How to Become a Nurse
Nursing is a rewarding and fulfilling career that offers a variety of job options, specialties and opportunities. For individuals interested in nursing, here are our best tips on how to become a registered nurse (RN).
1 Know Your Path
In general, every nursing path has the same 3 basic elements:
- Obtain a diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing
- Apply for licensure with the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN)
- Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn licensure
Look for these three basic steps in the programs you research and use them as milestones to help guide you in your educational plan.
"It was like I was always supposed to be a nurse because I care so much about people. It just kept popping up in my life. This voice saying 'What about nursing? What about nursing?'" – Cassie, nursing major
2 Know Your Options
Nursing is a growing field that offers more options than ever for students to pursue specialties, dual degrees, managerial opportunities and more. As you pursue your nursing degree, make sure to know and understand your options so you can make the right choices early (which can save you time and money).
Here are some options we always encourage potential nursing candidates to understand:
- Degree Type: A student may complete a diploma or associate degree more quickly than a bachelor’s or master’s degree; however, many employers (hospitals, extended care facilities, physician offices, surgery centers, etc.) are requiring nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This hiring change is in response to the Institute of Medicine report, which indicated a higher number of bachelor degree nurses at the bedside my result in improved patient outcomes.
- Make sure your program is fully accredited: Accreditation is important because it signals that outside regulatory agencies are making sure that the school is assessing its effectiveness and student outcomes. Aultman College is authorized by the Ohio Department of Education (ODHE) and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The BSN program is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Learn more about our accreditation.
"There was a lot of instability and many layoffs in manufacturing, which was my industry. I wanted a job I could count on to provide long-term employment, and that’s what you have in the health care field." – Dave (’06)
3 Know Your Details
As you research potential programs and begin to settle on ones you like, review the following details that can help you make a final decision.
- Review the program’s NCLEX pass rate: This rate signals how prepared nursing graduates are to pass the licensing exam to become an RN. In 2018, 98.44 percent of the first-time test takers from Aultman College passed the NCLEX. This is above the Ohio and national average of 88 percent.
- Check for direct admission policies: Many nursing programs only admit students initially as a “pre-nursing” major. After a year or two of courses, students must then compete for a seat in the professional division. Sometimes, there are more than 200 students vying for fewer than 30 seats in the nursing program. At Aultman College, accepted students are directly admitted into their program/major at the same time they are accepted into the college. Learn more about our direct admission policy.
"One of the reasons I came to Aultman College is because the graduates here have a very high passage rate for their licensure exams. That is very important to me." – Karen, nursing major