A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed professional who works directly with patients to provide medical care. This is an occupation that is essential for patient care and is expected to grow at a faster than average pace in coming years (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?

The day-to-day life as a nurse can vary greatly depending on the specialty you choose as well as the environment you work in. However, registered nurses with a BSN generally enjoy more independence and less supervision when it comes to deciding treatment plans for their patients.

The typical duties and responsibilities of an RN include:

  • Educating patients and their families about treatment plans and health conditions
  • Providing emotional support for patients and their loved ones
  • Assisting physicians
  • Carrying out the medical orders of a physician
  • Administering medication
  • Supervising LPNs and nursing students

Skills needed for the job include:

  • Detailed understanding of human anatomy and physiology
  • Ability to work within computerized health systems
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical skills
  • Patience
  • Passion for helping others

Interpersonal skills are also needed to excel as a registered nurse. The job requires RNs to provide direct patient care, which means that you will be interacting with patients daily. RNs typically work alongside other health professionals and as a supervisor for some colleagues. This can lead to complex relationship dynamics that require an RN to balance numerous roles within the same work environment.

Learn more about how Arizona College’s accelerated nursing program can help you start your career in the nursing profession! Fill out the Request Information form to connect with an admissions representative who will answer any questions you have and provide you with the information you need.

What are the Career Paths for Registered Nurses?

Both specializations and healthcare environments can define the career paths of registered nurses. Some specialties to choose from include:

  • Surgical
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatrics
  • Emergency Care
  • Hospice
  • Oncology
  • Education

Commonly chosen work environments include:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical Facilities
  • Emergency Care Facilities
  • Long-term Care
  • Home Care
  • Nursing Homes
  • Physicians’ Offices
  • Outpatient Facilities
  • Hospice Care
  • Schools and Education Facilities
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Military Bases

What is the Typical Nursing Education Path?

Knowing how to become a registered nurse begins with understanding the educational requirements in your state. A bachelor’s degree in Nursing is one of four education levels recognized by the Arizona State Board of Nursing and the Nevada State Board of Nursing.

The levels of education for registered nurses include:

  • Nursing Diploma – Some schools will offer a nursing diploma, which is an entry-level educational program. Typically, these are obtained through hospital-based nursing schools.
  • Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) – This is generally a 2-3 year, career-focused program. The course is centered solely on nursing coursework.
  • Bachelors in Nursing (BSN) – This is usually a 3-4 year program that results in the student receiving a bachelor’s degree.
    • The degree program is focused on nursing science and healthcare coursework and it also includes general studies.
    • Those who hold a BSN will be qualified for positions that require an associate’s degree as well as positions that require a bachelor’s level education. This gives BSN holders a competitive edge over other job applicants.
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing – A master’s degree is one of the highest levels of education that a nurse can achieve.
    • Those that hold a master’s degree in nursing will be eligible for advanced practice jobs, such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.
    • Students must attain a BSN before they can enroll in a master’s level nursing program.

Arizona College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is designed to provide students with an extensive understanding of the medical knowledge and skills needed to pursue become a registered nurse. It includes 877 hours of clinical work and can be completed in as little as 3 years.

How Do You Get Initial Licensure?

In addition to completing a nursing program from an accredited school, individuals must also take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination before they can apply for a nursing license. Licensure is required in order to work as a registered nurse. This RN license will need to be periodically renewed, according to your specific state’s Board of Nursing guidelines.

Are you ready to take the first step towards becoming a registered nurse? Use the Request Information form to contact the dedicated RN admissions team at Arizona College. The nursing program is offered at our Mesa and Las Vegas campuses.