• 28 May 2018
  • 5 min read

Quick guide to becoming an RGN

  • Ruth Underdown
    Nurse & Nurses.co.uk Specialist Writer

In this piece, we look briefly at the route to becoming a Registered Nurse. 

In this guide, we'll briefly explain the key points that will get you on your way to becoming an RGN!

The term RN stands for Registered Nurse and can broadly mean any nurse who has completed their training, be it a diploma or degree, in one of four specialisms – Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability.

Adult Nurses were traditionally known as Registered General Nurses and are often still referred to as RGN’s.

In this piece, we will concentrate on Registered Adult (or General) Nurses.

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 a Registered Nurse

To become a Registered Nurse, you need to have completed a nursing degree or a diploma of Higher Education.

Diplomas have been phased out in the early part of the 21st century and been replaced with a degree only programs. In order to apply to train as a nurse, you will need 5 good GCSE’s, including English and Maths, and between 2-3 good A-levels.

If you are a more mature student then you can complete alternative qualifications such as an Access course, NVQ’s or BTEC’s in Health and Social care which would be equivalent to A-levels.

Once you are on the path to achieving the minimum academic entry requirements, you will need to apply for an accredited course through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) when they open for applications at the start of each academic year - September.

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Courses are three to four years in length and you may train alongside other Healthcare Profession students – for example, paramedics, physiotherapists.

It is quite common these days for nurses to qualify with an Honours degree and go on to study for their Masters Award quickly afterwards.

Once qualified and registered with the NMC, you are legally allowed to call yourself a ‘Registered Nurse’ - after you have paid your registration fee and received your PIN from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Whilst you are waiting for the confirmation that you are now on the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s register; you may work as a Band 3 or 4 Healthcare Assistant dependent on the environment you are working in.

Becoming a RGN (Registered General Nurse) means that you cover a wide spectrum of care... whatever care setting you enter, the path you go down is completely up to you!

What Registered Adult Nurses do 

Registered Adult Nurse 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 may 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.

Read our blog on what a registered nurse does to find out more about the different roles and settings that an RGN can work in.

Moving Forward

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 a Registered Nurse and what you must do to become one, look through our RGN jobs and familiarise yourself with potential roles that you might be interested in after you have completed your training.

This can give you an idea of what the future may hold and help to direct your path.

You could also look at roles as a Healthcare Assistant to give you the experience of the care environment which will bolster your application for your training.

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About the author

  • Ruth Underdown
    Nurse & Nurses.co.uk Specialist Writer

Since qualifying in Adult Nursing in 2002 I’ve worked as a specialist nurse with the NHS, and in the private sector as a general nurse and sessional nurse for a hospital at home team (I’ve been about a bit!). Also kept nice and busy by my young family!

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  • Ruth Underdown
    Nurse & Nurses.co.uk Specialist Writer

About the author

  • Ruth Underdown
    Nurse & Nurses.co.uk Specialist Writer

Since qualifying in Adult Nursing in 2002 I’ve worked as a specialist nurse with the NHS, and in the private sector as a general nurse and sessional nurse for a hospital at home team (I’ve been about a bit!). Also kept nice and busy by my young family!