To become an RN, or registered nurse, there are a number of training considerations to keep in mind. RN training can be done at a hospital, but usually nurses choose to earn a degree through a university. This degree must, however, include a practical or clinical aspect if you are to become a registered nurse with the correct level of qualification. There are also a number of specialist areas you could focus on in your training.
RN Training Overview
RN training can make you eligible to work in a variety of different settings, ranging from hands-on patient care, to school nursing, to legal consulting. Generally speaking it will take you about 4 years to complete a comprehensive RN program, although there are some longer options for students who cannot study full time and shorter options for students who already have an LPN qualification. During your NR training you will start off by studying general nursing courses. Later you will be given the opportunity to turn your attention towards more specialized nursing courses in specific topics. In addition to the theory knowledge you will gather in these courses your RN training program will usually end with a high concentration of clinical hands-on experience so that you have the opportunity to put what you have learned into practice and be assessed on your skills in the various areas of nursing. There are a number of skills that will help you in your RN training, such as being good at subjects like biology, math, and science, and having the right personality traits, including excellent communication skills, empathy, an ability to take direction form superiors, and the ability to work well in a team.
Training Requirements And Recommendations
There are a number of training requirements that you will need to meet to be an RN. Your educational options are:
- A diploma in nursing from a nursing program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
- An associate’s degree in nursing from a nursing program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
- A bachelor’s degree in nursing from a nursing program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
In addition to this educational requirement you will also need to hold an RN license as provided by your state board of nursing. Some employers prefer RNs with higher levels of education as well as with CPR certification.
Although you do have the diploma option as well, it is better to get an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing from a nursing program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) if you want to stand a higher chance of getting a good job in this industry. These programs are offered by vocational schools and community colleges, as well as some universities. Some RN specialties require you to go back to school in order to earn a master’s degree in the specialty. However, as associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees are more common, we will discuss those here. Note: if you are specifically interested in a management position, you will need to get a bachelor’s degree.
Associate Of Applied Science In Nursing
An associate of applied nursing is usually offered by one of the two following educational institutions:
- Junior colleges
- Community colleges
RN training that results in an associate’s degree usually includes the following subject matter (as well as hands-on clinical training):
- Client care
- Nursing skills
- Nursing jurisprudence
Once you have graduated with an associate’s degree you will have the options to apply to you state board of nursing for licensure. Receiving an RN license involves writing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for RN licensure. Once you have passed the exam and received your license, you need to renew that license on a regular basis in order to jeep it current.
Bachelor Of Science In Nursing
A bachelor’s degree will take four years to complete. Like the associate’s degree it is divided into a theoretical component and a practical component. Generally speaking the first two years will be spent on the theoretical side of the course while the last two years are spent more or less entirely in a clinical setting. The work that you will cover during the theoretical course will include, among other things, the following topics:
- Medical equipment use and maintenance
- Medical terminology
- Patient care techniques
The clinical part of the course will allow you to apply the knowledge you have gathered in a hands-on environment where you will be assessed on your capabilities by your instructors.
Job experience is a very important component of RN training and this s one of the main reasons why any RN training program includes a very large quantity of clinical hands-on experience. There are a number of places where an RN can do an internship (which is usually unpaid) to gather job experience. In many cases this internship will allow you to eventually transition into a position at the health care facility where you did the internship. The main places to find internships are:
- Some colleges and universities offer semester-long internships at health care facilities where you can shadow and observe current RNs.
- Some hospitals sometimes offer internships to recent nursing program graduates who have received their license.
Licenses And Certifications
The license that you need in all states to practice as an RN is the RN license, and this is earned by writing and passing the NCLEX-RN examination. To apply for this examination you need to first graduate from and accredited RN training program. Once you have graduated, you can apply for licensure from your state board of nursing. Requirements can vary from state to state so see what other requirements your particular state may have. If your application is confirmed you can set a date to write the exam. Once you pass you will be licensed. Additional certification needs to be obtained from bodies like the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing and the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing if you want to specialize in a particular area of the nursing field.
