Becoming a Nurse – What’s Involved?

Nursing + Student Caring

Becoming a Nurse – What’s Involved?

Nurses are considered to be the pillars of healthcare system, and rightfully so. Their jobs are so demanding, emotionally and physically that it requires just the right person to do it.  Taking care of the sick and injured patients, making decisions on the spot about life and death situations, telling family members bad news, often dealing with patients who are uncooperative and even aggressive, being compassionate about patients yet at the same time being focused and maintaining a high level of professionalism, assisting surgeons in complex procedures are just some of the various tasks that nurses do. Hence why being a nurse requires a person who has excellent people skills, great communication skills, who is able to answer questions and offer advice. Someone who is willing to work in emotionally charged situations and has a great deal of compassion and care. But above all, someone who is highly competent in his or her job.

Nursing competence is achieved through many years of practice and of course, through education as well. Depending on the level of care, there are three educational options for all those aspiring to work in the field of healthcare: ASN, BSN and MSN degrees.

An ASN (Associate in Science of Nursing) program, offered by nursing schools and community colleges, is an excellent choice for those who are not interested in clinical, administrative positions, but are rather keen on a practical, hands-on approach. It usually lasts for two or three years and provides participants fundamental knowledge in nursing, pharmacology and microbiology.

A BSC (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is a 4-year program designed to provide additional clinical experience, managerial skills and more clinical research. The program is a great option for those who want to have a greater amount of flexibility in their careers as well as possess certain experience in clinical settings.  It teaches participants about community health, health assessment, adult health care etc.

A MSC (Master of Science in Nursing) is a 6-year program that equips participants to become advance practice registered nurses, which enables them to do different jobs in the field of nurse administration, education, clinical studies, etc.  It is an excellent choice for those who want to have advance knowledge in nursing practices and who want to possess management skills. A MSC degree allows nurses to work as a certified nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, family nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse administrator.

Together with one of these degrees, a registered nurse has to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) test and obtain the license in order to be able to work. This license has to be renewed from time to time, which varies from state to state.

Those who are interested in working in healthcare but do not want to finish any of the programs, can become LPNs (licensed practical nurses) who undergo a one-year training program and take the NCLEX-PN exam. Supervised by registered nurses, an LPN is responsible for monitoring patients, providing assistance in patient care and collecting laboratory test samples.


Susan Langley MSC is a 15 year experienced nurse who regularly writes on behalf of


Why Your Opinion Matters: 

Our upcoming book:The Caring Professor: A Guide to Effective, Rewarding, and Rigorous Teaching, was written with feedback from many educators and students, which was our plan all along. We began by outlining our thoughts on a series of topics, then we recorded them to share with the world. From the feedback we received, we were informed about the needs of the student caring community. We need your feedback so we may continue to fulfill our mission statement and help students, the world over.

Thank you!

Daniel & David