How To Become A Nurse

Registered Nurse Job Description

Nursing is one of the most popular types of healthcare jobs for several reasons. A large number of students choose nursing careers because it is a field of study with high demand and nearly 100% job placement after graduation. Nursing school graduates often find several types of nursing jobs available to them once they are ready to enter the workforce. And since there are many types of nursing schools, an LPN or RN degree can be obtained from a wide variety of colleges and universities.

While there are many types of medical jobs, none of them are nearly as versatile as a career in nursing. Most students are familiar with the types of nursing degrees (LPN, RN), the amount of school time each require, and even the types of nursing salaries associated with each. But what about nurse specialties and the particular types of nursing jobs? What types of nurses are there? Here’s an overview of several types of nursing fields. Interested in how to become a nurse specializing in Trauma, Labor & Delivery, Neonatology, and more? Read on!

Job Descriptions for Different Types of Nurses

An Emergency Room Nurse serves a critical role as part of the Emergency Response Team. ER nurses see a variety of conditions and prioritizing skills are vital for getting care to the most sick or injured patients first. Thinking and acting quickly are important characteristics of an emergency room nurse.

A Surgical Nurse provides care to patients before, during, and after surgery. In addition to assisting doctors with the actual surgical procedure with jobs such as passing tools and instruments to the surgeon, they are responsible for keeping an eye on patients’ vital signs and providing post operative care to the patient.

A Nurse Anesthetist also works in the surgery setting. Their job is to assist anesthesiologists with administering medications. In some settings, such as rural hospitals, a nurse anesthetist may be the sole provider of the anesthesia to patients. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) can practice alone and is one of the highest paying types of nursing jobs, requiring extensive education and specialized training. If you’re interested in how to become a nurse anesthetist, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists has tons of useful information.

Nurses in Critical Care provide support to patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU). Specialized knowledge of equipment is very important in this setting since many of the patients require ventilators and respirators to sustain life.

A Neonatal Nurse provides different levels of care to infant newborns. They may work in Level 1 nurseries with healthy babies that require minimal support or in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) with very sick infants and premature babies that require extensive monitoring and care.

A Pediatric Nurse provides care to children. They work in a wide range of settings from doctors’ offices to hospitals and critical care facilities. Vitals, physical assessment, and routine immunizations are common job responsibilities. For those who want more information on how to become a nurse specializing in pediatrics, you can check out the Society of Pediatric Nurses website.

A Labor and Delivery Nurse is a type of OB/GYN nurse that assists with childbirth. They provide supportive care to the mother-to-be, assistance to the physician before, during, and immediately after labor and delivery.

Forensic Nursing is specialty area that is relatively new. A forensic nurse has specialized training in evidence collection, provides care to victims of assault, and works with the judicial system to provide medical testimony. Most forensic nurses are employed at hospitals, but may work with lawyers and other legal professionals.

How to Become a Nurse – Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

A Nurse Practitioner is an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) that has received extra education and training to perform patient assessment activities under guidance of a physician including evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of medical conditions. Nurse practitioners can work in a variety of settings including community health clinics, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms.

Information About Travel Nursing

Travel Nursing is an employment option that many nurses are not aware of. With the huge shortage of nurse professionals, hospitals often need temporary help until they can find permanent employees. Many types of nursing agencies hire travel nurses for this purpose. With this type of nursing job, you can make your own schedule, working the days you want. It is also a good opportunity to visit different cities since many travel nurse companies pay living expenses. There are several types of nursing companies that employ PRN nurses to fill temporary shortages at particular hospitals or clinics. These are great nursing opportunities for new mothers and those who want part time employment.

These are just a few examples of the types of nursing jobs available. There are many others. So, what kind of nurses are there? From an emergency room nurse that provides acute supportive care, to an advanced nurse practitioner that can actually diagnose and treat illness, it is easy to see that a career in nursing is very versatile.

How to Become a Nurse – Choosing the Right School

There is no better time to be looking for colleges with nursing programs! The demand for the profession just keeps increasing every year. This has equated to students having a much better chance of acceptance into a nursing program to fit the high demands for nurse employment.

