Guide to Becoming a Nurse in America

July 18, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A nurse’s job is both rewarding and exciting. In addition to medical care, a registered nurse also provides much needed emotional support as well as basic care related education to patients. Moreover, the projection is that there will be a 26% growth from 2010 to 2020 in the demand for nurses in the U.S. This growth rate is faster than most jobs. If you are considering becoming a nurse in the U.S. there are certain requirements that you will be required to meet.

Qualifying as a Registered Nurse

There are three ways to qualify to be Registered Nurse, after which you can apply for entry-level nurse positions:

 -Complete a BSN- Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

-Complete an ADN- Associate Degree in Nursing

-Complete a Diploma Program in any hospital.

On a nursing placement in Africa

If you have an Associate Degree, you can later opt to enter a Bachelor’s program. This will add to your future educational and career opportunities.

If you have a primary degree in any other field you can choose to do a Bachelor of Science Degree in any nursing program. Some universities also offer transfer credits to those who may have completed some modules in any other science degree program. These transfer credits are always given at the discretion of individual universities.



Curriculum of Registered Nursing Programs 

All registered programs comprise of classroom training as well as block experience in clinics or hospitals. Typically, the subjects that student nurses will study include:








-Behavioral Sciences

In the practical block of your education as a student nurse, you will be supervised in a hospital department and will generally be rotated around departments such as pediatrics, maternity, psychiatry and surgery.


Qualifying To Be A Nurse 

In the past, most nurses qualified for their jobs via diploma programs. Today, advances in nursing practices have also changed the qualification requirements and a large percentage of nurses qualify via completion of an associate or bachelor degree program. After you have acquired your degree or diploma, you will then have to obtain a nursing license, which involves taking a national licensing examination called the NCLEX-RN.

Gap Medics students on placement

The NCLEX-RN is a computer-based test that has been designed to measure the knowledge and skills of potential nurses. The test asks between 75-265 questions. The larger the number of questions you get right, the faster you move through the required levels. Answering a question wrong will mean that you will have to stay at that particular level until such time that you prove that you have the knowledge to move through to the next level. There is also a time limit for the test. Student Nurses are allocated six hours to take this test.


Additional Qualifications

Earlier, many state laws required that a qualified nurse would have to take an additional license examination in order to work in a state apart from the one that they had qualified in. Today this is obsolete as most states have entered into “The Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement”, which gives licensed nurses permission to practice in any of the member-states without the need for any additional license.