Registered Nurse Programs: Are you planning on becoming a registered nurse? A registered nurse (RN) contributes immensely to the work of doctors and other nurses when it comes to delivering critical care to patients. If you intend to become an RN, the first thing is to get a nursing degree.
Thankfully, there are nursing programs, which offer you a chance to earn an associate’s degree for one of the most versatile roles in the healthcare industry.
Currently, there’s a high demand for RNs in the medical sector. Upon obtaining an associate degree from nursing programs, you’ll have no problems finding plenty of opportunities. But how do you get started, and what are the prospects for you?
Are you in school thinking of the best career path? Or are you already working in a hospital or a private business? Whatever the case, you’ll always find a wide variety of roles as a registered nurse.
An RN license provides you with endless opportunities for career growth in a chosen field. You can easily succeed as a nurse anesthetist, practical nurse, or specialist in other sub-disciplines.
Professional activities of nursing specialties vary. While all nursing practitioners have few core everyday tasks, the specific work location is the most significant deciding factor of these day-to-day activities. For instance, a school nurse will have a very different day from a nurse in nursing homes.
The role of a registered nurse varies quite a lot. Usually, your specific duties as an RN will depend on the department or field in which you’re working.
However, nursing schools do their best to prepare you for all possible areas. In general, registered nursing professionals perform a wide variety of tasks with patient-centered care.
Some tasks are consistent for most registered nursing positions. A typical RN carries out the following day-to-day responsibilities:
The RN is often mistaken for a licensed practical nurse or LPN, as they are popularly called. Even though the jobs differ quite significantly, they both prove vital in the nursing process.
LPNs report to RNs while performing entry-level duties. These less advanced duties include assisting with tests, taking vital signs, administering medications, helping patients with daily activities, and filling out medical records.
LPNs don’t need an associate degree in nursing to practice. Completion of a state-approved nursing program is all that’s required for an LPN position. Such programs typically take between 12 to 18 months to finish.
Prospective registered nurses need to pass an exam for licensing, and LPNs are no different. Successful completion of the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam is a prerequisite to obtaining a license.
Quite often, we find that nurses working as LPNs go back to school to become registered nurses. The latter role pays better and comes with more responsibilities, thus giving the practitioner a more rewarding career.
There are special nursing programs designed for nurses looking to earn an associate degree, which allows them to move from LPN to RN roles.
To become a registered nurse, you must invest a fair bit of time. Registered nurses need to hold a two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) to work legally.
As with most high-level education, prospective nurses must have a high school diploma to enter a nursing school. Both ADN and BSN programs are considered very renowned nursing programs.
If you’d like to pursue a more advanced role, becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is a good option. However, advanced nursing professionals must hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) postgraduate degree.
Many people don’t yet know what role they’d like to specialize in, so getting some practical experience before going for a BSN or master’s degree can be good. Roles such as nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and nurse practitioner all require an APRN license.
The cheapest and quickest way to get into the nursing profession is by acquiring an associate degree in nursing (ADN). By doing so, you can save funds to obtain a more advanced degree in the future while getting to know the job.
After graduating from a registered nurse program in an accredited school, nursing students must pass the NCLEX exam to get their license. The exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
To find out if you’re ready for entry-level nursing, you’ll need to take the test and answer at least 75 questions. If the result of the first round isn’t satisfactory, you may face up to 265 questions to pass.
The test covers topics relevant to the nursing industry. These topics include human body care, disease prevention and diagnosis, pharmacological therapies, and coping and adaptation.
You can find online sample tests to help pass your registered nurse license exams. Also, you can make use of NCLEX prep courses, accessible through several schools and companies.
After passing the exam, work is waiting. Following the exam, you need to apply for the registered nurse license in the state where you wish to work. Different states have different time-frames and fees, so make sure to do your research before applying.
Another option is the NLC (Nurse Licensure Compact), which allows the RN to work in several states. The initiative gives practitioners a multi-state license, which covers all states that are members of the alliance. As of 2021, 38 states have enacted the NLC, with five states pending legislation.
As online classes are becoming more popular, many schools are adapting quicker. Although nursing is a hands-on profession where you work practically with people, students can partake in online classes with their chosen nursing school from home.
Students study at their preferred location without losing the chance to get an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
The clinical training must be completed in a local medical setting, even though courses may be virtual. Hybrid nursing programs combining the two are ideal for RNs already in the industry and are striving to advance their careers.
Naturally, most programs are still taken in person. As the profession is person-oriented and loaded with practical work, virtual classes can only cover some parts of a nursing program. If you’re already working, you might be better off with night or weekend classes to earn your associate degree from a nursing program.
After earning your nursing degree, you can grow from being just a registered nurse. You get the chance to work in a more advanced role as an NP, a certified nurse midwife (CNM), or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Such advancement in your career will provide you with more knowledge and responsibility, in addition to a higher salary.
Different NP roles specialize in their respective healthcare field. Nurse practitioners fall under a general category of advanced practice, even though they also choose a specialization. An NP plays a significant part in the direct care of patients. What separates them from RNs is their skill set, which is more tailored for a unique area of patient treatment.
