Professional Registered Nurse Education

There are various educational routes for becoming a professional registered nurse (RN). Initially, hospital schools of nursing were developed to educate nurses to work within those institutions. As nursing increasingly defined its own body of knowledge, formalized education processes were introduced to ensure a consistent level of education in institutions. Such consistency was also necessary for RN licensure.

Currently, the most frequent route you can choose to become a licensed nurse is through completion of an associate degree or baccalaureate degree program. Graduates of both programs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses in the state in which they will practice.

The associate degree program is a two-year program that is usually offered by a university or junior college. It focuses on the basic sciences and theoretical and clinical courses related to the practice of nursing. Graduates of this program take the state board examination for RN licensure.

The baccalaureate degree program usually encompasses four years of study in a college or university. The program focuses on the basic sciences and on theoretical and clinical courses, as well as courses in the social sciences, arts and humanities to support nursing theory.

The four-year degree program prepares you for essential knowledge, practice and values, personal qualities and professional behavior for the baccalaureate-educated nurse. A professional registered nurse agrees that nursing education is important to practice and that it must respond to changes in health care provided by scientific and technological advances.

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