How to Become a Nurse: Salary, Requirements and Types

Nurses are the right hand of doctors and, at the same time, are responsible for the well-being of patients. However, this job is not for everyone. By reading below, you will find out where you can work as a nurse, what studies and skills are needed and what are the risks you are exposed to. 

Where you can work as a nurse (Types of Nurses)

After obtaining the nurse certification, you can work for the state or in the private field, each regiment has its own rules and challenges.

State nurse

In order to be hired as a state nurse, it is necessary to participate in the competition for employment in a state hospital. The contest itself consists of a practical test, a theoretical test and an interview. In general, these posts can be found on the websites of state hospitals or on

In order to participate in the competition for the position of nurse, you need to submit a file that continues the following documents:

  • Application form for the contest addressed to the organizing public institution;
  • Copy of identity card;
  • Copy of the documents or diplomas attesting the specialization;
  • Work card or, if applicable, a copy of the certificate attesting the seniority in work or in the specialty of studies;
  • Criminal record or a statement on your own responsibility that you have no criminal record;
  • Medical certificate attesting to the state of health, issued no later than six months before the competition;
  • CV.

Private nurse

If you want to work in a private medical system, all you have to do is apply for a job, and after you are contacted, you will have to go to an interview with a representative of the private clinic / hospital. 

Unlike state employment, private employment will no longer be required, but a probationary period of several hours or days may be required for the practical assessment. The available positions are displayed on the websites of the institutions, on the notice board, but also on the job platforms. After hiring, the representatives of the clinic / private hospital will ask you for a series of documents typical of the individual employment contract:

  • Copy of the identity card and the birth certificate;
  • Copy of documents proving marital status (marriage, divorce decision, if applicable);
  • CV;
  • Copy of study documents;
  • Medical advice, issued by the family doctor;
  • Copy of the medical booklet (if applicable);
  • Criminal record;
  • Work card or certificate from the former employer;
  • Account statement for paying the salary on the card;
  • Copy of up-to-date documents for free practice;
  • Malpractice insurance.

It is very possible that the required documents in the form of a copy will have to be accompanied by the original documents, which is why it is recommended to have them with you.

Necessary studies

To become a nurse in America, it is necessary to attend a school of nurses at a post-secondary health institution or at a specialized faculty. Also, an OAMGMAMR membership certificate (Order of General Nurses, Midwives and Nurses in America) will be required. 

Sanitary post-secondary school

Many people choose to enroll in a post-secondary health school, because admission is simpler than in college. For this, there is an exam with two tests: biology and chemistry or physics. The admission, the baccalaureate average and the aptitude test will also count at admission. 

The post-secondary health school consists of three years of study. As there are over 100 post-secondary schools for nurses, some of them unaccredited, it is very important to check this aspect before enrolling. Otherwise, you risk that the certificate obtained will not be recognized and you will not be able to practice. Also, tuition fees, enrollment and specializations may differ depending on each post-secondary school. 

Most of the time, the study program is similar to a profile faculty. During the years of study, you will combine the weeks of theory with those of practice, in order to get used to future responsibilities. 

To complete your studies, you will need a graduation exam, which will consist of a written test, a practical test and the support of a project. Passing brilliantly will bring you the qualification of nurse. 

Profile faculty

If you want to become a nurse after graduating from a specialized faculty, you will need a baccalaureate diploma and passing the two entrance exams. These are from 11th grade biology, compulsory subject, and chemistry or physics. For chemistry, the entrance exam is for the 10th and 11th grades, and for physics, for the 9th and 10th grades.

After completing the years of study, you can obtain the diploma of generalist nurse (duration of studies is four years) or nurse balneophysiokinetotherapist, for which studies last three years. If you want, you can improve yourself with a specialized master’s degree. 

OAMGMAMR membership certificate

After obtaining the qualification of nurse after the post-secondary school or the profile faculty, you will be able to practice only after obtaining the OAMGMAMR membership certificate (Order of General Nurses, Midwives and Nurses in America). It is obtained following the submission of the following documents to OAMGMAMR:

  • Legalized copy of the documents attesting the studies;
  • Declaration on own responsibility regarding the fulfillment of the conditions provided in art. 14 and art. 15 of GEO no. 144/2008;
  • Criminal record;
  • Certificate of physical and mental health.

Although it is issued only once, this certificate must be approved annually, according to the legislation in force. Moreover, this approval is obtained after you have accumulated 30 credits of continuing medical education (EMC). The credits show that you are aware of the changes in the medical field and that you have acquired practical knowledge and skills that help you do your job. To obtain these points, it is necessary to participate in advanced training courses, practice workshops, internships, EMC (Continuing Medical Education) courses, to attend conferences or to publish medical scientific materials. 


