The following article is a guest post.
If you have no idea what you want to do, but are pretty sure you want to be in the medical field, becoming a registered nurse (RN) might be the right path for you.
With the healthcare industry constantly in flux, there is always a need for qualified registered nurses. You will be offering care directly to patients, while working alongside nurse practitioners and doctors.
Though it may seem like a daunting career to get started in, don’t worry, there is actually a step-by-step process that you can follow to get you through.
However, make sure after reading this to check with the state you live in, as the state requirements may vary slightly.
1. Get an Education.
Obviously, the first step to becoming a registered nurse is to go through nursing school, which oftentimes you can apply for right out of high school.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can look into accelerated programs that shoot straight into being a nurse practitioner (which is like the middleman between being a registered nurse and a doctor).
Check out the RN school at GMercyU for a good idea of what you can expect and how to achieve your goals.
2. Choose Your Path.
Once you decide that this is the career path you want, you have to decide how far you actually want to go in terms of schooling.
You can go for an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), both of which offer fantastic career opportunities despite their difference.
If you choose to get an Associate Degree in Nursing, you can expect to be in school for two years, which means that you can jump into a job much quicker than if you go after a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
That said, if you ever plan on advancing in your career, you will probably eventually have to go back for a BSN, which takes an additional two years, so you almost may as well get everything done at once.
3. Become a Graduate.
Easier said than done, we know. Nursing school can be incredibly difficult and life as a student is stressful.
While in school, you will essentially be walking through exactly what it will be like once you are in the workforce, so you can expect to be practicing everything from collecting a patient’s medical history to using syringes (don’t worry, you start out on silicon bags and rubber dolls before moving onto actual people).
You will be moving seamlessly from classroom settings with written tests to working in labs to eventually getting to clinical internships.
By the time to you get to the internship phase, you will be fully prepared for real on-the-job work.
But you’re not done yet! All of the schooling and on-the-job learning is meant to prepare you for the next step.
4. Ace the NCLEX-RN Exam.
Okay, so you passed your classes with flying colors, nailed your internship hours and walked away with either an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
All done, right? Nope.
Hate to break it to you, but now you have to ace the NCLEX-RN exam, which is the last hoop that everyone has to jump through in order to actually get a job as a registered nurse.
Before you can take it, you have to apply to your state board for permission. Once they give the thumbs up, you can schedule it yourself.
State rules differ, but some allow you to apply to take it before you even graduate, but you still won’t be able to take it until you’ve finished school. Some states may let you start working with a temporary permit while you are waiting to take the test.
As daunting as the actual exam is (there may be 250 questions, ranging from detailed nursing questions to exercises meant to gauge your critical thinking skills), there are plenty of tools to help you get through it.
A quick search on the internet will reveal plenty of practice tests and study tools, so you can prepare yourself.
Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time prior to testing day to fully prepare, because although last minute study sessions may have pulled you through a few tests in nursing school, they won’t help you with the NCLEX-RN exam.
After all, this is the last hurdle, so why take the risk of blowing it?