Steps to Becoming a Nurse
Nurses require comprehensive training and education to meet the demands of today’s healthcare environment and ensure effective patient care.
The steps to becoming a nurse start with attending and graduating from an accredited nursing program to earn a nursing diploma, associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind that earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at an accredited, well-respected institution like Houston Baptist University will prepare you for many more job opportunities, as well as higher earnings.
Completing a four-year BSN program to become a nurse will start you on the path toward many future career opportunities such as administration, advanced nursing, nursing consulting, teaching or research roles. More and more healthcare employers also are now requiring new RNs to also hold a BSN degree from qualified nursing schools.
How Do I Become a Nurse?
If you choose to earn your BSN degree from Houston Baptist University (HBU), for instance, you’ll receive a comprehensive education that blends arts and science to help you become a Registered Nurse who will perform effectively in our society.
HBU’s nursing faculty will also help you prepare for one of the major steps in becoming a nurse: taking and passing the NCLEX-RN licensing exam after you graduate to become licenses as a Registered Nurse.
Also known as the National Council Licensure Examination, NCLEX is a standardized test that every state regulatory board uses to determine if a candidate is ready to become licensed as an entry-level nurse. RN licenses are issued by the Texas Board of Nursing—and by licensing boards in every state and territory, and the District of Columbia (DC). RN licenses are not issued by HBU or any other educational institution.
Nursing graduates must apply for a license from their state board of nursing before taking the NCLEX exam. Each state has different criteria for eligibility, so you’ll want to make sure you meet all the requirements first.
The NCLEX covers the four “categories of needs,” which have been established nationally and include the following:
- A care environment that is safe and effective (including infection control)
- Psychological integrity, which includes coping and adaptation
- Health maintenance and promotion, which focuses on early intervention and preventing health issues, rather than curing them
- Physiological integrity, which primarily entails making sure patients are comfortable and properly cared for
NCLEX is a computerized test is a variable length computerized adaptive test and can range from 75 to 145 items. The length of the exam is determined by the candidate’s responses to items. The test is timed and must be completed within a defined allotted time. Those who do not pass must wait at least 45 days to retake the exam. The national average NCLEX-RN pass rate is around 84-86 percent.
You can find out more information about the NCLEX exam at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. NCSBN is a not-for-profit organization whose members include the nursing regulatory bodies in all 50 states, District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.
Once you pass the NCLEX exam and become licensed as an RN, you are on your way to becoming a nurse, ready to explore many job opportunities. Registered Nurses are in high demand, so recent nursing graduates often have multiple options to decide where they would like to work.
How Do I Apply to HBU for Nursing?
To begin your steps to becoming a nurse, you can apply to HBU’s BSN program by meeting the following requirements:
- Must be accepted to HBU through the undergraduate admission process, with a minimum 3.0 GPA (Cumulative GPA, Science GPA, HBU GPA).
- Show, in your transcripts, no more than two grades of “D” or “F” in the required science courses, or more than one grade of “D” or “F” in a nursing course (if there are more failing grades, you’re not eligible for admission).
- The Assessment Technologies Institute Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS) is a pre-requisite for the HBU bachelor of science nursing (BSN) program. No other exam scores may be substituted to meet this requirement.
- Complete all nursing prerequisite courses with a grade of “C” or better.
Meet with a Nursing faculty advisor to review the requirements checklist and receive an application to complete and submit to HBU.
Your Next Steps to a BSN Degree
If you’re ready to apply to the BSN program at Houston Baptist University, start your application process here.
If you still have questions and want more information, please contact us today. We’re ready to help you take your next steps to earning your BSN degree at HBU.