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How to Become a Registered Nurse in 5 Simple Steps

stacy johnna
This guide explores the rewarding career path of a registered nurse from their educational background, their legal requirements as well as the essential skills acquired by the medical professional along the way.


In the modern world, we are amid growing factors such as development of technology, increasingly aging population, the many instances of health care expansion in advanced nations such as the US, the UK, and India; the field of registered nursing has grown in demand alongside these factors.
In fact, since 2016, there has been a rapid 15% rise in the number of people pursuing a career in registered nursing in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"The first thing we must acknowledge before we proceed, is that a registered nurse, once specialized in a specific area, has the opportunity to work in a variety of workplaces."
- Free Safety Training

Most registered nurses, as one would no doubt expect, tend to work in hospitals.
As in hospitals, registered nurses may also find themselves working in other healthcare settings such as clinics, physician’s offices, homes and rehabilitation centers; not only in apparent healthcare workplaces but also in government organizations, the military, and schools.
In reviewing these settings we can extract the essential key skills required of any registered nurse. From hospitals, we see that teamwork is important for the smooth running and efficiency of daily administrative necessities as registered nurses work collectively in a team in hospitals.
From rehabilitation agencies, we can understand that care, understanding are intertwined to help patients overcome healthcare issues. From schools, we see the vital, and most widely known skill of a registered nurse: a nurturing temperament, the skill fused to the role of a registered nurse.
With these skills in the back of our minds, we can now explore the easy steps in becoming a registered nurse while understanding the acquirement of these skills along the way.

5 Simple Steps to Become a Registered Nurse

Step 1: Completing Accredited Registered Nursing Programme

This is the first step in the career of registered nursing. There are a variety of different programmes such as nursing diplomas, associate degrees or a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree in nursing typically takes two years to complete.
A bachelor’s degree in nursing takes four years of full-time study, though in countries such as England and Wales University, degrees can take three years upon gaining appropriate academic school requirements. The latter option tends to lead to higher registered nursing roles which comes with a higher salary.
Such a high role includes managing the administration of day-to-day work in the workplace, advanced nursing, nursing consultation, teaching and research roles. The reason a bachelor’s degree is held higher than associate degree is because it will provide more in-depth knowledge and skills.
Due to the increasing growth of registered nursing field, competitiveness grows too, due to which employers require newly appointed registered nurses to hold a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Completion of an Examination and Obtaining Licensure

These are the legal steps in becoming a registered nurse. Steps vary from country to country, however, one must complete an examination or test that will allow them to apply and gain the licensure as a registered nurse.
In the European Union, one must complete ‘Test of Competence’ which allows one to demonstrate the knowledge acquired from nursing programme. Meanwhile in US, one must take the NCLEX-RN examination which is quite simple considering the prerequisite, registered nursing programmes cover and prepare students to pass the test.
In regard to obtaining licensure, one would then register with an appropriate legal body as a registered nurse; in the US, for example, that would be the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Step 3: Obtain Employment As a Registered Nurse

As mentioned already, registered nurses are in growing demand across the world. So when one has reached this step the world is their oyster; recent graduates from registered nursing programmes who have completed the legal requirements have multiple options when they have to decide on where to work.
Although this is a guide to the easy steps of becoming a registered nurse, it is not so simple as to end with this third step of gaining a job as a registered nurse.

Step 4: Pursuing Additional Training or Education

As a registered nurse, you should be up to date with health and social care responsibilities and ideas that are new to any medical profession. A registered nurse ought to advance the medical and professional knowledge.
By going on certain nursing courses recommended or required by your work setting, one will find that their capabilities as a registered nurse become advanced. Perhaps to the point where this is recognized with a higher salary and other benefits.
If a registered nurse decides to become an advanced practice registered nurse and specializes the knowledge beyond step one, a postgraduate programme will be needed.

After completing this, graduates can apply for more demanding roles in the field of registered nursing. This education may even extend to a doctoral programme.

Step 5: Experience

Building a portfolio as a registered nurse throughout your career will help to solidify your place among the best in your field. Students ought to remember that much of what it takes to become a registered nurse, like any other job, is learned with actual experience on the job.


So, overall there are five easy steps to becoming a registered nurse. However, some of these are largely optional. To become a registered nurse one must first complete a registered nursing programme.
Secondly, attain the necessary legal requirements; thirdly, obtain a registered nursing job. Steps four and five enhance your capabilities as a respected medical professional.