Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (2023)

Steps to Becoming a Nurse

The first step to becoming a nurse is getting a solid education, whether you hope to be a licensed practical or vocational nurse (LPN/LVN), registered nurse (RN), or administrator. Every state and the District of Columbia require students to graduate from an accredited nursing program to become licensed.

  • Step 1:

Choose a Nursing Path

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (1)

Nursing can take you in many directions, from starting out as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or staff nurse to working your way up to nurse administrator.

When choosing your career path, think about the type of work environment you prefer. For example, RNs can be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices,andother medical settings, but certified nursing assistants often work in nursing homes. What type of setting will inspire you most?

You should also consider what role you want to play. If you want to support medical staff as part of a team, a CNA or LPN/LVN could suit you well. If you want to manage other nurses and assistants or oversee systems, a career as an RN or advanced practice nurse is likely a good fit.

Because there are so many facets to healthcare, nurses often specialize in certain areas, such as geriatrics or critical care. If you have a passion for a certain type of nursing, consider the type of education you’ll need to get there.

  • Step 2:

Earn a Degree

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (2)

The career path you’re interested in pursuing will typicallydictate the type ofnursing degree you’ll need. Nursing programs include classroom instruction as well as clinical experience. Clinical training will allow you to gain hands-on knowledge, ask questions in real-life scenarios, and connect with nurses. The experience will also give you the chance to observe how a medical facility runs.

Before choosing a program, determine how nursing school will fit into your busy life. If your program is on campus, will you have time to get there? Many bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing can be earned online, with clinical requirements completed in a medical setting in your community.

Before you choose a program, determine how nursing school will fit into your busy life.

If you want to become an RN, an associate’s degree program takes less time to complete, allowing you to enter the workforce sooner. The downside? Employers may be more apt to hire a nurse with a bachelor’s degree because they have a more in-depth education. However, plenty of nurses with ADNs go on to earn higher degrees, often with the help of tuition reimbursement from their employer.

Here are the types of nursing degrees available:

  • Nursing diplomas » Community colleges and vocational schools
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) » Community colleges
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Available at colleges and universities
  • Master of Science in Nursing (BSN) » Colleges and universities
  • Doctoral degrees (DNP, ND,PhD, DNSc) » Colleges and universities
  • Step 3:

Get Licensed

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (3)

Once you complete your education, you’ll need to take an exam to demonstrate your knowledge and nursing skills.Nurses also need to be licensedto practice, and exams are the prerequisite to licensing.

Nursing Position

Education, Exams, Licenses Required

Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

Pass a state competency exam; earn a state license

Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

Complete a state-approved certificate program; pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), earn a state license

Registered nurse (RN)

Complete a nursing diploma, ADN, or BSN; pass the NCLEX-RN; earn a state license

Nurse practitioner (NP)

Complete an MSN; pass the NCLEX-RN and a national certification exam administered by a professional organization such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center, or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; earn a state license

Nurse midwife (CNM)

Complete an MSN; pass the NCLEX-RN and pass the national certification exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) if required for licensure in your state; earn a state license

Nurse anesthetist (CNA)

Complete an MSN, but DNP if matriculating after 1/1/2022; pass the NCLEX-RN and the certification exam administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists; earn a state license

  • Step 4:

Become a Lifelong Learner

With new technologies and treatments, the healthcare industry is constantly evolving. Working on the front lines of healthcare requires nurses to stay informed and educated so they can remain effective as their responsibilities change. Nurses who pursue their careers from the perspective of lifelong learners can take advantage of new opportunities and roles as they arise.

  • Take continuing education courses:Nurses are required to complete continuing education courses, usually every two years. Check with your state nursing board for requirements.
  • Get certified:If you decide to specialize in a certain area of nursing, consider earning professional certification. This cements your commitment to the field and demonstrates your skill set to employers.
  • Earn an advanced degree:Earning a master’s degree may qualify you for a career as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, and certified nurse anesthetist.

Levels of Nursing

There are few careers that offer the number of opportunities for advancement and specialization as nursing. And, as more patients look for specialized approaches, nurses can fill this demand with more education, which may lead to a higher salary.

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (4)

Entry-Level Nursing

Entry-level nursing offers several career paths. Bridge programs, such as LPN-to-RN and RN-to-BSN pathways, also often allow nurses to apply previous education and experience toward the degree they want to earn. Which one suits your goals?

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Job duties:
CNAs help patients with daily tasks, such as bathing and feeding. They also answer patient calls, clean rooms, and are responsible for recording information and reporting issues to a nurse.

