The health care industry offers a number of employment opportunities for graduates who complete a degree in the discipline of nursing, and many are wondering how to become a nurse. The demand for qualified nurses has never been as great and is predicted to increase to encompass a growing and aging population. Completing studies within registered nurse programs offers students the educational foundation to advance as health care professionals assisting doctors in caring for the sick or injured. Preparation to become a nurse is difficult, requiring tremendous motivation, compassion, attention to detail, and stress management skills. These traits must also carry over throughout a nurse’s career as the primary responsibilities of a nurse include being able to perform within team environments as vital health care professionals in hospitals, physician’s offices, schools, medical facilities, and other locations. Nurses must be able to complete the technical aspects of their job by administering medication, assisting physicians with examinations and treatments, monitoring patients’ conditions, and maintaining detailed records of a patient’s health. Additionally, nurses must be able to offer emotional support to patients and families as they manage health care issues, illnesses, and treatments.
High school students with an interest in establishing a nursing career may prepare long before graduation by volunteering at hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities to gain hands on experience. Additionally, students may participate in courses like: English, algebra, biology, chemistry, and health to advance to higher degree programs. Most nurses complete a minimum of an associates degree to qualify as a nurse. Associate degree programs provide the information necessary to establish a career as an entry level registered nurse. Courses include: clinical nursing, nursing skills, care of the childbearing family, pharmacology, transition from vocational to professional nursing, complex concepts of adult health, common concepts of adult health, foundations for nursing practice, care of children and families, transition to nursing practice, mental health nursing, advanced concepts of adult health, human anatomy and physiology, elementary statistics, microbiology, integrated nursing skills, developmental psychology, and integrated client care management. Graduates who complete associate degree programs may advance to employment upon completion of the NYCLEX-RX or continue studies within bachelor degree programs. All nurses are required to pass the NCLEX-RX, a state Board examination offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to display their knowledge and skills through written and practical tests as well as gain licensure necessary for employment.
Many health facilities prefer candidates who complete four year bachelor degrees for supervisory roles as a registered nurse. Bachelor degree programs offer an expanded understanding of the field and provide specialized instruction within a number of concentrations. Students seeking their bachelor degree may participate in studies to gain the knowledge necessary to work with specific demographics, like children or the elderly, or within different aspects of the health care system, from nurse management, home health care, medical-surgery nurses, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency rooms, intensive care units, or oncology, to more advanced training for administrative nursing positions. Bachelor degree programs to qualify as a register nurse include courses like: health assessment and the nursing process; theoretical foundations for professional nursing; clinical pharmacology; trends and issues in professional nursing; community health nursing; clinical practicum in community health nursing; nursing management in the community; clinical practicum in nursing management; nursing management in the community; human anatomy and physiology; microbiology and lab; human genetics; cultures, health, and healing; introduction to psychology; human society; professional ethics; clinical research; basic statistics; and chemistry for health sciences. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs advance to employment as registered nurses after successfully passing the NYCLEX exam.
Registered Nurses are required to gain and maintain licensure offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The Council also offers continuing education, professional certification, and access to accredited educational programs through online and on campus graduate programs. Armed with this information, you’re well on your way to understanding how to become a nurse.