If you want to get on the fast track to be an RN, consider getting your Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
Depending upon the program, this degree may also be called an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Associate of Arts in Nursing (AAN). These degree programs are found at community or junior colleges. Approximately 36.1 percent of today’s working nurses have started their careers with this degree.
According to the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, ADN programs have increased in number since they were first introduced in the late 1950s. There are now approximately 1000 programs available in the U.S.
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What the program is like
It takes approximately two years to get your degree if you take a full-time credit load. Before taking nursing classes, you are required to take prerequisites such as English, biology, chemistry, and math. You then move on to classes that are closely related to your future nursing practice such as pharmacology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition.
You’ll learn practical skills such as operating technical equipment, starting intravenous lines, and inserting catheters both in the classroom and during clinical rotations at hospitals and other facilities.
Getting your license
After you get your degree, you will take an exam to obtain your RN license. You can find more information about getting and maintaining your license by contacting the board of nursing in your state.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing http://www.ncsbn.org also has additional information about the exam.
What the job is like
In most nursing specialties and settings, RNs take care of patients. This includes tasks such as documenting in charts, giving medications, performing treatments, and doing diagnostic tests. Along with physical care, nurses also educate patients and families and act as advocates to meet their patients’ healthcare needs.
Nurses need to be expert communicators because a large portion of the job is coordinating all aspects of your patient’s care and meeting with other members of the healthcare team to solve problems.
Other education options
Other options for obtaining an RN license include a hospital-based diploma program, four-year BSN or an accelerated BSN for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. With regard to further education or job promotions, a hospital-based diploma is the same as an associate’s degree. A bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, can mean more money and more professional nursing opportunities.