According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an individual interested in becoming a registered nurse needs a degree or diploma in the field. The top degree is a Bachelor's of Science, which is usually earned in four years, states the BLS. An Associate degree or diploma in nursing is typically a specialized two- or three-year program.
The BLS explains that the BSN degree requires students to take a number of science and medical courses, including anatomy, physiology, microbiology and psychology, as well as classes in the liberal arts. In addition, some nurses with Associate degrees or diplomas go back to school to earn their BSN in programs specially designed for RNs who want to continue their education.
The American Nursing Association points out nurses must pass a standardized test, the National Council Licensure Examination, or (NCLEX)-RN. The association indicates that, in addition to the national exam, all states and the District of Columbia have licensing regulations that pertain to nurses working in their specific locations.
The BLS also identifies several personality and intellectual traits that are important to nurses, including critical thinking skills, compassion, organization, emotional stability and focus on details. In addition, stamina and good speaking skills are mentioned as physical characteristics that are helpful to nurses.