With the high demand for employment, it offers an excellent chance for nursing program graduates to have a job right when they are done with their education. 

Searching for Colleges With Nursing Programs

Once you have completed with nursing school, you will be entering into a feild where the average salary for a basic RN is over $65,000 per year which is substantialy higher than the $67,490 average posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015. More experienced nurses can earn well over $100,000 per year, especially in metropolitan areas like San Jose, California where the median annual salary is $116,150.

So completing a college nursing program right now can ensure an excellent salary in a profession that offers stable and steady work, as well as can be attained in just a couple to few years. It also gives you various options when it comes to gettin a job, as nurses can work no only in hospitals but a host of other work places like; physicians offices, nursing homes, schools, traveling nurses, as well as offering their care in peoples homes, also known as hospice nursing among many more.

Top 5 Colleges With Nursing Programs

There are over 600 different locations in the United States where you can receive a nursing degree, all of which are accredited programs and send graduates into the field of nursing with the knowledge needed to have a flourshing career. Below is a list of the top 5 colleges with nursing programs, which the list is based of the selected schools is based off of a compiled list that was written up by the USA News.

John Hopkins University – based out of Baltimore, Maryland

University Of Pennsylvannia – based of of Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia

University of Washington – based out of Seattle, Washington

University of California – based out of San Francisco, California

University of North Carolina – based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tips For Choosing the Right Nursing School

The above colleges with nursing programs have been ranked the best in the country. If you don’t live near one of these schools, or are looking to attend another one, fear not! As you plan how to become a nurse, you want to make sure you pick the right nursing school for you. Keep in mind, you will be attending the campus for at leat 2 years. If you’re going for more than an Associate’s Degree in Nursing(ADN), you’ll be going for MORE than 2 years. A couple tips to follow when setting out to find the right nursing school for you:

How to Become a Nurse – Is the Nursing School Accredited?

First and foremost, you need to find out if the college nursing program you wish to attend is accredited. If it is not you would waste your time and money attending because an accredited degree is a requirement to take the certification examination. You can find out if the school is accredited by contacting your State’s Board of Nursing, or the State’s Board of Nursing if you are looking to attend an out of state school. Accredited programs have been given accreditation status by the National League for Nursing or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) along with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The last two are for the most part accreditation statuses given to graduate and post graduates nursing college programs.

Scout out a couple different nursing schools and feel out the environment to make sure you will be comfortable learning there for the amount of time it takes to get your degree. This is especially the case if you are going to be moving to attend nursing school. Are you looking for a smaller or larger campus? Public or private? In the city or a more rurual area?

Find out what the prices are for attendence, as not all tuition cost packages are created equal. You can also consider knocking out prerequisite courses at a community college instead of paying 10 times more for the same class at State or university. A big part of discovering how to become a nurse is checking the tuition differences between the schools.

Consider whether you are looking to attend full time or part time, and if you have other responsibilities. Can the nursing school schedule fit into your schedule?

If you are staying local, is the nursing program close to where you live or far away? Don’t forget to factor in the cost of gas! Would it more economical to move closer to the campus?

Find out what kind of reputation the nursing school has built up in the nursing community. Network with employees at the school, as well as try to talk to some of the students to find out if the nursing instructors are well-respected. You want to find the best instructors you can to teach you the knowledge you will be using for the entire time you spend in your nursing career.

It is also a suggested that you apply for grants ahead of time as they can help pay for some or most of your training. This will leave you with the same education at a much smaller price.

How to Become a Nurse – Requirements For Getting Into Nursing School

If you intend on attending a school with a nursing program, you will have to meet certain requirements that are set for acceptance. These requirements often differ depending on what type of degree your are looking to go for. All programs offer slightly different prerequisites, but tend to follow a pretty similiar list of requirements. Below is a list of the potential ones you may have to meet in order to get into the nursing school you’re interested in. Included are detailed requirements for Associates Degrees, Bachelors Degrees as well as Masters Degrees. Schools with nursing programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities.

Requirements For ADN Nursing Programs

Attaining an associates degree in nursing (ADN) is by far the most popular route that is taken when it comes to degrees that nursing students go after. The ADN provides an excellent stepping stone to a bachelors degree if one chooses to pursue higher education later on. Getting an associates degree from nursing school will give you the chance to become a Registered Nurse and is a relatively inexpensive way of starting a nursing career. An associates in nursing through a community college can run on only a couple thousand dollars for the two years of schooling.


  1. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in your college courses
  2. A minimum of a high school diploma or GED
  3. Certain prerequisite courses that can include: Human Anatomy & Physiology, Humanities, Chemistry, English, Psychology, Algebra, History among others. GPA requirements can range anywhere from a cumulative 2.0 to 3.0
  4. Certain ACT and COMPASS scores.

Requirements For a BSN(Bachelors of Science in Nursing)

The great thing about attaining a bachelors degree in nursing is the fact that there are schools dedicated to taking an RN with an associates degree and administering the training needed to become a RN with a bachelors. These schools are known as an RN to Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. The requirements of schools with nursing programs for bachelors degrees can consist of the following:

  1. You must have an eligible nursing license
  2. An associates degree in nursing that is completed with certain GPA requirements, usually ranging from 2.0 to 3.0
  3. Official transcripts as well as a photo copy of the student’s nursing license
  4. Certain Graduation Record Exam (GRE) scores

Requirements For MSN(Masters of Science in Nursing)

A masters degree from nursing school will allow one to enjoy top tier nursing income as well as open up the most opportunity for employment. These nursing programs are designed to provide preperation to students for advanced practice in nursing, like a nurse practitioner (NP) and usually run 18 to 24 months. Like a bachelors of science in nursing, these programs are refferred to as RN to Masters of Science In Nursing (MSN) programs. In order to get into a college with nursing programs that offer masters degrees in nursing, the requirements may include:

  1. A bachelors degree in nursing with certain GPA requirements
  2. Letters of recommendation, that can include letters from professional as well as personal resources
  3. Being working as an RN or be licensed
  4. A certain amount of clinical experience is required. The total number of hours varies for each program, but can range into the thousands of hours

How to Become a Nurse – Post Masters Certification

Once can also choose to go above and beyond and attain their Post Masters Certification. This is certification a status that is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) who offers over 30 areas of nursing that one can choose to specialize in. The certification can be completed after completing a masters degree at a college with a nursing program, and is set for those who want to gain the highest credentials in the field to both differentiate themselves from most all other applicants as wells as attaining the highest salary possible. As a student finding out how to become a nurse, you’ll find literally dozens of interesting fields in healthcare will be open to you!

Colleges With Nursing Programs Curriculum

The above are the major requirements for colleges with nursing programs. Once the prerequisites are complete, can mean acceptance into nursing school. As far as the college nursing class curriculum goes, one is taught the knowledge needed to pass the NCLEX. NCLEX is the certification test for aspiring nurses which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Below is a broad overview of curriculum taught in nursing school. As one advances through the ranks of nursing degrees, the curriculum becomes more accelerated with more advanced theories of nursing. These subjects are all based of certain standards that are set by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The training will most likely consist of both in class training also known as didacic, as well as training in a clinical setting to provide students with a feel for what the real thing is like.

  • Human Nutrition
  • Chemistry
  • Human Development
  • Health Promotion
  • Pathophysiology
  • Leadership and Management In The Healthcare System
  • Intro to Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Intro to Nurse Practice
  • Assessing Patients’ Health
  • Professional Communication
  • Risk Reduction
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethics in Nursing

As you research how to become a nurse, you’ll the above nursing school degrees will allow one to enter the field of nursing. This will allow the new nurse to work in multiple different specialties. Upon completion of a nursing school degree, one must then pass the certification exam. Once they pass their exam, they will become certified, which then to maintain this certification. The new nurse will need to attain a certain amount of continuing education, the number of hours being based off of the requirements designated by your State.