Depending on the qualification, you have at your disposal the following specializations:

  • Generalist nurse – the most popular specialization in hospitals and clinics in America. In this case, you will assist the doctor for investigations, appointments and treatment administration. If you wish, you can opt for specialization courses in radiology, medical imaging, nutrition, pharmacy, balneophysiokinetotherapy, public health and hygiene;
  • Radiologist nurse – you will be responsible for assisting the doctor in the radiological examination, preparing patients for the radiological examination, as well as providing the necessary instruments and materials. Moreover, it is the duty of a radiologist to sanitize the radiology department and to schedule patients for tests;
  • Laboratory nurse – within this specialization, you will be able to collect and analyze samples from patients, you will schedule patients for investigations and you will take care of the supply of the laboratory. You will also be responsible for the correct use of the laboratory equipment and for its protection against contamination of any kind;
  • Balneophysiokinetotherapist – through this specialization, you will treat patients according to the treatment file. It can range from electrotherapy to reflexology, massage, thermotherapy or physiotherapy. Having this specialization, you can work in clinics and spas, SPA centers, recovery or body remodeling;
  • Pharmacist – you will be able to work in pharmacies, pharmaceutical laboratories, drug factories, and drug distribution centers. The responsibilities can be of the most diverse, from the distribution and labeling of medicines to the verification of prescriptions;
  • Other specializations – dental nurse, emergency nurse, intensive care nurse, ophthalmology nurse, family nurse, etc. In principle, you can work as a nurse in any section of the hospital, provided you have obtained the necessary specialization.

General responsibilities

Most nurses in hospitals are generalists, but you can choose any other specialization. Responsibilities will vary from case to case, but you will usually have several of the following tasks:

  • Schedule patients for tests;
  • To assist the doctor for various investigations;
  • To intervene in emergency situations;
  • To perform certain medical investigations;
  • To keep up to date the patient records;
  • To administer various drugs or forms of treatment;
  • Collect samples for analysis;
  • Provide emotional support to patients;
  • Sterilize work tools;
  • To sanitize the medical office;
  • To prevent outbreaks of infection;
  • To keep under observation the health condition of the patients;
  • To complete the documents for the record of medicines and instruments;
  • Organize your work schedule according to the health of patients.

The unforeseen can occur at any step, which is why the schedule may be different from day to day. 

Qualities and skills

In addition to professional experience, a good nurse must also demonstrate certain qualities and competencies to successfully cope with the challenges and unforeseen situations that may arise. Below are the most important of them:

  • Know how to talk to patients, pay attention to their needs and communicate effectively with both your doctor and patients;
  • Be organized, pay attention to detail and be able to set priorities, because at some point, the health or even the life of patients may be in your hands;
  • To have strength of character and not to be affected by critical cases, in order to make the best decisions in extreme situations;
  • To be empathetic and to understand the suffering and fear felt by patients, in order to be able to encourage them during the treatment or the recovery process;
  • Being resistant to prolonged exertion, because you will spend many hours standing, you will help patients to get out of bed or go to the toilet, in addition to the responsibilities of office work;
  • To be flexible, to adapt quickly to unforeseen situations and to be able to make patient-oriented decisions in emergency situations;
  • To be able to recognize the patients’ symptoms and to quickly realize which is the health problem they suffer from and what treatment they must follow;
  • To respect the hygiene rules;
  • To respect the patients and the diseases they suffer from, not to judge them according to the socio-economic or other differences;
  • Respect the confidentiality of patients and doctors;
  • Keep calm in emergencies to make the best decisions.


As in other professions, the uniform is essential in carrying out the activity, whether you are an experienced nurse or a beginner. In this sense, the uniforms must be comfortable, wear-resistant and clean. Below are the steps for choosing the right uniform for a nurse.

Take action

Taking action is the first step in choosing a uniform. Using a tailoring meter, measure your bust, waist, hips and leg length. This measurement is made over the underwear; for more lightness, add 1-3 cm. Here are the steps to take:

  • For the bust – the most prominent area of ​​the chest is measured;
  • For hips – with the legs together, measure the most prominent part of the hips;
  • For the waist – for a correct measurement, measure about one centimeter below the natural waist;
  • For the feet – measure on the inside of the pelvis up to three centimeters below the ankle.

