Registered nurses make up a huge percentage of the healthcare workforce. They hold positions in hospitals, doctor’s offices, urgent care centers, and nursing homes. RNs can have many different specializations and work in many different parts of the medical field. If you are thinking about becoming an RN, here are the steps you should take.
Start Planning Early for Your RN Career
There are many pathways to nursing, and no single one is the right way to go. Do you want to become a CNA first and get a feel for the medical field? Do you want to enroll in an accelerated program, or work through a four-year bachelor’s degree? These are just a few of the first steps that people take on their journeys to be an RN one day. No matter how you start, do it sooner rather than later. Nursing is a competitive field, and many schools require prerequisites as well as certain grade point averages. Your pathway to being a registered nurse starts with doing well in high school.
Deciding on a Nursing School to Eventually Become an RN
Once you decide what path to nursing you are going to take, the next step is to choose a school. There are many great nursing programs all over the country. You could choose one that’s close to home or near a hospital where you hope to work in one day. However you chose to look for schools, start the application process early. It is a good idea to apply to multiple colleges so you have backups, especially if you are enrolling in competitive four-year programs.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Whether you choose to get a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or complete an accelerated nursing program, your education will include both classroom instruction and hands-on experience. All nursing programs require students to complete clinical studies. This is a great time to get a feel for the workplace and determine what type of medical setting you want to work in.
Pass the Test and Get Licensed
Even after you graduate from nursing school, you can’t jump right into the workforce just yet. You have to take the National Council Licensure Examination, shortened as NCLEX, first. This exam determines whether or not you are ready to begin practice as an RN. The NCLEX has mostly multiple choice questions that make you apply your knowledge from school to hypothetical situations.
Once you have passed the NCLEX, you can receive your nursing license. RNs are required to be licensed in order to work. You can apply for your nursing license and complete the paperwork before your exam, but you won’t receive it until after you pass the test.
Find a Job
After all that, you are a licensed RN. The only thing left to do is find a job. Registered nurses are needed in a variety of places in the healthcare field. You can choose to work in a specialty position. There are many different specialties to choose from, many of which require further training and education. Some specialties can be learned on the job, while others require advanced degrees. Many RNs choose to specialize, both because they are passionate about that area and specialty nurses make more money.
Looking for an RN position?
If you have recently become a licensed RN and are looking for a job, CynaMed can help. They are a premier healthcare staffing agency that make your job goals their job goals. CynaMed helps connect high quality nurses with positions at top medical facilities in the greater Pittsburgh area. Call (412) 325-3420 to get assistance with your job hunt today.