A Shortcut to Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)
The demand for registered nurses is high. With the aging Baby Boomers population requiring medical care and with many nursing reaching the age or retirement, RN positions need to be filled.
Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient centers are in desperate need of registered nurses to care for the constant influx of patients. And, the nursing shortage is expected to get worse as the years go by.
But, this is nothing new.
The call for nurses has been made by commercials, media, nursing schools, and hospitals. Students have heard the cries and have heeded the call! So now, so many students want to be nurses that getting into nursing school has never been more competitive!
Many prospective students have completed their prerequisites and are not-so-patiently waiting on university wait lists while they retake classes to replace B's with A's. Most are working students and struggle to balance work and school while fulfilling volunteer hours and extracurricular activities to try to stand out above the crowd.
Many students begin to wonder whether there is an easier way!
Have no fear! The pathways to earning a career as a registered nurse are evolving and there is a shortcut to getting started faster as a registered nurse!
Earn a certificate as a nursing assistant (CNA) then work as a CNA while attending a CNA to LPN program. Many are tailored for working students. The CNA program is usually just a couple months of part-time work and the CNA will earn experience in nursing while earning more money that most college-aged jobs pay.
CNA's can work in home health, for private homes, in hospitals, and in skilled nursing facilities.
Next, keep the CNA job and go to LPN school.
These are usually full-time programs but the beauty of working in healthcare is the 24/7 hours! CNAs can work evenings, after LPN school is out for the day. The program is usually about a year long, prerequisites vary by school, and the waitlist is usually fairly short. LPN as a career is not recommended, it is being phased out of most states, but instead use it as a stepping stone to qualify for a LPN to RN program.
Once LPN school is completed, work as an LPN while attending a LPN to RN program. This is an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN).
These are usually designed for the working nurse and many schools offer evening and weekend classes. Online classes may be available but because clinical hours are required by each state these must be fulfilled in-person. Some schools may offer online classes with a preceptor to fulfill clinical hours, but in this nurse's opinion, being present in a classroom is important for this year of nursing school. The core of nursing is taught the first 2 years.
Once the RN degree is finished he or she can work, as a nurse, while earning the BSN online or in the evenings. See RN to BSN programs.
So now, instead of spending 3 years on a waitlist for a 4-year Bachelor's Degree in Nursing program, the nurse can actually be spending that time working, gaining experience as a RN, and earning great money in nursing.
Many nurses can even stay within the same healthcare system as they continue to gain education and the employer will probably offer tuition reimbursement!
Learn more about how to become an RN.
Most students don't realize a Bachelor's degree is not required to start a career as a RN. Let's caveat this by saying that at some point in the distant future it may be required. But, for now, in 2016, most hospitals and non-hospitals do not require a BSN in nursing to get started.
Some large teaching hospitals may require the BSN for new graduates, but most hospitals do not. Those that don't may have a hiring stipulation of obtaining a BSN within 5 years, but for this, they likely offer tuition assistance. Most BSN programs are designed for the working nurse and are less than a 2 years. Many are 100% online. Learn more about accelerated BSN programs if you are looking for a faster paced option.
Look up the job requirements for New Graduate RNs on hospital websites. You may be surprised!
Latest posts by Brooke Wallace (see all)
- RN Contact Hours and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) - November 1, 2016
- A Shortcut to Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) - September 22, 2016
- Why 2016 & 2017 May Be the Best Time to Start a Career as a Registered Nurse - August 25, 2016
Registered Nurse (RN) vs. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)If you are like most people, you might not know the difference between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed…
A Shortcut to Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)Registered Nurses are in Demand The demand for registered nurses is high. With the aging Baby Boomers population requiring medical…
Why 2016 & 2017 May Be the Best Time to Start a Career as a Registered NurseFor many years now, the new graduate registered nurse has a difficult time finding a job. The 2008 recession hit…
The Do’s and Do Not’s of Getting Accepted into Nursing SchoolHow Do I Get Accepted into Nursing School? Over the last decade nursing school acceptance has become increasingly difficult. The…
Difference in Workplace Roles of LPN’s and RN’s of Varying Education LevelsWith the increasing age of the Baby Boomer generation and the onset of Obama Care, the need for nurses as…