Degree needed:
Post-secondary certificate or diploma (4–12 weeks)

Median annual salary:

Become a CNA if:
You want to join the nursing field quickly and gain valuable on-the-job experience.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

Job duties:
Under the supervision and instruction of an RN, LPNs—also called licensed vocational nurses in California and Texas—provide patients with basic care, including dressing, changing bandages, and bathing. Some LPNs are permitted to administer medication but this depends on state regulations.

Degree needed:
Certificate or diploma (1 year)

Median annual salary:

Become an LPN if:
You want to work in nursing sooner rather than later, but hope to become an RN one day. Many RN degree programs give credit for LPN experience.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Job duties:
RNs coordinate patient care, administer medication, assist doctors with exams and surgeries, educate patients, promote wellness, and manage other nurses and LPNs. While you can become an RN with a nursing diploma or an ADN, more employers prefer BSN-educated nurses, especially in acute hospital settings.

Degree needed:
Associate’s (2 years) or bachelor’s (4 years)

Median annual salary:

Become an RN if:
You’re interested in a diverse work experience, potential career growth, and further educational opportunities.

Advanced Nursing

Advanced nursing programs require students to hold a bachelor’s degree before enrolling. Many students earn their BSN from one school and attend a different school for their MSN.

However, bridge programs allow students to earn the education of two degrees at the same timefroma single school. An RN-to-MSN curriculum is designed in a way that students who are already registered nurses can receive their undergraduate education first and then move on to MSN courses.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Job duties:
Nurse anesthetists work with patients before, during, and after medical procedures to manage pain. They determine the amount and type of anesthesia needed—general, local, or regional—as well as the method for administering anesthesia.

Degree needed:
Master’s degree (2 years); All students matriculating into a nurse anesthetist program after January 1, 2022,must be enrolled in a doctoral program. This is because a doctoral education will be required for nurse anesthesia practice by 2025.

Median annual salary:

Become a nurse anesthetist if:
You want to work as part of a team under the supervision of doctors, or independently, depending on the laws of your state.

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

Job duties:
Nurse midwives provide prenatal, postpartum, and newborn care, guiding and supporting women throughout their pregnancy. Nurse midwives also educate women and families about health and wellness. If major complications arise, you’ll refer women to a physician.

Degree needed:
Master’s degree (2 years)

Median annual salary:

Become a nurse midwife if:
You want to specialize in healthcare for women and infants.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Job duties:
NPs serve as primary care providers to patients of all backgrounds and can diagnose illnesses and prescribe medication. They also educate patients about preventive care. In some states, NPs can practice independently without physician oversight, allowing them to open their own offices.

Degree needed:
Master’s degree (2 years); a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) will be required by 2025

Median annual salary:

Become a nurse practitioner if:
You’re interested in providing more comprehensive care to patients.

Nursing Informatics

Job duties:
Training other nurses on new technology is just one part of nursing informatics. You’ll also spend time on system development, quality control, and finding new ways to use data. Patient confidentiality is key, as is efficiency in the workplace.

Degree needed:
Bachelor’s (4 years) or master’s (2 years)

Median annual salary:
$99,270 for clinical informatics coordinators, as part of the larger group of computer systems analysts

Become a nurse informatics specialist if:
You want to combine your tech-savviness with an advanced nursing career.

Nurse Leadership / Nurse Administration

Job duties:
From creating work schedules to managing finances, nurse administrators juggle many responsibilities. You’ll manage nursing staff, but also analyze services, look for ways to cut costs, and monitor the use of resources.

Degree needed:
Bachelor’s (4 years) or master’s (2 years)

Median annual salary:
$101,340 for medical and health services managers

Become a nurse administrator if:
You want to be instrumental in improving patient care while managing the business side of a medical facility.

Salary source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2021

Career Changes Within Nursing

Nursing is infamously rewarding and challenging at the same time. After years of bedside care, some nurses look for a career switch within the field. Often, going back to school is the way to make a change.

  • Specialize: Earning a master’s degree allows you to choose a specialty such as midwifery. If an MSN isn’t what you’re looking for, you can enroll in a certificate program, which takes less time to complete. You can choose from a variety of specialty certificates.
  • Teach: If you enjoy guiding new nurses in the workplace, you might be a good fit as a nurse educator. Colleges and universities hire nurses who hold a master’s or doctorate to teach nursing courses.
  • Research: A Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of NursingScience(DNSc)qualifies you to work in medical research. Your work could help make advances in the nursing profession.

Move to Nursing from Another Career with an Accelerated BSN

Accelerated BSNs are designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.

