How to become a Registered Nurse

Registered Nurse

Becoming a registered nurse is a very rewarding career path to take. Nursing involves day to day medical care and aiding the wellbeing of hospital patients, as well as being a source of support to those undergoing treatment.

Registered nurses work with medical professionals, such as doctors and surgeons, to give patients medical treatment. They may work in private and public hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics or on an outpatient basis, visiting patients in their homes. 

Being a nurse typically involves tasks such as: 

  • Administering medical treatment to patients that has been prescribed to them by a doctor. This could be in a hospital ward, or giving injections or other treatment in surgeries or clinics. 
  • Communicating with doctors about patient’s needs and wishes.
  • Consulting patients before they see a doctor in a hospital or other practice.
  • General care in hospital wards.
  • Helping patients with emotional needs.

Those who are on this career path should have a caring temperament and really want to help people. Nonetheless, they also need to be resilient as the job can be very emotionally taxing. 

Most people’s steps to becoming an registered nurse start with tertiary education in nursing. It is quite common to do these degrees as mature students, as many people switch careers to nursing later in life. Some governments offer extra funding for nurse students, because professionals in the field are widely in demand.

Registered nurses generally choose a specialism in fields like: mental health, child nursing, palliative care or hospital nursing. The training for each specialism differs, as does the pay. Being a nurse means working long hours and often doing shift work at unsociable times. It is famous for being an exhausting role, but many people in this position are, rightly, very proud of what they do.  

What degree is most commonly held by a Registered Nurse?

  • BA / M of Nursing
  • BA / M of Nursing & Midwifery
  • BA / M of Science & Nursing

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: High
Nursing is famous for its transportability; many registered nurses opt to become travel nurses, staying in one place for three to six months when a higher concentration of qualified nurses are needed.  Being a travelling nurse can be stressful, as the person will constantly be moving places and sometimes changing cultures. However, nurses also tend to find it a lot easier to permanently emigrate abroad than people in other careers, as there is a global demand for nursing professionals.

What is the Salary of a Registered Nurse?

Experience Average salary | year
Junior Starter $51,198 £23,000 $30,288
Mid-Level 1-4 Years $57,780 £24,000 $32,795
Senior 5+ Years $59,864 £27,000 $37,611
Nursing Director $110,000 £140,000 $123,000

What skills are needed to become a Registered Nurse?

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitals
  • Patient Safety
  • Nursing
  • Healthcare Management
  • Clinical Research
  • Customer Service
  • Microsoft Office
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Microsoft Word
  • Healthcare
  • Leadership
  • Research
  • Nursing
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Critical Care
  • Acute Care
  • Public Health
  • Patient Education
  • Medicine
  • Inpatient
  • Public Speaking
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Management
  • Nursing Education

Registered Nurse Courses

There are plenty of courses for those wondering how to become an rn, depending on what area you’d like to specialise in. Candidates can study nursing and long term conditions, Parkinson's Disease or violence through patient care. Or for something more broad - especially for those thinking about being a travelling nurse - begin with the role of nurses around the world.
  • Learning Theory for Nursing: An Introduction

    Understand how learning theory applies to nurse education with this course for nurses and healthcare professionals

  • Nursing and Long-term Conditions: An Introduction

    Explore your role as a nurse in helping patients stay healthy and manage their long-term conditions

  • Introduction to Nursing: The Role of Nurses Around the World

    Understand the role of nurses from personal care to supporting families and communities to public health and infection control

  • Addressing Violence Through Patient Care

    Learn about the vital role that health workers play in violence prevention and peace-building in clinical environments

  • COVID-19: Effective Nursing in Times of Crisis

    Explore how nursing can respond to the challenges posed by low resources and high societal uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19

  • Understanding NHS Values: Becoming a Nurse or Midwife

    Discover NHS values and prepare for a career in nursing and midwifery with this free online course

  • Good Brain, Bad Brain: Parkinson's Disease

    Learn the fundamentals of Parkinson's disease with this online course What causes it and what we can do to treat it

  • Introduction to Nursing: Bioscience, Psychology, and Sociology

    Explore the diverse skills and knowledge required to be a nurse and find out where a career in nursing could take you

  • Care Home Nursing: Changing Perceptions

    Challenge your opinion of what it's like to be a care home nurse and understand their importance and varied responsibilities

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