How can I be successfully become an RN?

Hi Dean Villarruel,

I'm currently an junior at UCLA studying biology. Throughout my first two years, I was never sure I wanted to enter the healthcare industry so I didn't pursue nursing 100%. But this past summer, I was able to volunteer abroad as a health assistant and am pretty sure my calling is in nursing.

My question is, what do you think is the most important factor in becoming an RN? What is the ONE commonality you see among those who end up becoming RN certified?

And what are the different ways that someone in my situation (not knowing they were going to be a nurse coming into college) can end up becoming an RN. I feel slightly behind because I am not enrolled in a nursing program as an undergraduate.

Thank you.

Antonia Villarruel's avatar image.

It’s not too late to become a nurse! There are several paths to becoming an RN. Given the challenges of today’s complex environment, the route to becoming an RN should lead to a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Multiple studies have linked a BSN with improved patient care outcomes. This is why there is such a push to make sure the best educated and prepared person is at the bedside. Some might start with an associate degree in nursing – or others might even have completed a bachelor’s degree in another field. Many people come into nursing –just like you. You have a strong interest in science – which is critical – and looks like you have experience to let you know you like working with people – another important element. I hope you will continue to pursue a career in nursing. You are always welcome at Penn ;-)