According to the statistics, there has been a growing demand for nursing assistants. This presents great opportunities for individuals aspiring to make a future in this field. Aspirants can choose from the different work profiles available in this area. For instance, you can take the position of a registered nurse who works at medical facilities, a clinical nursing expert, a geriatric nurse, a critical care nurse or any other that interests you.
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How long it takes to become a qualified nurse
Different countries have different criteria regarding the registered nurse training period. On average, it may take anywhere from a year and a half to four years to get trained and certified as a nurse. It depends upon the path that one follows. Discussed below are the different programs that lead you to become a registered nurse:
1. Acquiring a Diploma in Nursing
To apply for a nursing diploma, it is essential that you have a diploma or equivalent in the related subjects. These prerequisites vary in different countries and also depend on the institute you are applying for. To apply for the course, you need to submit an application with the required certificates containing personal information. You need to sit for and clear an entrance test followed by an interview taken to access you on the personal front. After basic health screening and medical tests, you get clearance for the course. Earlier, a nursing diploma was the prime method to get into this field, however, with time, dedicated courses have been formulated that let you get into the stream beforehand. On completion, you can sit for the licensing exam for registered nurses for acquiring the certification. This program generally takes 2 to 3 years to complete.
2. Associate degree in nursing (ASN)
For a more in-depth study of the subject and for acquiring practical experience, you can opt for an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree. The course is one of the fastest ways to acquire a degree in nursing and a registered nurse certificate. It is generally a 2 to 3 years degree program offered by various colleges. The ASN program constitutes of delivering core healthcare knowledge and providing hands-on clinical experience with patients. On completion, the aspirants may sit for the NCLEX-RN exam to get a license in nursing.
3. Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)
While an associate degree in nursing may seem to be the ultimate way for becoming a nurse, some medical institutes and healthcare facilities may need a full-time bachelor’s degree as the basic requirement. A bachelor’s degree in nursing or BSN is a comprehensive course for nursing including topics like patient care, disease prevention, nursing research and a lot more. Applied skills training is a significant part of this course. It takes about 4 years to complete this course, however, some institutes may offer short-term integrated courses that finish in 3 years. This program opens doors for individuals who wish to acquire higher positions in the field or are looking forward to taking their education further to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).
4. Accelerated BSN (ABSN) & MSN programs
Yet another case is when you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-related field and want to pursue a career in nursing. In that case, you can undertake a two-year long Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program. ABSN programs are condensed courses for individuals who are looking for a career change and have limited time for study. These are also available online with simulation labs to offer exposure to the students for clinical placements. These courses can be as short as 15 months. Individuals with an associate’s degree in nursing can earn a complete BSN with a 12 to 14 months program which can be a part-time or full-time course. For individuals who are already working in this field or any other field, the part-time course can be a preferable option. Another advanced option is the Accelerated direct-entry MSN program that allows the students to get their BSN and MSN in 3 years.
From the above-discussed options, you can choose any path that suits you as per your education, financial ability and time that you can dedicate to the program.