Upgrading To An RN Degree

Because an RN hold a senior position over other nurses in the medical world, it goes without saying that they need more training and part of this training is obtaining an RN degree. There are many ways of doing this, but you should be sure that the program you enroll in has the stamp of approval from the Department of Health so that you don’t spend money on a degree you cannot use.

What To Expect From Your Course

The RN degree forms the foundation of your career in the nursing field and there are three ways of doing this namely:

  • Associate’s degree in nursing
  • Bachelor’s in nursing degree
  • National Licensing Examination (NCLEX-RN)

Associate’s Degree In Nursing

This degree can take between two and three years to complete and gives you an opportunity for an entry level position that offers many benefits and opens up the doors to higher degrees as well. This degree is usually the most popular because it doesn’t take so long to complete and students can graduate quicker and enter the job market a lot quicker than with the other degrees. Having an associate’s degree in nursing also counts towards the credits for your Bachelor’s degree in nursing and the nurse can gain valuable practical experience in the field while studying.

Bachelor’s In Nursing Degree

The next step after obtaining the Associate’s degree would be to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. This degree is also obtained by earning credits through your associate’s degree and on the job training as well. Many of these degrees are available with flexible schedules and class rosters to make it easier for nurses to study and work at the same time. There are also many online bachelor’s degree programs available.RN Degree

National Licensing Examination

The National Licensing Examination (NCLEX-RN) is essential for a registered nurse to complete in order to have a license to practice. Without completing this examination the nurse’s chances of employment drop drastically and the chances of being able to move forward in your career will also be diminished.

All of these courses can be done by attending classes at a campus, by going to night school or by doing an online accredited course. The type of course you choose will mostly depend on what will be most convenient with your work schedule.

Requirements For Doing A Nursing Degree

Before enrolling for an RN degree there are a few rules and regulations to be aware of.

Academic Standards

In order for you to pass your degree in nursing you would have to show your determination and commitment to your patients. The best way to start doing this is by keeping your grades up to standard.

In order to continue on the program, you will have to keep a 2.0 average across your subjects, which is a fair grade to maintain when you are dedicated to becoming a nurse.


When you are doing an online course, the attendance is not really taken into account, but you need to make sure that you spend enough time on each subject and each module that is being handled, especially when you are attending class. Each credit that you earn during your degree is equated to an amount of hours that you should spend on that module.

The hours to credit ratio is usually about three to one. This means that for every credit you will be receiving for the module, you need to spend three hours of studying and work. When you are spending time in class, you are working towards your hours for your credit and if you are doing the degree through the Internet, you need to spend the same amount of time working through your textbooks and doing research as your would have done if you were attending classes at a campus.

Withdrawing From The Course

If you decide that the degree is not what you wanted to do, that you have too many other responsibilities or you want to stop the course for any other reason, you will need to give notice of your intent. The department of nursing has extended the dates for withdrawal from courses and these withdrawal dates depend on the type of course you are attending.


Examinations are done for the degree on predetermined dates. When you enroll for the program, you will be notified of when the examinations will take place and the venue for the examination will be confirmed closer to the date. It is very important to keep to these dates and to make sure your schedule is cleared on these dates to attend the examination.

Should you not be able to be at the examination on the determined date, you will need to give your instructor or the invigilator proper notice before the date of the exam and confirm why you will not be able to attend the examination on the date. The instructor will then decide whether a make-up exam will be given to you based on the merit of your excuse and the notice period that was given to the instructor of your absence from the examination.

It is prudent to go through the examinations in order to obtain your degree regardless of which type of degree or which type of course you are attending. The examinations will determine whether you are ready to be sent out into the nursing field and if you are competent enough to obtain your degree.

What Can Make You Fail Regardless Of Your Marks

Being a nurse is about more than just the knowledge of the working environment and the human body. There are many other aspects that need to be taken into consideration when you are a nurse.

Physical Jeopardy

Should a nurse do anything that would threaten the well-being of a patient, they are considered as being in physical jeopardy. This could include not maintaining a safe and hygienic environment and not doing everything possible to contain the threat of the spread of disease. A nurse needs to keep themselves and the patients safe from infection and re-infection at all times.