Workshops And Seminars
Workshops and seminars are additional RN training options for those RNs who want to keep up to date with current practices in nursing and who want to improve the patient care that they provide. Offered at locations such as resorts and hotels, these conferences and workshops are beneficial for two reasons:
- Usually they are required in order to maintain your RN license as most states state that RNs must present proof of a certain number of hours of continuing education before they can be relicensed.
- They are great opportunities to improve your skill level and boost your resume for your next job.
These are workshops offered specifically by the hospital that you work for. The topics offered at these workshops can vary tremendously, but they may include subjects such as:
- Ways to communicate better with patients
- Ways to resolve nursing issues
These in-house workshop[s exist to ensure that the level of nursing care provided by the facility is of the best quality. In some cases, but not in all, these workshops may count towards the continuing RN training credits that you need in order to renew your license on a regular basis. The workshops may be compulsory or they may be voluntary depending on the reasons for the workshop and the policies of the facility where you work.
Conferences are hosted by associations such as the American Nurses Association and they usually count towards continuing education credits. Although nurses are usually required to pay for the various fees involved with these conferences themselves, it is usually worth it. It also helps to boost your resume. Topics include subjects like:
- Personal development
- A specific area of nursing
Although topics can vary greatly they are usually specific to improving your skill set as an RN and creating a nursing force across the country that is able to provide the best and most up to date patient care. Attending these conferences whenever possible will give you a chance to network and broaden your career horizons.
Additional Professional Development
There is additional RN training available for nurses who would like to specialize in certain areas, such as midwifery or transplant nursing. This means that you will have the opportunity to advance your educational level and skill set, making you a more attractive candidate for employment and improving your salary as well as the professional respect that you will receive. Nurses who would like to focus on the academic side of nursing will also be able to advance their careers to reach this goal and nurses with a stronger focus on practical work will also have the opportunity to pursue a career with a specific focus on this aspect of nursing. With a little additional training there are few limits on your career opportunities.
RN Specialty Training
Dialysis training involves the “the process of purifying the blood in a person’s body that has been made toxic due to the malfunction of the kidneys”. This is just one of the many specialist areas that an RN can qualify in with some additional training. The training is very hands-on and will take approximately 40 to 50 hours of class time. This will improve your employment opportunities as well as your salary potential. Training is practical with the options of taking the certification exam offered by the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nurses and Technology (BONENT). This is not compulsory in most states but it will improve your job opportunities to have certification of this kind.
Operating Room Training
There are several Perioperative certificate and degree programs that will allow you to become an RN with specialization in the operating room environment. There is a voluntary certification examination that you can complete if you meet the following requirements:
- A registered nursing license
- The completion two years and 2,400 hours of nursing experience in an operating room.
This certification will only last for five years. There are three recertification options available, namely:
- A recertification exam, OR
- Achieving a specific number of contact hours, OR
- Creating a professional portfolio that meets the required standards
Although certification is not compulsory, it is highly recommended because many employers will choose a certified RN candidate over a non-certified RN candidate.
RNs can also engage in additional training that renders them eligible to work as ICU nurses. ICU stands for Intensive Care Unit and this is the department in a health care facility where the most critical patients are cared for. This path first requires that you become an RN with an RN license. This is not negotiable. Following the acquisition of this license you will then be in a position where you will be able to attend additional training classes and become an ICU nurse. There are several advantages to this training, namely the fact that you could receive excellent benefits. There is a shortage of nurses with this specialization and consequently facilities offer huge incentives to attract professionals with expertise in this area.
Apart from the three specialties mentioned above you can also receive RN training in a variety of other areas including transplant nursing, neonatal nursing, medical surgical nursing, emergency and trauma nursing, as well as wound ophthalmic continence nursing. All specialties will include additional RN training on top of the basic nursing training that you would have already completed in order to qualify to specialize in a specific area of the health care industry. Online RN training is an available option for nurses who do not have a lot of time or money, but this training needs to be treated with caution as there are a number of online RN training programs out there that are not accredited.