You want to become a nurse, but your background is in finance. No problem. Not all RNs start out in nursing. Motivated by job dissatisfaction, salary, or other reasons, some people change careers and head back to school to earn a bachelor’s in nursing. But what if you don’t have the time and money to invest in another four years of school?Enter the accelerated BSN.

Accelerated BSNs are designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.

While you may have to complete certain science and math prerequisites, accelerated BSN students aren’t required to take general education courses again. Instead, the accelerated program (usually about 18 months) focuses solely on nursing skills. Studentsgraduate with a BSNand should be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN.

Job Outlook for Nurses

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2020 there are 3,080,100 registered nurses in the United States. Yet there’s still room for more.

Registered nurses can begin their careers with an ADN or BSN. While both degrees qualify you for RN licensure and a wide range of positions in hospitals and other healthcare settings, a BSN provides a broader education and can position you for roles in nursing management.

The BLS predicts that the RN workforce will grow by 195,400 jobs by 2031. Since the BLS includes nurses who have ADNs, BSNs, and MSNs in their reports on RNs, the expected opportunities extend across many roles. Opportunities will also expand as more than one million nurses reach retirement age over the next 10 to 15 years, according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

195,400 RN Jobs Will Be Added to the Workforce By 2031

Factor in the number of nurses who will retire and leave the field during this time and the projected workforce in 2031 will be


Here’s a look at some factors that could impact the nursing job market in the foreseeable future.

Positive FactorsNegative Factors
More Jobs: Nursing shortages exist in some areas of the country.Fewer Jobs: Nursing surpluses exist in some parts of the country.
Opportunities in a wide range of workplaces means more employment options across the length of a nursing career.There are many steps to becoming a nurse. Nurses must meet education and clinical hour requirements, pass the NCLEX-RN, and meet state-specific criteria to qualify for nursing jobs before they can pursue employment.
Baby boomers are living longer, creating a larger population of patients who need more complex care.Nurses delay retirement as adults stay healthier longer and work past traditional retirement ages.
Specialized nursing is growing, allowing nurses to pursue areas of interest within their existing careers without losing the benefits of their work experience.A limited number of clinical sites and a shortage of nurse educators means that admission to nursing schools in some areas is competitive and not everyone will get in, even if they qualify.

Where Should You Look for Job Growth?

The American Nurses Association (ANA) says there are opportunities for growth in community-based care, geriatrics, informatics, and care coordination. Healthcare initiatives have also fueled growth in areas, including disease management, primary care, prevention, and wellness.

Want to make yourself more marketable?
Here are a few tips.

  • Learn another language:Many hospitals need nurses who speak more than English, with Spanish being the second language in highest demand.
  • Get certified:If you haveexpertise in a specialized area, earn professional certification.
  • Be flexible:Be open to working for different employers, even if you have your heart set on one in particular. The experience you gain could be valuable.

How to Find Nursing Jobs

Once you’ve graduated from school, you’ll want to find your first job as a nurse. Many nursing programs offer career counseling to help you identify potential employers, prepare your resume and ace the interview. It’s important to note that new nurses can face hurdles since employers often look for experienced staff.


Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (5)

In most careers, including nursing, you can improve your chances of getting the job you want by networking with established professionals in your field. Start by joining your local chapter of theANA and attend chapter events. Connect with other nurses and, if there’s a job opening at their workplace, they might think of you first.

In most careers, including nursing, you can improve your chances of getting a job by making connections with established professionals in your field.

Specialized nursing associations, such as the Emergency Nurses Association or the National Association of School Nurses, also have local chapters. Another networking option:Joina registered nurse meetup in your area.

Find States with Nursing Needs

Research shows that some states will have nursing shortages in the coming years, while others will have surpluses. Moving to an area that needs nurses may potentially open doors to job opportunities.

The BLS projects 195,400 RN job openings through 2031, though the opportunities won’t be evenly distributed across the country. States with the highest number of employment during this period include California (307,060), Texas (219,330), Florida (183,130), New York (178,550), and Pennsylvania (146,640).

Military Nursing Jobs

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (6)

The military is another avenue nurses can take as they build their career. Possible areas to consider in the military include critical care nursing, OBGYN nursing, family nurse practitioner, and public health nursing.

As a military nurse on active duty, you may work overseas, on a ship, or on a base. You can also choose to enlist in the reserves. This allows you to continue working at home and only serve when you’re needed. Concerned about how you’ll pay off your nursing school loans? As a nurse in the military, you may qualify for loan repayment.

Become a Healthcare Volunteer

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (7)

Volunteering is another networking opportunity. You’ll not only get experience working with patients, you’ll also meet other healthcare professionals.

