There are three nursing designations in the United States. They are licensed practical nurse (LPN) or, in some states, licensed vocational nurses (LVN), registered nurse (RN) and at the pinnacle, nurse practitioner (NP).
Today, we’ll take look at the educational paths to a Registered Nursing career. There are three major ones. First, is the associate’s degree (AND) from an approved (accredited) nursing program. This is a two-year degree. Second, the bachelor’s degree (BSN), also from an approved (accredited) nursing program and finally, but less common, a diploma from an approved (accredited) nursing program. Diploma programs, administered in hospitals, last about three years.
Many RN’s have enjoyed successful careers with a diploma, as opposed to an AND or BSN degree, and found it to be no obstacle to succeeding in their profession.
Regardless of the path, to become a RN you must pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain a nursing license. The acronym translates to National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse and passing the exam is a requirement of all US state and territorial nursing boards. The exam is based on patient needs and also probes the depth of understanding the prospective RN has acquired regarding the concepts of nursing. The following outlines will give you some insight.
The NCLEX-RN exam emphasizes acquired knowledge and is particularly geared to what the patient needs. Listed below are some sample topics.
1. Creating a safe and effective recuperative environment
2. Maintaining healthy life style and preventive measures
3. Fostering resumption of normal life to victims of violence, trauma & disaster
4. Restoring normalcy to the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions
Although many of the questions are multiple choice, recent tests have included questions requiring broader answers. Some examples are shown below:
All states require periodic renewal of licenses, and many states require continuing education.
Growth in the nursing profession is exploding as baby boomer’s transition into retirement swelling ranks of folks having greater need for health care. A 23% increase in demand representing some 597,000 new jobs in registered nursing is forecast through 2016.
Much of this growth will be with home health care services, physician’s offices and outpatient care centers. Hospitals are releasing patients sooner and people generally prefer the idea of convalescing at home. Physicians are performing more in office procedures as technology advances. Outpatient care centers are on the rise as weapon against high health care costs associated with the conventional hospital setting. This ‘perfect storm” results in expanding job opportunities across the health care spectrum, but especially so for the RN.