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How to become a Registered Nurse

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

So you have finally decided that you want to join the largest workforce in the medical field--congratualtions! The easiest part is done. Now, the real work of obtaining it can begin! In my opinion, registered nurses (RNs) have the most demanding yet rewarding jobs in the world of medicine. I am often asked why I didn't become a doctor and the answer is simply because I wanted to be a registered nurse. I knew that I wanted to provide direct care to patients while still being able to educate and promote health simultaneously. By the time I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be an RN but had no idea it involved losing a big piece of this thing called "your LIFE" and required pre-requisites, applying AND finally acceptance! Obtaining your RN is not easy but it is completely attainable through focus, hardwork and dedication. Here are a few steps to help you get started on your journey:

Before applying to nursing school:

Whether you are just graduating highschool or changing careers, research a few nursing schools and decide which degree you want to obtain as an RN. Click here to see my youtube video on ASN vs BSN. Next, Enroll as a pre-nursing student and start taking the pre-requisites for the nursing schools you are going to apply to. Pre-requsites are required before you can apply to a nursing school. Each school varies as far as what they require for their application requirements but you will definitely have to take: Microbiology, Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, English, Psychology, Math/statistics and a few other social/behavioral sciences and liberal art courses. Most of your science courses are in two sequences meaning you will have to complete one before you can start the other. Ex: You can not take Anatomy 2 before Anatomy 1. Start your sequences as soon as you enroll in your desired college because they will take a few years to complete. This goes without saying but aim for As in all of your pre-course work. The more 'A's' you have, the less 'nays' you receive when it comes to acceptance.

The nursing entrance exam:

Now that you have completed your prerequisites and obtained good grades in your pre-nursing courses, it's time to take your nursing entrance exam. Many pre-nursing students are unaware that you must take an entrance exam before applying to nursing school so let me give you "the tea" on the TEAS & Kaplan now. Over the years the nursing entrance exam or 'NET' has evolved and placed different types of entrance exams on the market for admission to nursing school programs. Two of the most popular and most widely used being the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) & Kaplan. The TEAS is a four hour proctored exam designed by Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI), that consists of reading, science, math and English/language usage questions. There are 170 questions in multiple-choice format offered electronically or by pencil, paper and scantron. The most current version out currently is the TEAS version 6.0. Click here to learn more about the TEAS and purchase study guides and practice exams before the big day. The other nursing entrance exam is offered by Kaplan. The Kaplan Nursing School Admissions Test is a pre-admission assessment composed of the 91 multiple-choice questions composed of reading, writing, math, science and critical thinking. This test differs from the TEAS because it is nursing-content focused. Click here to learn more about this entrance exam.

Applying.. waiting.. ACCEPTANCE:

Whew! Now that you've gotten all you prerequisites and entrance exams out of the way, it's FINALLY time to apply to nursing school! Some programs accept in the spring while others accept in the summer and/or fall so it is very important to know the deadlines for each of the programs you are applying to and submit all required paperwork and applications BEFORE the deadline. I would also like to note that some programs require you to be interviewed before acceptance so be sure to brush up on your interviewing responses to questions such as "tell me about yourself" or "why do you want to be a nurse" and "why should we select you". Check out my post on Interviewing for your first RN job while you are here and the best of luck to you!!! You've got this!!


How was your nursing admission process? Let me know below in the comments!!

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