If you plan to choose a nursing specialty, look for volunteer opportunities in that area. While you won’t be paid for your time, treat the experience as you would a job. Making a good impression could mean a career connection in the future.

Make Connections During Clinicals

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (8)

When it’s time for you to complete clinical rounds during school, you’ll likely be assigned to a hospital where you’ll shadow a nurse (preceptor). During this period, be an attentive learner with a positive attitude. Make connections with your preceptor and even their managers. If a position opens up, they may be more willing to recommend you for the job.

Once your clinical ends, stay in touch with your preceptors as they may be a good resource for job opportunities.

15 Growing Nursing Specialties

Technology, advocacy, and education are just a few areas where nurses can excel. Here’s a look at 15 growing career paths.

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (9)

1. Nursing informatics specialist

Nursing informaticsgets more attention in today’s technology-obsessed world, but the discipline has been around for several decades. In the 1980s, nurse informatics specialists dreamed of big things:

“We envisioned such things as minimal time spent in documentation, working together with patients to document past history and care received, a lifetime healthcare record, and the use of aggregated data to improve nursing practice.

“Informatics, we believed, would free nurses and other healthcare professionals to spend more time with patients and minimize the pain of documentation.

-Linda Thede, PhD, RN-BC.

While informatics has certainly changed the nursing landscape, experts say there is more work to be done. As electronic health records (EHRs) and mobile technology become the norm, nurse informatics is a field full of possibilities. Informatics nurses now also use data to learn how to improve workflows and deliver a higher quality of care.

2. Virtual nursing

Nurses have plenty of stories to share about patients treating a health problem based on information they find on the internet. As a virtual nurse, you can provide valid, accurate guidance and care for patients online via a video call or over the phone.

With the growth of telemedicine for diagnosing and treating patients, the job of a virtual nurse can extend past primary care. You can also be responsible for triaging online appointments, for example.

For patients who are unable to leave their homes, perhaps due to illness or other circumstances, a virtual nurse helps ensure continuity of care. Virtual nurses need at least an ADN or BSN and should be good communicators.

3. Nurse midwife

Nurse midwives go beyond delivering babies; they also work as primary care providers for women and newborns. Because of their versatility, more nurse midwives are needed. The BLS expects 11% job growth through 2030, which is nearly double the national average.

According to the National Library of Medicine, nurse midwives have been instrumental in improving primary health care services for women in inner-city and rural areas of the country. There’s even more good news: The National Institute of Medicine recommends thatnurse midwivesshould have a larger role in providing women’s healthcare.

4. Travel nursing

Travel nursing was created as a solution to the nursing shortageand remains a popular option for adventurous types. While some nurses are placed in beautiful locales, you may also be sent to an emergency situation or disaster zone. During a strike, a travel nurse may be called to fill the role of a regular employee. RNs, NPs, LPNs, and CNAs alike can work with an agency that matches them with a short-term assignment in another city or country. Flexibility and the ability to adapt to new surroundings easily are necessary.

Travel nursing tends to offer higher-than-average pay, and housing may be provided. To find travel nursing jobs, go online to look at agencies, such, that match nurses with job opportunities.

Foreign nurses who would like to work in the U.S. also have opportunities, but they must meet certain criteria to be eligible.

5. Nurse educator

Share your experience and knowledge with aspiring nurses by educating them. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), more than 80,407 qualified nursing school applicants were turned away in 2020 partly due to faculty shortages, including too few teaching candidates with master’s or doctoral degrees.

The demand for more nurse educators is likely to increase. The AACN says a significant number of nurse educators will retire over the next decade, creating job vacancies at campuses across the country.

6. Home-care nurse

Hospital stays may have gotten shorter, but patients still need care once they’re discharged. This is why home-care nursing is experiencing a boost in employment. Another factor? Advances in technology allow patients to receive more elaborate treatments at home.

As a home-care nurse, you’ll have a variety of patients. You may treat older people, new moms, patients recovering from an accident, and those with chronic illnesses. If you prefer to work outside a hospital and build relationships with a regular set of patients, a home-care nurse career could be a good fit.

7. Case management nurse

The number of older people in the U.S. is increasing, and this has created more opportunity for case management nurses. For one thing, as people live longer, they’ll likely need expert advice and guidance for chronic illnesses over an extended period of time.

Case management nurses manage a patient’s care, monitor costs and resources, and ensure patients and families are supported. At times, these nurses also serve as important decision-makers.

