so you’ll never have to worry about finding work.
Making a Difference
There aren’t many jobs where you can go home at the end of the day and know that you made a positive difference in someone else’s life. You’ll have direct contact with patients that need your help and your skills. You’re the person that has the biggest impact on providing a safe and positive place and experience within the healthcare system for your patients.
Take Your First Steps to Become an RN
Choosing to become an RN is a massive step for your future career, and it is one that will allow you to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Make sure that you do your research when you choose a nursing school and look at the different programs that they offer. You’ll get flexible hours and great pay along with fulfillment from your RN job.
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