The 7 Steps to a Nursing Career

The 7 Steps to a Nursing Career - Marquette University

Is nursing your true calling, only you chose a different degree path? If you’re unsure of the right way to go about switching careers to nursing, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of confusion about the steps to nursing.

Fortunately, that nursing career you’ve always been called to fulfill is closer than you think, thanks to your previous degree. With Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, you can leverage your previous degree to earn a master’s level nursing education from a top-tier university in less than 21 months.

To demystify the process for transitioning to nursing, we’ve broken down the seven steps to a nursing career.

1. Talk to an admissions adviser to determine a good fit.

Before you apply for a nursing program or sign up to take any outstanding prerequisites, you need to talk to an admissions adviser. During your first call with a Marquette admissions adviser, you’ll learn about the Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie in greater detail, as well as discuss your reasons for wanting to be a nurse, availability to participate in the full-time program, education history and interest in Marquette University. This will help your adviser determine whether you are a good fit for the Direct Entry MSN program. It’s also a good time to ask any questions you have about the program and to discuss any concerns before going any further with the process.

Of course, this won’t be the only time you talk to an adviser, so don’t fret if you forget to ask a question. Throughout the enrollment period, you’ll be in regular contact with your assigned admissions adviser, who will help guide you through every step of the nursing school admissions process.

2. Fulfill any prerequisite course requirements.

After your initial admissions call, you will send your adviser a copy of your unofficial college transcripts. He or she will evaluate these documents carefully to determine eligibility for the program, as well as whether you will need to complete any prerequisite coursework prior to enrollment.

He or she will then work with you to develop a plan for completing these courses in a timely manner. Ultimately, which courses you will need to take (if any) depends on your previous degree, course completion date and grades.

Steps to becoming a nurse

Want more insight into the prerequisites step? Read more in our post here.

3. Take the GRE® General Test, if applicable.

In addition to taking any outstanding prerequisites, you may also need to take the GRE® General Test. That is, if you have a previous GPA lower than 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. The GRE is a computer-delivered test designed to assess students’ verbal and quantitative reasoning and analytical writing abilities to ensure they possess the critical-thinking skills necessary to succeed in graduate-level courses.

4. Apply for the Direct Entry MSN program.

Once you’ve completed your prereqs and taken the GRE (unless exempted), it’s time to start the formal application process, which begins with you applying via the NursingCAS portal and paying a $65 application fee. Through the portal, you will be required to submit the following:

  • Your official school transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An up-to-date resume
  • A written admissions statement

Keep in mind that anything you submit reflects back on you, so be sure to put some thought into who you ask to write your letters of recommendation — recommendations from professional colleagues, school faculty and supervisors carry more weight than social relationships. And be sure to give them advance notice so they have time to do a thorough job. We also cannot stress enough the value of having someone (preferably with a knack for grammar) read over your resume and admissions statement before submitting.

5. Attend Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program.

You’ve talked to an adviser, completed your prereqs, taken the GRE and been accepted into Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie. Over the course of 19–21 months, you’ll receive a thorough nursing education through a blended curriculum of online coursework, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations. Here’s how it works.

Student completing online nursing simulation

Online Coursework

Flexible online coursework allows you to learn and study on your schedule through our e-Learning platform.

There you’ll read about nursing concepts, hear from expert nursing professors and other subject matter experts, complete and submit assignments, take quizzes, engage in interactive exercises designed to illustrate complex nursing concepts, participate in discussion forums, and interact with your nursing instructors.

Skills and Simulation Labs

Hands-on skills and simulation labs let you apply your nursing theory coursework at our state-of-the-art learning site in Pleasant Prairie.

  • In skills lab, you’ll learn essential nursing skills such as inserting IVs and catheters, checking vital signs, applying sterile techniques, and conducting comprehensive physical assessments.
  • In simulation lab, you’ll experience high-pressure nursing scenarios designed to help you learn to think critically and make decisions based on imperfect information. Following these simulated experiences, your lab group and instructor will conduct a debrief session so that everyone has the opportunity to learn what went right, what went wrong and what could be improved.

Clinical Rotations

Rounding out your nursing education, clinical rotations give you more than 1,000 hours of real-world experience in a variety of healthcare settings, from hospitals and clinics to nursing homes. In clinicals, you’ll learn while providing actual nursing care to patients under the expert guidance of your clinical instructor.

In addition to labs, you’ll also attend review sessions and take tests at our Pleasant Prairie learning site, as well as enjoy access to open lab sessions where you can get extra practice on your own.

6. Register for the NCLEX-RN.

This is probably the most confusing step toward becoming a nurse; however, it’s not as complicated as it might seem. In order to receive authorization to test, you must do two things:

  1. Apply to your state’s nursing regulatory body (NRB) for licensure.
  2. Register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX.

7. Take the NCLEX.

Once you receive authorization to test, you are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination. By this time you should be well-prepared to sit for the exam, thanks to our program’s built-in NCLEX review sessions and practice tests. However, it’s important to recognize that the NCLEX covers all aspects of your nursing education. For that reason, we recommend studying regularly throughout the program so that you walk into the NCLEX testing center confident. After all, you must pass in order to become licensed.

What Is an Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) State?
Wisconsin is currently one of 31 states participating in the eNLC. This means that if you are a resident of Wisconsin, you may apply for a multi-state license granting you RN status in all 31 compact states.

Ready to Launch Your Nursing Career?

If nursing is your true calling, there’s no better time than right now to start working toward your nursing degree. Give us a call today to talk to an admissions adviser and learn more about how you can become a practice-ready nurse in 19–21 months with Marquette’s second-degree MSN program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

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