8. Geriatric nurse

The National Council on Aging estimates about 80% of older adults have a chronic condition. Combine this with the aging baby boomer population and it spells employment growth for geriatric nurses.

While many tasks of a staff RN will be the same for ageriatric nurse, you’ll also focus on treating conditions more prevalent in old age, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis. Since some elderly patients may have trouble communicating their wishes, you’ll also serve as a patient advocate.

9. Critical care nurse

Good decision-making skillsare crucial for a critical care nurse. Many work in hospital intensive care units (ICUs), treating patients suffering from burns, heart problems, and other serious conditions.

As more hospitals expand their ICUs and nursing homes care for very sick patients, critical care nursing has become a growing specialty. Critical care nurses should be comfortable with advanced technology and working at a fast pace.

10. Neonatal/perinatal nurse

Neonatal and perinatal nurses work with women and their newborn babies, although in different ways. Perinatal nurses take care of women before, during and after birth.

Neonatal nurses care for infants up to 28 days old, usually as part of typical newborn care after childbirth.

Neonatal nurses also work in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) with babies born prematurely or with serious medical complications.

Perinatal nurses are also called labor and delivery nurses and often serve as the patient’s advocate and guide during the birth experience in a hospital or birth center.

Both neonatal and perinatal nurses must be able to communicate effectively since educating patients and their families on prenatal and newborn care is part of their role.

11. Pediatric nurse

You’ll need a love of children from infants to teens and a lot of patience to succeed as a pediatric nurse.

In many cases, pediatric nurses have to examine and treat patients who don’t understand why they’re being prodded and poked, so you’ll have to gain patient cooperation and trust to accomplish tasks.

You’ll also need to be comfortable communicating with parents and other caregivers responsible for decision-making.

Pediatric nurses work in routine care, emergency services, and treatment of diseases in a variety of medical settings from physicians’ offices and children’s hospitals to pediatric critical care facilities.

12. Psychiatric nurse

As a psychiatric nurse, you can help expand access to mental healthcare to patients who need it. A shortage of qualified mental health professionals means that only 44% of adults and less than 20% of children and adolescents who have diagnosable mental health problems get the help they need, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These nurses assist psychiatrists and physicians in interviewing and diagnosing patients.

The role requires a knowledge of mental health issues and the compassion and emotional maturity necessary to work the mentally ill.

Psych nurses work with individuals, families and groups in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, outpatient facilities, correctional facilities, and schools.

13. Trauma/ER nurse

Trauma and ER nurses care for patients with acute injuries or illnesses. No two days in the life of a trauma or ER nurse are the same, and many days are chaotic.

This specialty can be physically and emotionally intense. Nurses in trauma units, especially, see patients with serious and life-threatening injuries and must often make split-second decisions. They must be prepared to perform a wide range of duties that can include triage, intubation, and preparation for surgery.

14. OR nurse

OR nurses are also known as perioperative or surgical nurses. In this role, you’ll care for patients before, during, and after surgery. The growing aging population has meant more surgical procedures.

Working as an OR nurse requires a commitment to teamwork, attention to detail, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. There are OR positions in hospitals, although more surgeons are working in outpatient surgery centers

15. Labor and delivery nurse

Labor and delivery nurses guide women through childbirth, coaching them through sometimes difficult contractions, administering medication, watching for any potential complications, and helping new moms breastfeed their newborns for the first time.

It’s a nursing role that can be by turns intense, stressful, and joyful. Every new mom’s delivery is different, and that means labor and delivery nurses must be critical thinkers who can quickly switch from coaching a laboring mother to taking charge if a complication arises.

They must also be prepared for the times when there is a heartbreaking outcome and be able to accept loss.

Technology and Nursing

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (10)

Technology has led to new ways to diagnose and treat patients. Nurses today communicate with patients via email and consult with them during virtual appointments on desktop and mobile devices. OR nurses work with physicians who use robotic devices to perform surgeries.

To keep up with evolving technology, nurses will need to learn new skills throughout their career.

Up Next: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Now, artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as the next frontier of healthcare. Some healthcare systems use AI-supported virtual nursing assistants to direct patients to appropriate healthcare providers and help with time-consuming administrative tasks. The result: Managers can assign nurses to positions where direct human interaction is most critical.

Other Advances That Play a Role in Nursing

As you embark on a nursing career, you’ll need to be prepared for even more innovations in healthcare.

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (11)

Genetics| Gene mutations can predict whether a patient is at risk of developing a disease. The use of genetics and genomes can also help identify whether a parent will pass along a mutation to their child. Since nurses often have the most communication with patients, it’s their job to gather as much information about family history, help patients make informed decisions about genetic/genomic tests, especially now that genetic tests are readily available to consumers, and provide guidance and referrals to patients based on test results.

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (12)

Biometrics | Proper healthcare can’t exist without confidentiality and security, which is why biometrics is so important in today’s fast-paced healthcare environment. Biometrics is a scientific method used to identify people through physical qualities such as fingerprints and voice. In healthcare, biometrics are used to accurately identify patients and providers, ensuring that care is provided to the right patients and that only authorized providers have access to patient data. For nurses, this means easier sharing of patient records for more efficient and coordinated care. For patients, it means fewer medical errors and better outcomes.

Your Path to Becoming a Nurse. (13)

Social Media| The use of social media in nursing has benefits and drawbacks. It can provide networking opportunities and an easier way to communicate with fellow students and colleagues. A quick scan of Facebook and Pinterest will show you that nurses also use social media for support and levity.

There can be a risky side to social media, however. Nurses must be careful not to post disparaging remarks or information that violates a patient’s privacy. The American Nurses Association has established social networking principles that advises nurses to maintain the same standards of professionalism on social media as they do in any other situation. Nurses and nursing students are encouraged to use this resource to adhere to the do’s and don’ts of social media.

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Written and reported by:

Anna Giorgi

Contributing Writer


What is the best pathway to become a nurse? ›

The most direct (and common) route to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is to graduate from a four-year baccalaureate program that offers two years of prerequisite and general education classes, followed by two years of advanced nursing and clinical training.

How do you know you want to become a nurse? ›

10 Signs That You Were Born to Become a Nurse
  1. You have a caring personality. ...
  2. Blood doesn't freak you out. ...
  3. The smallest details don't escape you. ...
  4. Multi-tasking is fun for you. ...
  5. You have a never-ending supply of energy. ...
  6. You can sleep anywhere. ...
  7. You never know what to wear. ...
  8. People like you.
11 Jun 2018

Why do u want to be a nurse? ›

A job that makes a difference

As Val Saintsbury once said, “Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.” It's true—Nurses do more than give medicine and treat wounds; they care about the patients they care for, helping them improve their lives and disease outcomes.

What is your career path? ›

A career path can be defined as a series of jobs that lead you closer to your career goals and vision for life. Some people follow a linear path through one field, advancing into roles with more responsibilities and higher salaries.

Is becoming a nurse hard? ›

You're headed for a great career, one that's rewarding, challenging, and always exciting. But nursing school is notoriously difficult. Most nursing programs require high GPAs and impressive scores in math, chemistry, biology, psychology, and other demanding subjects. It's also extremely fulfilling.

What are 10 roles of a nurse? ›

Nurses care for injuries, administer medications, conduct frequent medical examinations, record detailed medical histories, monitor heart rate and blood pressure, perform diagnostic tests, operate medical equipment, draw blood, and admit/discharge patients according to physician orders.

How many years does it take to become a nurse? ›

Depending on the specific nursing program that you enroll in, it could take anywhere from 16 months to four years to become a registered nurse. “I chose to earn my BSN, which takes four years,” says ChiChi Akanegbu, who completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Regis College as a part of the Class of 2020.

What is the biggest factor in your decision to become a nurse? ›

Results: The five main reasons for choosing nursing as a career were “ability to help others”, “training was provided on the job”, “ability to work closely with people”, “parental advice”, and “accommodation was provided while training”.

What personality type are most nurses? ›

An article found in NursingStandard explained that one of the most common personality types discovered amongst nurses is ISFJ (introvert, sensing, feeling, and judging). This personality type can be described as quiet but friendly and responsible.

Is 30 too old for nursing school? ›

While going back to school for nursing at 30 or 40 is a big change, you are never too old to change careers. Nursing provides a rewarding second career, and your life experience prepares you for nursing.

Why do you want to become a nurse short essay? ›

1) Since childhood I want to grow up as a nurse. 2) I want to become a nurse because of their selfless care for every patient. 3) Whenever we get injured, a nurse is always ready to help us. 4) By being a nurse I want to help and take care of every people.

Why did you choose nursing as your course? ›

It gives you the opportunity to positively impact your patients & community. “I want to be a nurse because I really want to help people through some of their most vulnerable moments,” explains Meagan Thompson. All nurses have at least one thing in common—they want to help people.

Why is nursing your dream job? ›

Nursing is the perfect career for me because it combines my passion for healthcare as well as my love for helping others who need it the most. I have the opportunity to help multiple people on a daily basis while practicing medicine which is something I have a passion for.

What is your career path Example answer? ›

Career aspiration example 1

I would like to continue to develop my skills and experience by working with professional recording equipment. I also want to develop my leadership and organizational skills. This will help me achieve my goal of leading production teams in the future.”

How do you answer a career path question? ›

Key Takeaways. KNOW YOUR CAREER GOALS: State your career plans and aspirations concisely. BE HONEST: Be honest if you plan to move on, but emphasize that you will stay for some time. LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN BEFORE THE INTERVIEW: Find out all you can about the company in advance.

How do I make my career path successful? ›

21 tips to succeed in a career
  1. Choose the right career. ...
  2. Make your own career choice. ...
  3. Determine how you measure success. ...
  4. Own up to your mistakes. ...
  5. Ask for help. ...
  6. Reflect on your achievements. ...
  7. Establish a strong work ethic. ...
  8. Stay positive.

How hard is the nurse exam? ›

NCLEX Pass Rates

The second-attempt pass rate for domestically-educated students taking the test was 45.56%. These results demonstrate that it is a pretty difficult test. The questions are designed to test your critical thinking, knowledge of the nursing process, and assessment skills.

What is the hardest part of nursing school? ›

Pharmacology. Pharmacology, or the study of medication, can seem scary because of the sheer scope of the course. "It becomes one of the hardest classes for nursing students due to the depth and amount of knowledge needed," says Megan Lynch, instructor at Pima Community College.

Is it worth becoming a nurse? ›

Becoming a Registered Nurse is a solid career choice when it comes to job security, salary potential, and fulfillment. For nurses who plan to work in California, the rewards and opportunities are even more promising. The average registered nurse salary in California is often higher than any other state!

What can a first year student nurse do? ›

Experience a variety of skills for example: move and tilt a bed, use a slide sheet, roll a patient in bed, assist a patient out of bed, use a stand aid and a hoist. Practise with fellow students taking each other's temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure, using a variety of equipment.

Do nurses enjoy their work? ›

Nurse's job satisfaction

Overall, the vast majority of nurses at every position were satisfied with their jobs. NMs, CNSs, and CRNAs all reported 98% job satisfaction, while NPs, LPNs, and RNs had satisfaction rates ranging from 94% to 96%.

What are the 6 C's of nursing? ›

The 6Cs of nursing are:
  • Care.
  • Compassion.
  • Competence.
  • Communication.
  • Courage.
  • Commitment.

What is the main duty of a nurse? ›

Usually, nurses accompany doctors and different health care employees in medical organizations and hospitals, and their main role is to help people (from kids to old people) to feel better, stay fit, and healthy.

Who is a nurse in simple words? ›

A nurse is a person who is trained to give care to people who are sick or injured. Nurses work with doctors and other health care workers to make patients well and to keep them fit and healthy. Nurses also help with end-of-life needs and assist other family members with grieving.

Can you become a nurse without a degree? ›

While nursing is a practical, hands-on profession, it also requires special technical competencies and clinical analysis skills that will potentially save people's lives. As such, you cannot become a Nurse without a degree in nursing.

What does a nurse do in a school? ›

The school nurse role includes:

Administer medications and monitor delegated medication administration; Assist in the evaluation of students for Special Services (Special Education); Coordinate and provide vision and hearing screenings; Assist families in accessing health insurance and health care services; and.

How do I become a nurse with a bachelor's degree? ›

How to become a registered nurse
  1. Complete an accredited nursing program. ...
  2. Take (and pass) the nurse licensing exam. ...
  3. Get licensed where you want to practice. ...
  4. Grow in your practice with a specialization or an advanced degree.
18 Aug 2022

What do I need to know before pursuing nursing? ›

If you're interested in becoming a nurse, here are five things you need to know:
  • Your Nursing Degree. A Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) will set you apart from the crowd, but it doesn't mean you'll land a job upon degree completion. ...
  • Passing Your Exam. ...
  • Bedside Manner. ...
  • Time Management. ...
  • You Can't Heal Everyone.
29 Mar 2016

Is nursing a stable career? ›

Nursing is a profession that carries plenty of positive designations. It's known for being a stable career that offers growth and advancement opportunities, and for being a fulfilling job that's more than just a paycheck.

What is dating a nurse like? ›

They Are Great Communicators, and Even Better Listeners

As one can imagine, communication is key. This is no different outside of work. If you are offended easily, dating a nurse may not be the greatest idea for you as they are straightforward and do not waste time beating around the bush.

