Nursing can be a rewarding career choice for those who want to help others live long, happy lives. Becoming a nurse in Pennsylvania takes hard work and dedication, but that can translate into steady, well-paid work.
Let’s take a look at how to become a nurse, from the skills that can make you successful to protecting yourself with nursing liability insurance in PA.
What makes a good nurse?
Becoming a nurse in any state takes a lot of study and hard work. However, medical knowledge and ability aren’t the only skills you will need. Successful nurses often have many “soft” skills that help them work effectively with their patients.
Soft skills that you may need as a nurse include:
- Listening and communication
- Empathy and compassion
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Able to adapt to changing situations
- Keep cool under pressure
These skills, along with others, can help you work better with patients and colleagues, help your patients feel heard and understood, and help you do your job with confidence and professionalism.
Registered Nurse training in Pennsylvania
While developing your soft skills is important, you will also need formal education and training to become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania.
The first step towards becoming an RN is to complete an approved nursing program. This can be either an associate degree, Bachelor’s degree, or diploma nursing programs. A high school diploma or equivalent may be a prerequisite to enter these programs.
The Pennsylvania Department of State website has more information about approved programs in the state. They can also help you find a program in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, or wherever you wish to study.
Getting your nursing license
After you have completed your nursing program, you will need to get your nursing license to work in Pennsylvania. The first step is to pass either the National Council of State Boards – Registered Nursing Exam (NCLEX-RN) or the State Board Test Pool Exam (SBTPE). These exams assess the medical knowledge and skills you will need to work as a nurse.
Licensing requirements in Pennsylvania also require nurses to take a 3-hour course on how to recognize and report child abuse.
Once you’ve met the above criteria, you are able to apply for your nursing license. To do this you will need to:
- Provide evidence that you have passed an approved nursing program
- Provide evidence that you have passed either the NCLEX-RN or SBTPE
- Submit a state criminal history record check (CRHC) from your state of residence (if you live, work, or are training in PA this will automatically generated and billed to you with your application)
- Submit an FBI background check or CRHCs from every state where you have lived, worked, or trained in the last 10 years
- Pay an application fee
Nursing license by endorsement
If you have a current nursing license from another state or country, you may qualify for a nursing license by endorsement in Pennsylvania. This saves you the effort of re-doing your nurses’ training, as long as it is equivalent to PA’s requirements at the time you received your degree and license.
To receive your nurse license by endorsement, you will need to:
- Submit proof of your completed nursing program
- Submit a Letter of Good Standing verifying that your nursing license is active
- Submit the necessary FBI and/or CRHC background checks
- Complete the 3-hour child abuse recognition and reporting course
- Pay an application fee
You may also need to pass the NCLEX-RN or an equivalent exam to receive your nursing license by endorsement in Pennsylvania.
Renewing your nursing license
After you’ve received your Pennsylvania nursing license, you will need to renew it every two years. Thirty hours of continuing education is required at renewal, as well as retaking the child abuse recognition and reporting course.
You will also need to pay a renewal fee when you submit your application.
Protecting yourself at work
A lot of study and hard work goes into becoming a nurse. You might want to consider nurse insurance in Pennsylvania to protect your career and work you’ve put into it. Different types of nursing liability insurance in PA can help you manage many of the risks that nurses often face in their line of work.
Insurance policies—such as General Liability, Professional Liability (sometimes referred to as malpractice insurance for nurses in PA), and Cyber Liability—can help protect you against expensive claims and lawsuits. As someone who works closely with patients and other members of the public, you may need a safety net for your bank accounts should a third-party allege that your actions or professional advice caused them to suffer a financial loss.
Is nursing the career for you?
Nurses are an essential part of Pennsylvania’s healthcare system. The work you do is important, and it takes a special type of person to do this day in and day out. If you think you have what it takes to care and advocate for the patients who need it most, then you may want to look into study and licensing options in your area.
Thinking about nurse insurance in Pennsylvania? BizInsure is proud to help busy nurses find insurance options that fit their unique business needs. Start comparing policies now.
As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.