RN: Registered Nurse
What Is A Registered Nurse?
A Registered Nurse or RN is is a nurse that has completed the educational requirements set forth by the state board of nursing in their home state (and others) to gain an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. These nurses are found in many positions from patient care to teaching.
What Does An RN Do?
Registered Nurses perform a wide variety of services based on their specific training. They may provide a scope of care similar to LPNs, which means that they can pass medications including narcotics, give injections, take patient vitals, and perform personal care.
RNs may also start IVs, perform pre-operation steps (shaving, cleaning, etc), give post-operation support, and keep track of medical charts. Registered Nurses also fill supervisory roles in nursing homes and hospitals where they oversee LPNs and CNAs. They are often in charge of a large amount of patients or residents in nursing homes, or in some case, the whole facility on second and third shifts.
What Do I need To Be An RN?
Before you choose which course to take, you will need to decide if you wish to have an Associate’s (ASN) or a Bachelor’s (BSN) degree. An ASN will require two years of training, while a BSN requires four years. Both are rewarding and have a higher pay rate than CNA or LPN. BSN level RNs are often hired for supervisory roles or for teaching students for CNA classes.
This training also requires a number of prerequisites before training begins. Most are math and science based, though there will be a need for some English credits. The credits needed will depend on the school. There are loans and grants available to people that wish to become a nurse, check with the school you choose and even your employer if you work in the healthcare field.
Testing and Licensure
Registered Nurses will need to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination in the last portion of their senior year of classes. It is important to apply near the end of training, as the Authorization to Test will have only a 30 day window of validity. If you do not schedule and take your NCLEX before those 30 days are up, you will need to apply again and pay another application processing fee.
The NCLEX is a computer adaptive test which means that the program bases the questions it asks on your answers. When you have answered enough questions in a correct manner, creating a significant ration to the incorrect answers, you will pass the test. The programs ends and you will be issued a license. This license will allow you to practice in your state as an RN or if you live in a Nursing Licensure Compact state(NLC), in other NLC states.
RN licenses are valid for two years. For the license to remain active, you will need to renew your license. Your state’s board of nursing will send notifications when it is time to renew, along with the fees that are due.