An individual who wants to become an orthopedic nurse typically prepares by earning either a degree or diploma in nursing and securing the licensing necessary to become a registered nurse. Training is important as well, and aspiring orthopedic nurses receive not only classroom instruction, but also clinical training as part of their nurse education programs. After, completing a degree or diploma program, a person who wants to become an orthopedic nurse then goes on to take the licensing exam required in his jurisdiction. Some aspiring orthopedic nurses seek voluntary certification in orthopedic nursing as well or earn master’s degrees.
The road to becoming an orthopedic nurse typically starts with high school and earning a high school diploma. Some, however, earn General Educational Development (GED) diplomas instead or a jurisdiction-approved equivalent. Following high school or earning a GED, an aspiring orthopedic nurse typically enrolls in a nursing program with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. Depending on the aspiring nurse’s preferences and ultimate goals, he may opt to earn an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or diploma in nursing.
Earning an associate’s degree in nursing typically requires a two-year commitment, though some may need three years to complete the course requirements. Some people prefer this option because it allows them to begin working sooner than they could if they went to school to earn a bachelor’s degree. Others opt for a nursing diploma program, which may be offered at a nursing or vocational school, or even at some hospitals. Typically, nursing diploma programs take about two to three years to complete as well.
To have the most job opportunities and the highest potential for advancement, a person who wants to become an orthopedic nurse may opt to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. This may even afford a registered nurse higher pay in some places. Some aspiring nurses choose to continue their education by earning master’s degrees.
After completing the required classes and clinical training for a degree or diploma, a person who wants to become an orthopedic nurse typically takes the nursing licensure exam required in his jurisdiction. At this point, he’s completed all of the requirements for becoming a registered nurse and may go on to seek orthopedic nursing certification, which is often voluntary. In some places, a registered nurse can only receive such certification after gaining a minimum amount of experience and then earning a satisfactory score on a certification exam. As such, an aspiring nurse may apply for a job in orthopedics and begin working in a hospital, medical facility, or doctor’s office before seeking this additional certification.