- 28 May 2018
- 5 min read
Quick guide to becoming an RGN
We look briefly at how anyone can become an RGN - the journey to a career as a general nurse.
The term RGN stands for Registered General Nurse and can broadly mean any nurse that has completed their degree or diploma and is then accredited by the Royal College of Nursing.
Nowadays, the term is being phased out and replaced with a different set of acronyms.
To help you understand the kinds of jobs you might find available, we've produced a guide to just what RGN jobs are.
How to become an RGN
To become an RGN, you need to have completed a nursing degree or, pre-1990s, a diploma.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) have a list of accredited programs at appropriate institutes that you can use to find a good course.
From the mid-nineties, and after Project 2000, nurses were expected to hold modern academic degree qualifications.
Courses are three to four years long with the first year learning basic nursing and the others specialising in adult, child, mental health or learning disability.
After this, you can continue to specialise in a variety of ways.
To practice lawfully now, you study to become a pre-registered nurse and then you apply for current and valid registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Before registration, you may work as an HCA, care assistant, clinical support worker or nursing assistant.
What RGNs do
RGN jobs consist of all kinds of work and it will vary depending on your specialisation.
Broadly, you may work in hospitals or out in the community.
In hospitals, you could work in all kinds of inpatient and outpatient settings such as A&E, wards or an area like Oncology.
In the community, you'll work in areas like schools, prisons or GP surgeries.
After working in front-line jobs, you may wish to move into education and managerial work. To do so, you will need to study further.
Routes to a career as a general nurse
There are a few routes into nursing but these all involve university.
You cannot become a nurse in the UK without completing a nursing degree. There are many ways of accessing your degree:
5 A-C GCSEs including English and a science and at least 2 A Levels Access to nursing courses
BTEC National Diplomas
If you haven't the time to study full-time, there are part-time courses and you may also be able to secure a nursing secondment.
This route involves working as a senior health care assistant/assistant practitioner whilst studying part-time too.
A secondment may however reduce your chances for NHS bursary help.If you have previous experience or study, you may also be able to take the degree course more quickly than others.
The best way to assess the jobs available is ultimately to look through them.
Now you have an idea of what you may be expected to do as an RGN and how you're able to do them, look through our RGN jobs and familiarise yourself.