How to Become a Registered Nurse: Timelines, Programs, and Challenges
Registered Nurse (RN) is a highly qualified medical professional licensed to provide medical care and patient assistance. Earning RN status opens up many career opportunities in healthcare. The answer to how to become a registered nurse lies in the choice of the educational program. Depending on that, the time you need to get an NR also varies.
Registered Nurse Programs and Their Durations
How many years to become a registered nurse will it take? The duration of achieving an RN varies depending on the chosen educational pathway, ranging from as little as one year to four years.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) might take about four years. This program includes extensive theory, clinical practice, and healthcare sciences coursework.
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) might take two to three years. It offers a more streamlined education, primarily focusing on clinical skills and patient care. ADN graduates may have fewer advancement opportunities compared to BSN-prepared RNs.
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) can take a bridge program to RNs. The duration varies but is typically shorter than the traditional paths, often around one to two years.
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) can bridge to RN status through specialized programs, taking approximately one to two years.
The next step after graduating from registered nurse programs is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). After passing, you can apply for the license, officially granting the RN status. On average, obtaining an RN license in the US takes several to six months or slightly more, depending on the time dedicated to exam preparation.
Pros and Cons, or Is It Hard to Be an RN
RNs monitor patients, record medical information and symptoms, create a care plan for the patient as a team, provide treatment, collect material for analysis, etc. They must ensure seamless coordination, necessitating precision, compassion, and rapid emergency response. But despite the scope of everything what does a registered nurse do, this career offers numerous rewards.