Pay attention to the cut

At the manufacturer or in specialty stores there are several types and cuts of medical uniform / robe. In general, the cut is chosen according to the shape of the body and the preferences of each, the only condition being that the uniform does not impede the natural movements of the body. You can choose from several types of cuts:

  • Unisex – are ideal for people who wear light clothes. They usually have longer sleeves and a lower waist;
  • Athletics – have a modern line and allow the skin to breathe. In general, they are made of elastic materials that allow movement;
  • Relaxed – this cut has a curved silhouette, the robe covering the hips and the pants being comfortable. It is worn mostly by women, because it offers more freedom of movement;
  • Tight on the body – it is also chosen especially by women, being indicated when there are no big differences between waist and hips. It adapts easily to smaller busts and should be avoided by plump people.

Pay attention to size

Most stores and major manufacturers of medical uniforms have size tables, usually respecting the classic systems, for example, 34, 38, 40, etc. or S, M, XL. 

Choose the color carefully

If the hospital or clinic does not mention a certain color for the medical gown, it is good to turn to the classic white. Most medical uniforms come in this color, regardless of cut or size. 

You can also choose the uniform depending on the skin tone. In this sense, people with darker skin can choose shades of yellow, olive, burgundy or orange, while people with light skin have the advantage of colors such as green or blue. 

Moreover, depending on the grade, there may be certain embroideries on the uniform. Thus, beginner nurses have as a symbol the simple caduceus (a staff wrapped in a snake, as a Greek symbol of the connection between man and god), while experienced medical staff has, in addition to this caduceus, several diamonds or bars. . In addition, some nurses choose to customize their uniform by adding a name to make it easier for patients to identify. 

Risks you are exposed to

Given the environment in which you work, the tools you interact with, and the large number of patients you see each day, you will invariably be exposed to risks that are good to keep in mind. Below are some of them.

Biological risks

In most wards of a hospital, you may be exposed to infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B and C virus, HIV, tuberculosis, MRSA (Staphylococcus aureus) or other contagious diseases. Also, in the radiology and imaging department you may be exposed to ionized radiation, which, over time, can lead to a higher risk of chronic diseases. In the laboratory area or pathological anatomy, you may come into contact with dangerous substances, powders, reagents or aerosols. These can lead to asthma, bronchopneumonia or other more or less serious diseases of the respiratory system. 

Fortunately, these risks can be limited or even avoided, if you use the necessary protective equipment and if you take the safety measures specific to each section. 

Difficult patients

As a nurse, you will also meet patients with a difficult temperament. This can occur against the background of difficult personality or the effects of a disease on the patient. Therefore, it is very important to be empathetic and communicate in a clear and effective way. Patients just want to make sure they are treated well so that their health can improve. 

If you are transparent with patients and keep the line of communication open with them and their families, especially during interventions, things visibly improve. In other words, talk honestly, and the risk of conflict will be significantly reduced. 

Work environment

Colleagues, the stress felt, the large number of patients, and the working conditions have their say when you work as a nurse. A professional behavior, a desire for continuous learning, as well as respect will help you to integrate and even come to work with pleasure.

Accidents at work

According to European data, there are approximately one million injuries from stabbing or touching sharp objects each year in the medical staff. The risk of occupational accidents is found in all trades, but can be reduced if you wear protective equipment, be careful and use laboratory instruments according to instructions. 


A nurse has a working schedule of eight hours a day, and to this are added on-call shifts, if he works in hospitals or clinics. These shifts are established according to the legislation in force, depending on the number of hospital beds. At the same time, the payment of the tours is paid differently than the basic salary. 

The salary of a nurse differs a lot depending on experience, studies, job, whether he is employed in the state or in private. For example, if you went to college, you may be paid more than if you graduated from high school. A senior nurse with higher education is paid more than 4,000 dollars gross per month, while the same position, occupied by a graduate of post-secondary school, will be paid approximately 3,900 dollars gross. Also, as a beginner, the salary starts from 3,600 dollars gross if you have a post-secondary school diploma and from 3,950, if you have graduated from a higher education form. 

In addition to the basic salary, nurses can also benefit from bonuses related to guards. The state offers an increase of 75% of the hourly rate of the basic salary, and for the guards on days off, the increase is 100%. These are maximum ceilings, and most of the increases are smaller. 

In private, beginners’ salaries are lower and increase as you gain experience or specialize. 

If you work as a nurse, dedication is the most important, along with professionalism and adherence to protocols. Be open with patients, communicate effectively with doctors and superiors and you will quickly integrate into the new work environment. Advancement then depends only on you. 

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