How to become a nurse

ways to become a nurseAs nursing has grown from a skills-based profession to one of strategic thinking and technical prowess, your options for obtaining a registered nursing (RN) license have grown as well. Today, there are three nursing paths that qualify you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and earn your RN license. Which one is right for you?

1. Hospital Diploma Programs

Hospital diploma programs take two to three years to finish, and the diplomas are awarded by the hospital itself. These programs are steeped in hands-on learning experiences in each clinical unit, offering you in-depth exposure to daily nursing tasks. A standard diploma curriculum typically includes nursing courses at the facility and general education courses at a community college affiliate.

Some hospitals have their own school of nursing and follow an admissions process that mirrors traditional colleges and universities. Financial aid is usually available, and some hospitals will cover a portion of your tuition in exchange for a fixed duration of employment.

However, as more employers prefer to hire RNs with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), these programs are few and far between.

2. Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Programs

Associate degree programs are a viable option for nursing students who can’t take on the upfront costs of a bachelor’s degree but are headed in that direction. Associate programs are about two years long and commonly offered at community colleges and baccalaureate campuses. The ADN curriculum covers science, clinical preparation and general education.

The key benefit of an associate’s degree over a nursing diploma is that many of credits you earn in an ADN program can be applied toward a BSN (as long as the school is accredited).

3. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs

The BSN is a one-stop shop for entry-level RNs, integrating the core sciences with clinical instruction in and out of the hospital and exposure to professional nursing specialties like research and informatics, giving you a more diverse educational experience. A BSN primes you to earn a higher salary than your non-degree counterparts and qualifies you for a wider variety of certifications. A bachelor’s degree also puts you in a great position to further your education and lean in to senior positions in health care.

Related text  How to win

Earning a bachelor’s degree is no small task, but Roseman’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Las Vegas can help you become an RN in just 16 months. Contact us today to learn more.

Step 2. Earn National Certification as a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) through a Recognized Certification Board

After earning an MSN or higher degree with an emphasis on the nurse practitioner role and patient population focus of choice, graduates must prepare to take a national certification examination to become credentialed as an NP with knowledge and clinical training in the patient population focus that aligns with their graduate education.

Passing a national certification examination indicates that the graduate possesses a level of professional knowledge in their chosen population focus. This is necessary to qualify for APRN licensure as a nurse practitioner through all state boards of nursing.

The following national certification agencies offer certification examinations for the respective nurse practitioner population foci and are recognized by all state boards of nursing:

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

  • Adult nurse practitioner (ANP)
  • Family nurse practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP)

The certification examinations of the AANP each consist of 150 multiple-choice questions, including 15 pretest questions. The AANP encourages applicants to being the application process as early as six months before graduation.

Upon completion of the clinical and didactic portions of their nurse practitioner program, candidates can expect to receive a letter in the mail from Professional Examination Services (ProExam) notifying them of their authorized testing window dates.

Candidates would take the appropriate AANP exam through Prometric Testing Services, which has testing centers throughout the U.S.

Related text  How to know if someone blocked you on instagram

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

  • Acute care nurse practitioner – Board certified (ACNP-BC)
  • Adult nurse practitioner – Board certified (ANP-BC)
  • Family nurse practitioner – Board certified (FNP-BC)
  • Gerontological nurse practitioner – Board certified (GNP-BC)
  • Pediatric primary care nurse practitioner – Board certified (PPCNP-BC)
  • Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner – Board certified (PMHNP-BC)
  • Adult psychiatric- mental health nurse practitioner – Board certified (PMHNP-BC)
  • Adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP-BC)
  • Adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP-BC)
  • School nurse practitioner

ANCC exams consist of between 150 and 175 score test items, as well as 25 pilot test questions.

Candidates would take the appropriate ANCC exam through Prometric Testing Services, which has testing centers throughout the U.S.

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)

  • Pediatric nurse practitioner primary care (CPNP-PC)
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner acute care (CPNPAC)

PNCB exams validate a candidate’s knowledge, skills, and abilities as it relates to primary or acute pediatric care. Upon graduating from a nurse practitioner program in pediatrics, candidates will receive notification of their eligibility to sit for the exam through PNCB. Once they receive this letter, they must schedule the appropriate PNCB exam within 90 days.

Candidates would take the appropriate AANP exam through Prometric Testing Services, which has testing centers throughout the U.S.

National Certification Corporation (NCC)

  • Women’s health nurse practitioner – Board certified (WHNP-BC)
  • Neonatal nurse practitioner – Board certified (NNP-BC)

The NCC will notify graduates of nurse practitioner programs in women’s health or neonatology of their eligibility to schedule the appropriate NCC exam. The NCC core examinations are three hours long.

Upon receiving their eligibility letter, candidates must schedule their own exam appointment through AMP. Most AMP Assessment Centers are located in H&R Block offices, and candidates are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Related text  How to make tuna fish

Step 3. Earn APRN State Licensure as a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP)

To qualify for state licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), nurse practitioners must possess:

  • An MSN or higher degree through an accredited nurse practitioner graduate program
  • National certification as a nurse practitioner in a recognized population focus
  • A current and unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license

Once candidates have achieved state licensure, they must practice within the professional boundaries set forth by their state board of nursing.

All states allow nurse practitioners to prescribe prescription medications, including controlled substances. Depending on the state, applicants may also need to apply for prescriptive authority. All nurse practitioners who prescribe controlled substances must apply for DEA Registration.

Practice Restrictions

In some states, nurse practitioners are required to establish a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician.

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, without the need for formal physician oversight of any kind. In these states, nurse practitioners are fully recognized as independent practitioners and are not required to establish a collaborative practice agreement or gain physician consent for any act within their scope of training and education, as defined in their state’s scope of practice laws:

However, all states that do not appear on this list do restrict the practice of nurse practitioners, and generally require NPs to enter into collaborative physician agreements that specify what acts must be delegated through a physician and the parameters for delegating these acts. Depending on a state’s licensing laws, the collaborative agreement may stipulate everything from direct on-site supervision in the most restrictive states, to off-sight phone consultation for the delegation of certain acts and prescribing privileges in the least restrictive states.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners maintains information on licensure and regulatory requirements for nurse practitioners in each state.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: