How to Become a Registered Nurse

Are you looking for an exciting and fulfilling career where you are in a fast-paced environment, caring for patients, and assisting physicians? If so, a role as a registered nurse could be exactly what you’re looking for.

In this guide, we’ll look at everything you need to know about a career as a registered nurse, including what the role is, the responsibilities, and the requirements to become one.

What is a Registered Nurse?

A registered nurse is a licensed medical professional who provides care to patients and educates them regarding health conditions. Registered nurses can work in a wide variety of settings, from hospitals and private practice offices to nursing homes and schools. Registered nurses collaborate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to administer physical examinations, record patient history, and develop care plans. Registered nurses also help to educate patients and their families on how to manage their condition.

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?

Since registered nurses might work in several different environments, the responsibilities that fall to them can differ depending on what’s needed. Common responsibilities for registered nurses include:

  • Providing patients with medication and treatments
  • Operating medical equipment
  • Recording and updating patient’s health records and medical history
  • Ordering and evaluating diagnostic tests

Becoming a Registered Nurse

To become a registered nurse, you must first obtain specific degrees and certifications. Those wishing to become a registered nurse need to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. While associate degrees take less time to receive, RNs with bachelor’s degrees often obtain jobs with preferred placement and higher initial salaries.

Registered Nurse Certifications

In addition to a degree, RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam. This exam takes up to five hours and consists of anywhere from 85 to 150 questions. RNs must also obtain licensure from the state in which they intend to practice. Requirements vary by state. You can find the different state requirements here.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Registered Nurse?

The length it takes to become a registered nurse can vary, largely depending on which degree you choose to pursue. For those who obtain a bachelor’s degree, the process takes roughly four years. Alternatively, associate degrees typically take two years to complete. In addition to the time it takes to earn a degree, you must also consider the amount of time it takes to pass the NCLEX-RN certification exam and to receive any required licensures from the state.

If a career as a registered nurse sounds like something you’d like to pursue, you can find our wide selection of registered nurse jobs on our RN jobs page.

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