Nurse practitioners, being specialized and more skilled, get more responsibility than RNs. This responsibility confers on them more authority in the medical architecture but also requires more critical thinking. Although they report to physicians, some states allow nurse practitioners to work without the supervision of one.
As of now, 24 states allow full practice authority for NPs. The other states still require a medical doctor to sign off on specific patient care decisions. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, NPs can perform about 80-90% of primary physicians’ duties.
CNMs, or certified nurse midwives, specialize in pediatric nursing, prenatal and postnatal care, and gynecology. They can be found in hospitals and smaller healthcare settings. The work of a CNM is diverse but often focuses on reproductive health.
If you love babies, this is the job for you. Some duties of a nurse-midwife include helping with delivering babies, assisting patients with family planning, gynecological checkups and treatments, and prenatal care to pregnant mothers.
The role is quite similar to other healthcare professionals, such as OB-GYN doctors, but midwives often have a more traditional and natural approach to labor and birth. Read more about becoming a midwife: RN to Midwife Programs – Best CNM Nurse Midwifery Programs 
A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is found in intensive care units, operating rooms, and other surgical facilities.
In a clinical setting, critical care nurses are vital when it comes to making quick decisions. For a large part, they can work without supervision as they are very knowledgeable in their field. Other times, they report to surgeons, anesthesiologists, or other physician’s offices.
The work of CRNAs typically involves delivering dosages of anesthesia, calculating the patient’s response to it with prior health conditions in mind, identifying hazards such as allergies or overdoses, as well as educating patients on procedures involving anesthesia.
If you wish to enhance your nursing education and become an NP, it’s vital to decide your area of specialization. A registered nurse usually has a broader range of work but with no specialties. The difference between an RN and an NP is similar to that between LPNs and RNs.
As a nursing specialist, you’ll find increased responsibility and difficulty in tasks. Most people strive to be their best, and advancing your career with a specialization is only to your advantage.
Presently, there’s a high demand for knowledgeable registered nurses. It’s a profession where work never ends. Even though a higher level of education makes it easier to find employment, even LPNs find entry-level positions available worldwide. Hospitals are always looking for nurses to help provide the best health care possible.
Having a registered nursing license will guarantee you a job in pretty much any state. With advancements in technology, older nurses sometimes lack the latest input and skills required in the industry. A recently completed education alongside documented clinical experience is highly valued.
With the possibility of further education to become a nurse practitioner, you can be sure of a rewarding and challenging profession. There’s always a chance to specialize in more fields, thus providing more ways of increasing your salary to the desired level.
Even though RNs make quite a good salary as it is, NPs earn even more. Your salary will only depend on your level of ambition.
As of May 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the mean annual wage for a registered nurse is $80,010. This gives an RN an hourly wage of $38.47. Registered nurses in the lowest salary bracket earned $53,410 annually, while the RNs in the top bracket made more than £116,230.
Looking at different positions available in the registered nursing profession, we see that the salaries differ quite. Specialized nurse practitioners could increase their wages to as high as $181,040. Have a look at different reported salaries below:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – $181,040
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – $125,808
Cardiac Nurse Practitioner – $114,600
Orthopedic Nurse Practitioner – $113,500
Oncology Nurse Practitioner – $113,401
General Nurse Practitioner – $111,840
Family Nurse Practitioner – $110,690
Certified Nurse Midwife – $108,810
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – $107,600
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner -$107,400
Clinical Nurse Specialist – $106,028
Pain Management Nurse – $96,045
Nurse Administrator – $95,449
Gerontological Nurse Practitioner – $95,325
Clinical Research Nurse – $77,716
Outlook of the Registered Nursing Profession
In recent years, opportunities in the nursing profession have grown faster than what’s obtainable in other professions. Employment is of no issue for a registered nurse, and experts predict that employment in the profession will continuously grow at 12% per annum until 2028.
That would provide nurses with about 371,500 job openings for that period. The reasons for this impressive growth rate come from several factors. Hospitals need new workers as others retire or change professions. The population is aging, which creates a demand for services in the healthcare industry as medical issues typically arise as people age.
Looking at healthcare expectations, we discover that jobs are expected to be found in facilities that tend to older patients’ needs.
A registered nurse is never bereft of career opportunities. However, you’ll need necessary qualifications to get the license to practice. A two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) are the two common pathways to becoming a registered nurse.
These registered nurse programs are precursors to NCLEX licensing exams. After that, you can go ahead to have an illustrious career as a registered nurse. Better still, with more qualifications, you can climb up the ladder to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
The minimum duration of registered nurse training is two years. This registered nurse program earns you an associate’s degree in nursing. Many states are looking into requiring a full BSN degree. Such regulation will mean becoming a registered nurse would require four years of studies.
Currently, the salaries for RNs in the state of California are the highest. The profession pays as much as $113,240 annually, giving California-based nurses an hourly rate of $54.44.
Presently, the demand for nursing roles is very high. With job openings expected to keep growing at a rate of 12% per annum, jobs should be easy to find.
LPNs typically report to RNs and focus on entry-level tasks. A higher degree is needed for more expertise and responsibility.
According to recent stats, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists make up to $181,040 per year. This is higher than the average earning of any other nursing role.
The fastest way of becoming a registered nurse is by attending an accelerated BSN program. This takes about one year to complete, but getting your license can take several months extra.
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