What are two essential qualities of a nurse? ›

What Makes Someone a Good Nurse?
  • Caring. ...
  • Communication Skills. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Attention to Detail. ...
  • Problem Solving Skills. ...
  • Stamina. ...
  • Sense of Humor. ...
  • Commitment to Patient Advocacy.
25 Feb 2020

What is the full meaning of a nurse? ›

Definition of nurse

(Entry 1 of 2) 1 : a person who cares for the sick or infirm specifically : a licensed health-care professional who practices independently or is supervised by a physician, surgeon, or dentist and who is skilled in promoting and maintaining health — compare licensed practical nurse, registered nurse.

Is a 2 year nursing degree worth it? ›

Registered Nurse with a 2 year nursing degree earns about $71,730 a year according to PayScale. Also, Nurses who start with a two-year degree and move on to a Bachelor's degree will increase their earning potential.

What is the hardest semester in nursing school? ›

Health Assessment: the hardest semester of nursing school

Many students struggle with the hands-on nature of this course, given that it is so different from many other typical college courses.

Is nursing easier than medical school? ›

Medical school is significantly more difficult than nursing school. Admission to Medical School is not only much more difficult, but the volume of study at Medical School is also much greater than at Nursing School.

How can I get into nursing without going to university? ›

A registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA) offers a flexible route to becoming a nurse that doesn't require full-time study at university. You will need to secure a position as an RNDA and your employer will release you to study at university part time.

Can I become a nurse without a degree? ›

While nursing is a practical, hands-on profession, it also requires special technical competencies and clinical analysis skills that will potentially save people's lives. As such, you cannot become a Nurse without a degree in nursing. This is the most important out of the qualifications needed to be a Nurse.

How many year does it take to become a nurse? ›

It usually takes three years to complete a nursing degree. Entry requirements for a nursing degree will vary depending on the university. For most universities, you will need four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, including English, maths and science.

What grades are needed for nursing? ›

Holders of Diploma in Nursing Education/Administration from a recognized University should have a minimum of B+ average or second class upper. Holders of a Diploma in nursing from a recognized institution of nursing with a minimum of CGPA of 3.25.

How do I become a nurse with no experience? ›

You can become a Nursing Apprentice. There are apprenticeships that you can go on, so you'll get the job, and they'll train you on the job kind of thing. You can go through open university now. You can do the Nursing Associate route as well.

Do you get paid to train as a nurse? ›

Do Student Nurses Get Paid to Train? If you're asking if you'll get paid to go through nursing school, the answer is no. You'll have to pay for your school tuition and fees to become a nurse.

Can I become a nurse at 50 years old? ›

Am I Too Old to Become a Nurse? Even if you have the disposition and drive to enter a new career in the nursing field, you might be asking yourself, “Am I too old to become a nurse?” The answer to this question is no. Nurses come from all walks of life and all age groups.

Can I study nursing for 6 months? ›


As an Enrolled Nurse or Registered Nurse, you can develop your career by specialising in one or more post-basic fields of healthcare.

How do I study for nursing school? ›

10 Study Tips That Will Make Nursing School Easier
  1. Follow the nursing exam study guide. ...
  2. Study a little every day. ...
  3. Focus on the material covered in class. ...
  4. Think in terms of action, not facts. ...
  5. Form a study group. ...
  6. Skim-read first. ...
  7. Use outside sources. ...
  8. Know your learning style.

Is there a 2 year course in nursing? ›

Associate in Nursing (ASN)

You can become a registered nurse (RN) in just two years with your associate degree in nursing (ASN). RNs are the first line of care in many healthcare settings, and they are in increasingly high demand as healthcare organizations strive to accommodate a growing patient population.

Can I study nursing online? ›

Yes, you can study Nursing online through distance learning. Many universities now offer this option.

How can I increase my chances of getting into nursing school? ›

8 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting into Nursing School
  1. Write Down Your “Why” for Nursing. ...
  2. Choose a Nursing School with Multiple Start Dates. ...
  3. Ensure You Meet Admissions Requirements. ...
  4. Create a Professional Resume. ...
  5. Connect with Your Admissions Counselor. ...
  6. Start Your Prerequisites Early. ...
  7. Spend Time with Patients.
26 Aug 2022

What is the pass mark for nursing? ›

Jamb Cut Off Mark for Nursing to Participate in Post UTME is 200, although some Universities like AAU (Ambrose Alli Univesity) would accept 180, but the least any University (except private universities) would accept for Nursing is 180.

How many subjects are needed for nursing? ›

Direct Entry Requirement for Nursing/Nursing Science: Two (2) A Level passes in Biology/ Zoology, Chemistry and Physics plus three (3) other O Level credit passes in Mathematics, Physics and English Language.

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