Any change in a patient’s physical condition needs to be reported to the physician in charge of the patient or on duty as well. Should a student fail to observe the correct procedures, they will fail the course.

Even though the student is still practicing and learning, they have to consider each practical exercise as a real medical emergency and if they show any aggression towards the imagined patient or they do not observe the correct use of restraints to secure the patient without hurting them, the discretion could lead to failing the course.

Giving patients the incorrect information or advice can also lead to them injuring or killing themselves and this is also a great risk to the safety of the patient. The student needs to show knowledge of how to convey information to patients in the correct manner and the knowledge that they can only give informational material to patients that is approved and that is applicable to their condition. Any unauthorized informational material may cause greater harm than good.

Emotional Jeopardy

There are ways to harm another person without laying a hand on them. This is considered emotional jeopardy and can be just as dangerous as physical jeopardy.

Not keeping the information of a patient confidential is a very serious offence as it is in breach of the patient’s human rights. Keeping a patient’s information private is very important and can lead to you losing your job and not being able to work in the industry ever again.

Threatening a patient for which ever reason and in which ever circumstances is a very serious violation as well. A nurse needs to be compassionate and empathetic towards patients in all circumstances and at all times regardless of the patient’s treatment of the nurse.

A situation which is as seemingly innocent as a nurse not being able to control their own anxiety properly can put a patient in jeopardy and will cause a nurse to fail the course. A nurse needs to be in control of the situation. If the nurse is in a state of panic, then the patient could start to stress and this could lead to the distressed patient going into shock and losing their life.

Health And Safety Regulations Of Nursing Schools

Just as in the hospital situation, there is a level of safety that needs to be maintained when going on course. These standards must be upheld as if in the hospital situation. If the health requirements are not met by the student then they will not be allowed to enter the clinical area and can also be prohibited from entering the nursing program.

The nursing student needs to obtain a Tuberculoses clearing. Tuberculosis is highly contagious and can be spread by air which makes it all the more dangerous. If a nursing student does not pass the TB test, they will not be able to practice until they have been cleared. The threat of spreading the disease to patients and other nursing staff is too great.
The student and nurse’s Hepatitis B inoculations will also need to be up to date. The possibility for a nurse to get this disease accidentally from a patient is very great and it is one of the occupational hazards of being a nurse. Proof will have to be supplied of the inoculations being up to date. If they are not, the student or nurse will have to get these inoculations up to date.

Each student is required to have a Tetanus injection as well if they have not had one in the past ten years. Tetanus is spread through blood and a nurse comes into contact with the blood of their patients on a daily basis. Accidental exposure is a very real possibility in this line of study and work.

Because students have to complete a certain amount of on-the-job training they will need professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves against lawsuits from patients. This cover is essential for students and nurses as well in order to work with patients. Without this insurance, the student will not be allowed to do any practical work on patients and will then not be able to complete the relevant modules or credits to pass the course successfully.

Health insurance is also compulsory for nurses. If you do not have health insurance, the chances increase of you not going to the doctor when you need to and serious conditions can go undetected for too long which can then be spread to your patients. It is better to be covered properly to protect yourself as well as your patients.
Another requirement for enrolling in an RN program is a CPR qualification. A nurse and student nurse should be competent and fully versed with all types of CPR on different kind of patients. These certificates have to be current and need to be kept up to date throughout the time of the course.


After the degree course has been completed it is important that the student request their transcripts and sends it to the Board of Nursing soon after graduation. The board will then give you information about the NCLEX-RN and how and when to register for this examination.

The Board of Nursing will decide which of the nurses who apply will qualify to take the examination. For this reason you have to apply as soon as possible after graduation so that all of the relevant deadlines are met.

You can apply to write your NCLEX-RN in another state if you intent to work in a state other than the one you did your studies in. The application needs to be submitted in writing and you will then be notified whether your application has been approved or not.

On The Road To A Better Future

To become the best RN that you can be and to climb the ladder to a better career, it is important to go through the process of getting your RN degree. You will be able to work without this degree, but the choices going forward are often limited.

Leave a Reply