Graduates with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed RN. Applicants with an associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an accredited nursing program may also take the NCLEX-RN exam. All U.S. States, including the District of Columbia, require nurses to be licensed. Additional licensure requirements will vary by state.
Registered nurses (RNs) work with physicians and other healthcare specialists to provide care and treatment to patients. They record a patient’s symptoms, administer medications, assist physicians with diagnostic tests and analysis, and advise patients on how to manage their illness or injury. RNs may specialize in the treatment of specific health conditions, such as addiction or kidney-related issues, and/or caring for a specific type of patient, such as newborn babies or individuals with permanent disabilities. They also run public outreach health programs including health screenings, immunization clinics, and blood drives. RNs also work as public policy advisors, researchers, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical or medical supply company salespeople, medical writers or editors, and even teachers at colleges or universities.
BSN programs usually take four years to complete and include coursework in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, and psychology. Many programs provide students with clinical experience in long-term care facilities, walk-in clinics, and other non-hospital settings.