How to Become a Registered Nurse: All You Need to Know

What are our images of nurses, kind, tender, saving people's life like an angel? With a spirit of dedication, many of us have a dream of becoming a nurse to help people to erase pain. Basically, there are two types of nurses around the world. Compared with a licensed practical or vocational nurse, a registered nurse is more promising and popular who require more profession, training experience, and stricter certification. This guide will introduce how to become a registered nurse in a few steps.

If you've set your sights on the coveted role of a registered nurse, earning an associate degree in nursing will be your fastest path to this career. Many people do not realize that a registered nurse title can be obtained by earning an associate degree or a bachelor's degree, and by choosing your associate degree in nursing, you can start your nursing career in just 18 months.

Step 1: Understand job description and responsibilities

As one of the most popular professions, what exactly does a registered nurse do?

Registered nurses are responsible for the care of many patients working under the supervision of physicians, including creating caring plans, performing diagnostic tests and teaching patients how to manage their illness. According to BLS statistics, most registered nurses are employed in hospitals, who can also work in a variety of other settings, including nursing homes, private clinics, schools, prisons, physicians' offices, home healthcare settings, the military and so on.

Registered nurses' responsibilities:

  • Observe and record the patient's condition
  • Formulation and implementation of nursing plans
  • Nasal feeding, transfusion puncture, injections, medicines for patients
  • Participate in the rescue of critically ill patients

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a registered nurse

As a nurse, it's great to save people's lives, which people will respect you, the family will support you, and your teacher will be proud of you, but every position has its pros and cons, so as a nurse.

  • The good things of a registered nurse job

    • Knows a lot about medicine and is useful for oneself and the family
    • It has some other convenience working in a hospital
    • There is a great demand for nurses, so it's easy to make a living as a registered nurse
  • The bad things of a registered nurse job

    • Commonly nurses work in shifts
    • Risk of infection in contact with patients
    • Taking care of patients can be tiring and exhausting

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for a registered nurse

Becoming a registered nurse commonly requires a bachelor's degree, and master's and doctoral degrees for some medical research can be available. The following colleges and universities provide nursing programs.

1. Johns Hopkins University

2. University of Washington

3. University of Michigan

4. Columbia University

5. Oregon Health and Science University

6. University of Colorado

7. University of North Carolina

8. University of Pittsburgh

9. Ohio State University

10. The University of Texas at Austin

11. Houston Community College

12. Texas A & M University

13. Michigan State University

14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

15. Lone Star College System

16. Tarrant County College District

17. California State University-Long Beach

18. University of Maryland-Baltimore

19. University of Hawaii

20. Idaho State University

Step 4: Educational requirements

There are different types of nursing programs around the world, the most popular one is to learn them in colleges and universities which provide majors related to nursing like BSN, MSN, DNP, ND, PhD, DNSc and so on. One is that community colleges and vocational schools give nursing diplomas or associate's degrees in nursing.

A registered nurse must know much about professional knowledge of nursing, and the courses mainly include:

Biochemistry, Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology, Health care law and ethics, Introduction to Professional Nursing, Microbiology, Nursing Research, Chemistry, Patient Care, Statistics.

Step 5: Gaining experience

Before you get employed by a hospital or some other organizations as a nurse, every opportunity of gaining practical experience in nursing is of importance to make you be a professional nurse who can handle different patients and other staff.

Somewhere like local clinics, hospitals nearby your location and volunteering organizations are good places to have an internship, learning how to take care of patients, assist physicians to do an operation and other related work.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills

A professional nurse needs some basic and special skills:

  • Ability to practice

    Registered to obtain a nurse qualification certificate and engage in medical nursing activities in accordance with the provisions of the Nursing Regulations.

  • Ability to clinical nursing

    Be capable of conducting psychological and physical assessments of a patient's health through professional observation, analysis, and judgment.

  • Ability to respond to first aid

    When the nurse finds that the patient's condition is critical, in addition to notifying the doctor in time, he also needs to provide emergency care to the patient if necessary.

  • Ability to provide scientific nursing guidance

    Provide patients with guidance on solving existing or potential problems according to their nursing skills through their professional training.

  • Ability to write clinical care records

    Correctly write the contents of medical care documents according to the corresponding regulations.

Step 7: Find relevant jobs

The outlook of nursing jobs is promising due to the lack of nurses, so to find a job is somehow not hard, and the workplace is diverse, from hospitals to clinics, from the military to schools and from home health care settings to physician's offices.

The distinction of majors can also be the reason for choosing suitable jobs, people who choose a major in emergency care, geriatric, neonatal, surgical may work in different departments.

Once you have decided to be a RN, it's needed to think about how long you want to go, the promotion depending on where want to work.

Important Tools for a successful registered nurse

For a nurse, the adept operation of medical tools is necessary. There are:

  • stethoscope
  • automated IV pumps
  • pulse oximeter
  • syringes and lancets
  • thermometer
  • defibrillator
  • forceps
  • hemostats
  • medical suction equipment
  • catheters

Besides, as the technology being used among many fields, not except medical, some software can get twice the result with half the effort.

  • IDX Systems database software
  • Misys Healthcare Systems medical software
  • Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel
  • Kronos Workforce Timekeeper

Develop your career path

The common way of becoming a registered nurse is finishing nursing programs, getting a certification, passing the state's checking, then applying for a job, but how to develop your career path?

From low-level nurses to nursing leaders, what's the promotion of a RN? Firstly, position on a certified nursing assistant (CAN) or staff nurse, after years of experience, then apply for nurse administrator.