If you want to become a registered nurse (RN), then there is no better time than now. Accredited online nursing degree programs offer you the flexibility to obtain your degree while you work full-time, at your own pace, and from anywhere you have internet access. Plus, the job outlook for registered nurses as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 19 percent growth for the next ten years, with an average pay of $65,000. Hospitals and other healthcare careers offer great benefits and retirement packages as well.
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In order to become a registered nurse, you will have to obtain either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The ADN is typically a two-year program and is the fastest and most common route. Each program will prepare you take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) so that you can apply for licensure in your state. Keep in mind that you will have to take a certain amount of continuing education courses because the NCLEX-RN exam is administered periodically depending on your state to ensure you are up-to-date with any changes in the nursing field.
Many students decide to obtain an ADN in order to become an entry-level nurse and then use their employer’s tuition assistance program to obtain a BSN or higher level of education. However, licensure requirements can vary from state to state, so it is important to be sure the educational program you undergo will meet local requirements and is an approved nursing program. Depending on how much education you want to achieve, some schools offer a master’s degree in nursing as well.
During your program you will learn about what it takes to be a compassionate, effective, and hardworking nurse in any healthcare setting. Typical classes include legal and ethical healthcare, medicine, nursing technology, microbiology, nutrition, diseases and illnesses, patient care, anatomy, and psychology. You will also learn other skills including research and evidence-based practice, business principles, IT, oral and written communications, and mathematics. Some educational programs also let you focus your area of study in specialties like emergency care, pediatrics, and gerontology.
Registered nurses work in many different areas besides hospitals and primary care facilities, including outpatient facilities, rehab centers, home healthcare, and basically anywhere that requires a licensed nurse to oversee and perform procedures. Experienced nurses can work up in their career to become a nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and many more higher-level job titles within the healthcare industry as well. Continuing your education in order to qualify for promotions and ensuring your remain competitive in your career will pay dividends for you and your family far into retirement. Whether you want to help children or the elderly, becoming a registered nurse is a very rewarding career.