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Here's how to pursue your dream of becoming a nurse

by Lisa Christiansen

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system – in support of their focus on patient care, they respond to pressing healthcare concerns, and influence policy and practice. A multifaceted profession, nurses liaise between patients and doctors and provide comprehensive care that keeps patients going.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is projected to grow a substantial 6% between by 2032. This increase is faster than the average for all other occupations. Nursing is an in-demand career path with great potential for advancement. Read on for more insights from Baker & Goodman, nursing experts and authors of The Nurseketeers series.


Get Your Degree

Once you’ve decided you want to become a registered nurse (RN), you’ll need to graduate from an accredited nursing program, either with a diploma, or an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.


A two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are popular options. An associate to bachelor’s program or a second-degree program for those who have a bachelor’s degree in another field are pathways to expedite the schooling process.

Test, and Then Get Licensed

When you’re enrolled in school, you’ll have coursework on subjects such as nutrition, nursing research, microbiology, patient care, health care ethics and law, and anatomy and physiology. All this knowledge will help you take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination, a computerized test with 119 questions that must be completed within six hours.


After your nursing examination, you’ll be ready to obtain RN Requirements, fees, and processes vary by state. This is essential to becoming employable because it’s mandated that every employer follows licensing protocols when hiring new RNs.

Get Hired

You’ll be entering one of the most meaningful and soul-satisfying careers out there, so congratulations! However, finding the right job can be difficult, especially if it’s your first one. Luckily, there are options beyond traditional healthcare, including working in the community settings, clinics, or outpatient surgery settings.  Check out local care facilities such as clinics, local government agencies, rehabilitation centers, and area hospitals for employment opportunities. The career center at your school is also a good place for finding local positions listed by potential employers.


Find Your Specialty

Select the specialty in which you’re passionate. The industry is constantly evolving, and with that comes unique opportunities for every skill type. The specialty variety is vast and include such as becoming a cardiac nurse, clinic nurse specialist, emergency room nurse, geriatric nurse, travel nurse, or perioperative nurse, etc.

Alternatively, you may seek specialized nursing degree programs that can help you achieve your master’s or a doctorate. Not only will this bring more lucrative pay but also increasing levels of autonomy. Find an online program that enables you to work and learn at your own pace.


Becoming a registered nurse involves both education and preparation, but once you’ve made it through, you’re in for a long and successful career trajectory. You’ll be helping people while deepening critical life skills such as compassion, patience, and value for humanity. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, consider nursing as your vocation of choice. The profession needs smart and empathetic people who are ready to make a difference in the world.


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