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How to Become a Registered Nurse

how to become a registered nurse

The future of nursing is bright. A career in nursing offers multiple avenues for opportunities and advancement, but it is a great way to serve others as well. Those students interested in the sciences, along with helping others, could be an excellent fit for the top-rated nursing program at STU. 

While many students have the ambition to one day become a nurse, it can be hard to know just how to accomplish that goal. Learn more about how to become a Registered Nurse and the many benefits that this career choice offers.

Educational Requirements

Prospective students need to earn a degree in nursing to become a Registered Nurse. While students who earn an Associate’s Degree (ASN) can become a practical nurse, most employers require that their Registered Nurses earn a Bachelor’s Degree (BSN). 

The chosen nursing program must be accredited either through the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The nursing program at St. Thomas University is accredited by the latter.

Pathway to Nursing Program

The Pathway to Nursing program, also known as Pre-Nursing, offered at STU allows students to earn their undergraduate degree with the hope of acceptance into the nursing program. Students interested in nursing enroll in the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Nursing Specialization. This allows students to take the necessary undergraduate classes during the first two years of study that will set them up for their continued education.

It is important to note that students in this program are not guaranteed a spot in the Nursing program at STU. Instead, these students must still meet the minimum requirements needed to apply for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Spots in the BSN program are limited, and competition is high.

Minimum Requirements for the BSN Program

Students must complete the following, at a minimum, for consideration into the BSN program at St. Thomas University.

Completion of BSN Prerequisites

  • Anatomy and Physiology I & Lab
  • Anatomy and Physiology II & Lab
  • Chemistry for the Health Sciences & Lab
  • Microbiology & Lab
  • English Composition I
  • English Composition II and Literature
  • College Level Mathematics (College Algebra or higher)
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Principles of Nutrition
  • Statistics
  • Basic Microcomputer Applications 

Minimum Overall Grade Point Average

Students in the Pathways to Nursing program must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in all of the above prerequisite course work. The cumulative GPA is part of the criteria in creating a ranking for all students applying for the BSN program.

Officially Change Major

Those undergraduates in the Pathways to Nursing program are required to officially change their major with a “Change of Major Form” once the prerequisite classes have to feel fulfilled. Majoring in Bachelor of Science in Nursing is required for consideration into the program.

Health Requirements For Clinical Rotation

Part of the BSN program also includes hands-on experience for nursing students. This requires students to comply with different health regulations to keep themselves and their patients safe throughout their time in the program. 

  • Immunization Records
  • Background Check
  • Drug Screening
  • Social Security Number Validation
  • Physical Examination Form
  • CPR Card
  • HIPAA Compliance Form

Career Outlook

Simply put, the world needs more nurses. Earning a degree in nursing from St. Thomas University puts you in a position to follow your dreams no matter where you want to live or work in the future. Healthcare workers work in every town, city, and remote areas of the world. Students who major in nursing can work in many more markets and regions as opposed to other majors with limited options.

how to become a registered nurse

Continued Growth

The need for nurses continues to grow as the baby boomer generation ages, and more people need quality health care. Patients focusing on more preventative care, as well as an increased rate of chronic conditions, has created a dire need for quality nurses.

Estimations state that the need for nursing will grow 12% from now through 2028, which is much faster than other sectors. The number of Registered Nursing jobs in 2018 was well over 3 million providing plenty of options when it comes to finding the right career for you. 

Financial Security

Registered Nurses earn an average of $71,730 per year, which is a comfortable income for many young professionals. The opportunity to make more is usually an option as well for those nurses who want to work overtime or pick up extra shifts. This wage comes out to be just shy of $35.00 per hour. Add in healthcare, retirement, and other benefits that many employers offer to create a lucrative overall earnings package.

Choose Your Location

Those Registered Nurses from STU have the opportunity to work in multiple job environments. Nurses who want to work in a sleepy country town can do so as well as those wanting a fast-paced environment of the big city. Nurses are needed in all areas of the medical world from tiny locations to large metroplexes. As a Registered Nurse, you’ll be able to have your choice of career options.

Specialized Patient Groups

One of the best parts of how to become a Registered Nurse is the fact that you can choose your work environment. Nurses work all across the board in pediatric wings of hospitals to medical offices to nursing homes. If you particularly love working with women and babies, you can work at an OBGYN office or in the maternity ward of a local hospital. If you have a heart for elderly patients, you can work in nursing homes or retirement communities. The sky’s the limit when it comes to finding a job working with patients that you love. 

High Job Satisfaction

Having the ability to choose the specialty in which you work is key to job satisfaction and looking forward to coming into work every day. In fact, 83% of Registered Nurses reported that they felt satisfied with their careers in 2017. With a nursing degree from STU, you’ll likely enjoy your career path and look forward to going to work every day.

Future Career Opportunities

Many nurse practitioners, doctors, and other skilled healthcare professionals started their careers in nursing. Earning a nursing degree allows students to receive a solid foundation in medical education. Many students spend a few years in the workforce as a Registered Nurse and then continue their education in the future. This added education can help increase your salary as well as climb the ladder in a medical group.

how to become a registered nurse

Required Licensing

Nursing is a government-regulated profession that requires licensing. Registered Nurses must be in good standing in their chosen state.

Florida State Licensing

Those students who graduated from STU’s nursing program can be licensed in the state of Florida. Registered Nurses must keep their licensing up to date and in good standing throughout their careers.

Registered Nurse License by Examination

Most nursing students who graduate with a BSN from St. Thomas University will need to receive a Registered Nursing license by examination. There are requirements for this license, with the most important being graduation from an accredited nursing program. Graduates will take a test and pay fees to the state to receive their official license to nurse within Florida.

Registered Nurse License by Endorsement

Those current out-of-state nurses who want to become a nurse within the state of Florida will apply for a license by endorsement. These applicants have practiced nursing in another state yet need a current Florida state nursing license to work within the Sunshine State. Fees, as well as verification of past employment and education, are required for this license.

Nursing students at St. Thomas University enjoy working with people and want to help others. Not only is a career in nursing very satisfying, but it is a growing field of work that allows for a lot of flexibility. Learning how to become a Registered Nurse is the first step in achieving your future career goals. For more information about the nursing program at STU, contact the admissions office today.

Michelle Tulande

Author Michelle Tulande

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