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Nursing: How To Become A Registered Nurse

Updated on July 19, 2011

How to become a registered nurse

The appreciation of nursing is usually overshadowed by romanticized concepts and generalizations such as, "why a nurse and not a doctor?" The answer is simple and entirely convincing. This article will attempt to outline the steps needed to cement your path to Nursedom, and also offer irrefutably reasoning as to why this career choice is an incredibly solid platform, that will never leave you without a challenging and rewarding experience.

Contrary to popular belief, male nurses are an upwards trend
Contrary to popular belief, male nurses are an upwards trend

Compelling Reasons To Become A Nurse

As the world population continues to increasingly bump shoulder, disease and illness will also increase. Both because of an increase in global population and because of overpopulation in urban areas. As gloomy as it sounds, the demand for nurses will also rise steadily, amplified further by the current imbalance between nurses and doctors.

Becoming a nurse is also a highly flexible career. You will not be concerned into a niche, and finding an alternative will always be an option. Here are some ideas that highlight a nurse's flexibility.

  • Children's nursing

  • Learning disability nursing

  • Adult nursing

  • Nurse and midwifery education

  • Mental health nursing

As you can see, the job description varies immensely so for those of us who were held back by notions of becoming blood-sick or emotionally crippled, you might want to think again. In fact, nursing can be an incredibly fulfilling emotional experience.

On a more concrete and financial level, most people will be quick to point out that a career as a nurse can be underpaid. This, historically, is true. Any of us who have been to hospital can attest to the amount of interaction and work nurses are required to perform. Due to the often tense environments and stress levels, nurses are also on the front-line of abuse. Is it worth it? I believe the answer is a resounding YES.

As time goes by individuals as well as society as a whole have begun to take note of the importance of a nurse's job. Large unions in many european countries have formed in order to create awareness, increase demands and to push for greater rewards and more rights. In 2008 in England for instance, Alan Johnston, the health secretary, promised nursing unions an increase in 8% pay, the effects are currently being felt by nurses all over Britain.

How To Become Registered (RN)

In the U.S becoming a registered nurse can be difficult without the correct educational foundations (although to a lesser degree than doctors -- consider the playing field a little more open). In order to complete the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) you must first have a 3 year degree or diploma in nursing studies from an accredited nursing school. You must have advanced credits in English, Maths and Biology from your High school diploma. 40 to 80 clinical hours amassed in the fields of pediatrics, obstetrics and psychiatry which should be organized by nursing schools. foreign nurses will need to pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification program as well as complete all the above prerequisites.

Becoming A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

The role of a LPN (also know as an LVN in certain states) is similar to the role of the Registered Nurse but requires less training (as little as one year) and will usually also pay a little bit less as well. The good news is that you can begin working and amassing experience right away. A quick job overview of the LPN is as follows:

  • Works under direction of doctors of RNs
  • Take vital signs
  • Gather patient health information
  • Prepare and deliver injections
  • Assist patients in personal hygiene tasks
  • Collect lab samples and perform routine lab tests
  • Help care for and feed infants
  • Teach patients and family members about good health habits
  • Supervise nursing assistants and aides

The Meandering Road

Both Rns and LNPs offer advantages in a stable career field. Both positions can be achieved no matter the age (especially with regards to the LNP) and are a lifelong open invitation.

I hoped you enjoyed this hub, if you did, feel free to browse my other "How To Become articles" which are in my profile. Thanks for stopping by!


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      Valou 4 years ago

      The above answer is great, just weantd to add my 2 cents. You see, a lot of nurses are reaching retiring age and a lot more nurses want to work less due to family commitments. You also will find that since nursing is a very physically and mentally demanding job, you will find a portion of nurses on leave at any given time. Some of them go on to permanent disability. And yes, nursing at times *does* have a high turnover rate due to some of the above factors, the factors you listed, and other reasons. Many employers only offer part time or casual work, so those nurses who DO want full time hours often have to work 3 jobs. That can lead to burnout. So in reality, it is not just current staffing issues that are causing people to yell nursing shortage , it is also the *perceived* future issues of a large percentage of nurses retiring that is the problem. The baby boomers are now reaching the point in their lives when they need care, and this includes the nurses who are now the patients or retiring. The time has come.You may also find a percentage of nurses who came from other countries for training, and who have since returned, and another group that has fled the US and gone to work in another country, such as Canada or the UK (you will see this especially in those who disagree with the war and other recent politics). So at any given time, nurses are in demand, and will continue to be in the future, as the population ages and obesity and chronic disease becomes even more rampant (not all chronic diseases are lifestyle related or preventable of course, but many are). Good job security, I tell you!So, it really comes down to if you can handle the truth about nursing. It seems like you have already formed an opinion. The harsh reality is that yes, nurses can eat their young. You will be paid well, but worked hard as well. You may work understaffed. You may work overtime. You may work shiftwork. You will have to do dirty work as a student (and sometimes as a graduate). You likely will learn that you don't always have enough time to give patients as you thought you would. You may deal with a lot of workplace politics and even abuse. Then again, maybe not.The bottome line is that you have to love what you do. And if you really want to be a nurse, then you will find a way to make it work for you, and you will sort through any negatives. There are lots of options once you get your foot in the door and get some experience. Only you can decide if you want to go into nursing. It's not for everyone. I suggest that if you want to work in healthcare, to at least explore other options as well. Nursing is a great field if you were born to be a nurse, but there are many other careers that make important members of the healthcare team. Without knowing anything about you, all I can generally suggest are options, anything from Respiratory Therapist, to Pharmacist, to Physical Therapist, to Registered Dietician, to Radiation Therapist, to Medical Doctor .the list goes on and on .Again, most nurses who do well and are happy being nurses felt drawn to nursing. It's not a waste of their time no matter what. Perhaps your calling is something else. If after you do some soul searching and decide that nursing is your bag, then go for it. In the end, there are LOADS of options. The great thing about healthcare is that it is a HUGE field. Good luck!

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      naomie 6 years ago

      im barley 11 and my dreem since i wuiz lil wuiz to become a rejistered nurse and i still need and want to beh a nurse

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      Nurse Practitioner Salary 6 years ago

      I have been a nurse practitioner for 13 years. It's a very challenging road to the profession, but the rewards are well worth it.

    • Lindac21 profile image

      Lindac21 7 years ago from Scotland

      A topic I am passionate about. Nice article!

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      Beverly 7 years ago

      You may also be interested in the Canadian context as education requirements are different.

      Why become a nurse and not a doctor?

      Think of it this way...

      You will want to become a doctor if you prefer to spend most of your time with information. You will want to become a nurse if you prefer to spend most of your time with people.

      That is perhaps why people find it so immensely rewarding.