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5 Key Steps You Should Take to Become a Nurse

Nursing is one of the most rewarding yet most challenging careers that you can get into. A career that millions of people around the country choose, it’s something that the world will always need. But how do you get into nursing in the first place? 

If it’s a career that you’re interested in finding out more about, it’s important that you first understand the path that you should take. To make this easier, here are the top 5 steps you can follow:

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing 

To become a registered practicing nurse (RN) a formal education is necessary. And this is where a bachelor’s degree comes in. By choosing the most suitable degree program for you at a good university, you’ll be able to open up more opportunities. It will also help you to determine what speciality you will focus on in the future. 

Typically, the most popular degrees are:

  • A Bachelor of Science – nurses with a Bachelor of Science (BSN) tend to have the best chance of securing nursing positions. With this option, expect 3-4 years of coursework and to have passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before practicing. There are plenty of nursing degree programs online for this.
  • An Associate Degree in Nursing – helps to build a foundational knowledge and for you to acquire the key skills needed. With 2-3 years of coursework, it’s the simplest form of higher education. Similarly, you’ll have to have passed the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX) before practicing.
  • Master of Science (MSN) – a higher-level degree for nursing, you are required to have passed the BSN beforehand. Offered on a part-time or full-time basis online or in person, it’s very customizable. Through MSN, you’ll learn higher skills and be able to focus on specific areas of nursing.
  • Accelerated Nursing Program – this option is suitable for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a different subject. You’ll need relevant coursework and to be aware that it’s very fast-paced and intensive. 

2. Obtaining a License

As mentioned above, after undertaking your formal degree, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX. Without this, you won’t be able to practice nursing in a practice. It’s vital to know that the licensing requirements vary by occupation, speciality and state – so always check to see what they are in your area. 

To obtain this, there are three popular exams you can undertake, including the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) exam. 

3. Choose What You Want to Specialize in 

Once you’ve graduated and obtained a license, it’s time to choose what you want to specialise in. This is something that should be done as early as possible, so that you can see what jobs are available in your area and if you require any further training for them. 

There are dozens of specialities of nursing, including Critical Care Nursing (working in trauma centers or critical care units), Neonatal Nursing (working directly with expectant mothers) and Clinical Nursing (overseeing the work of other nurses on the ward). 

4. Look For Employment

As aforementioned, nursing is one of the most popular careers. However, it’s always something that the world needs – therefore, there tends to be promising career prospects. 

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However, this will depend on the specific area that you’re looking in. spend some time looking at various job boards, crafting your CV and ensuring that you’re using the most suitable career networking sites.

5. Additional Nursing Training

If you want to progress your nursing career even further, then additional training is the way to go. Helping you to grow within your field, you can expect a higher salary and greater responsibility. With so many advanced training available, you’ll easily be able to find the right program for you.

Varying from short to long-term courses and available online, you’ll be able to complete them within a timeframe that suits you.


Bonus: Work Experience

Alongside your formal degrees, it’s worth undertaking work experience before you enter a nursing career. This will give you first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a nurse and whether it’s the right career for you. 

There are an abundance of volunteer positions available for young aspiring nurses – no matter what speciality you think you want to get into. Spend some time searching the web and messaging various hospitals to ask if they have anything available.

Once you’ve completed this experience, you’ll be able to showcase to future employers how it shaped your studies and what skills you gained throughout your time there. 

As well as volunteering, there are a selection of reputable internships available across the country and internationally – another way of demonstrating your determination and motivation in wanting to become a qualified nurse. Just keep in mind, however, that you won’t get paid for them.

Most Common Interview Questions You Could Be Asked

When applying for a nursing role, it’s important that you’re aware of the most common interview questions that your interviewer might ask. To assist with this, here is a handful of them:

  • Why do you feel that you’re qualified for the role?
  • Provide us with an example of when you had to deal with a difficult patient.
  • Why did you want to become a nurse?
  • What role do you see yourself in, in five years time?
  • What made you choose your specialized field of nursing?
  • What are the biggest issues that nurses typically face?
  • What work experience do you have in nursing?


Final Thoughts

So, there you go! Those are 5 essential steps that you should take to become a nurse. The degree, exams, experience, the speciality you take on, etc. is up to you. 

But whatever you choose to do, just know that you’re entering a fast-paced and rewarding field that you can thrive in for many years to come. It’s not an easy journey by any means – but one that when you get there, will be worth all of the time and effort that you put into it. 

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