How to Become a Registered Nurse

To become a registered nurse, you’ll need to complete either a Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an accredited nursing program. You need a license to practice as a nurse.


If you’re pursuing a nursing degree, it’s very likely that you will need to take classes in anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, physiology in addition to social and behavioral sciences and possibly liberal arts. You need to attend 4 years of college to receive a Bachelor’s in Nursing whereas an associate’s degree in nursing and diploma programs only take about 2-3 years to finish. Hospitals or medical centers usually offer diploma programs, but there are significantly fewer diploma programs compared to degrees in nursing. Regardless of which program you choose, you will earn supervised clinical experience.

When earning a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, you will likely need to take courses in social sciences, communication, leadership, and language in addition to the physical sciences. BSN degrees provide greater clinical knowledge in nonhospital settings, which is ideal for those seeking employment in administration, research, consultation, or education.

Typically, graduates of any of the three possible licensing programs qualify for entry-level nursing positions. However, employment in hospitals may require a BSN.

Registered nurses who possess an ADN or diploma have the possibility of returning to school to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing through an RN to BSN program. Some institutions also provide master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, as well as accelerated programs for people desiring to enter nursing but possess a bachelor’s degree in a separate field. Some employers also offer tuition reimbursement.

To become a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) you must earn a master’s degree in nursing and possess at least 1 year of work experience as an RN or in a similar field. CNSs who want to conduct research will need to earn a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

To practice nursing in any state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, you must possess a nursing license. To obtain a nursing license you must graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Additional requirements can vary by each state such as needing to pass a background check or obtain further licensing to practice. Each state’s board of nursing have certain requirements before you can practice.

Nurses may earn certification through professional association in medical areas such as emergency medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, to name a few. While certification is typically voluntary, some employers may require it.

Registered nurses often need to obtain additional certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS) and/or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

CNSs need to meet additional state licensing requirements, like specialty certifications. You can find a list of requirements by visiting or contacting the state board of nursing.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills – Registered nurses are expected to be able to utilize critical thinking while caring for patients especially in the event of a sudden change in the health status of patients, which can include making the quick yet appropriate course of action or by knowing when to seek the assistance of surrounding medical professionals.

Communication skills – Registered nurses need to communicate effectively with patients to explain any pertinent medical information such as the severity of their illness or why a medical procedure is necessary for the patient. Nurses also need to clearly explain to patients how to manage their condition such as how and when to take medication. Nurses must be able to work in a team with other medical professionals and communicate the needs of the patient.

Compassion Registered nurses are assessing the health conditions of patients, they should be empathetic and sincere when addressing the health of patients.

Detail oriented – Registered nurses must demonstrate responsibility by being detail-oriented as they treat patients. For example, a nurse should read the patient’s chart and notice that the patient is allergic to morphine and inform doctors or other nurses that this patient cannot be administered morphine.  

Emotional stability – Registered nurses should possess the emotional fortitude to be able to manage emotions when coping with stress such as emergencies, suffering, or death.

Organizational skills – Registered nurses typically treat multiple patients with various conditions and optional health requirements. Nurses need to be able to ensure that each patient is provided with the correct and necessary treatment.  

Physical stamina – Registered nurses often work long and demanding shifts of 8, 12 or more hours. They are constantly on their feet and often moving patients and carrying medical supplies.  Nurses need to possess enough physical stamina to complete these frequent and demanding tasks.


Registered nurses usually begin their careers as staff nurses in hospitals or community health facilities. With a combination of experience, work performance, and continuous education, nurses can move to other areas or be promoted to higher earning positions with greater responsibility.

Assistant clinical nurse managers can be promoted to charge nurse or head nurse to more upper-level administrative roles, such as the assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Management nursing positions often require a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, effective communication and negotiation skills, and unbiased judgment.

A lot of nurses pursue the business side of healthcare. Thanks to their nursing experience they can confidently manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers such as hospitals, insurance agencies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, to name a few, need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Several RNs may become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRN positions require a master’s degree, and several possess doctoral degrees. APRNs may provide primary and specialty care and prescribe medications (varies by state).

Other nurses decide to pursue education as postsecondary teachers or researchers in colleges and universities, which often requires a Ph.D.  Visit to learn more about the nursing profession.

Social Security Disability Family Benefits Explained

Some of you have applied for disability benefits and learned that some family members might be eligible to receive benefits as well. We wanted to break down exactly what family benefits are so you’re well versed to begin maximizing the amount of the benefits that you can receive for not only yourself but for your family. To start, here is who can receive benefits on your record:

  • spouse
  • divorced spouse
  • children
  • disabled child
  • adult child disabled before age 22

When any eligible member of your family goes to apply for benefits, be prepared to submit their Social Security numbers as well as their birth certificates.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may ask for proof of marriage and dates of prior marriages, if available when your spouse applies for benefits.

Maximum Allowed Family Benefits

Each member of your family can qualify for a monthly benefit of up to half of your disability benefit amount. However, the SSA imposes a limit on the amount paid to your family in benefits.

The total amount allowed is dependent on your benefit amount and the number of family members eligible for benefits. The amount varies, but typically the total amount allowed for your family to receive is between 150 and 180 percent of your disability benefit amount.

If the total of benefits paid to your family is larger than the family cap, the benefits paid to your eligible family members will be reduced accordingly. Your personal benefit amount will not be changed.

If you have a divorced spouse who is eligible for disability benefits, their amount will not alter the benefits paid to your or your family.

Spousal Benefits

Your spouse is eligible for your spouse when:

  • Your spouse reaches age 62 or older unless your spouse decides to collect a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. The benefits paid to your spouse will be reduced by a percentage dependent on the number of months until their full retirement age, this reduction cannot be appealed or reversed.
  • At any age where your spouse is caring for your child under age 16 or disabled. Your spouse will be paid benefits until the child reaches age 16. When that happens, the child’s benefits continue, but your spouse’s benefits are stopped unless they are old enough to receive retirement benefits (minimum of age 62) or survivor benefits as a widow or widower (age 60).

If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security

If your spouse qualifies for retirement benefits on their own record, the SSA will always pay that amount before anything else. However, if the spouse benefit that is paid on your record is larger, your spouse will receive a combination of benefits that sums to the higher amount.

Your spouse’s Social Security benefit on your record may also be affected if your spouse will receive a pension based on work that is not recognized by the Social Security Administration, such as foreign or under the table work.

Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse

Even if you remarried, your divorced spouse might still be eligible for benefits on your account.

As stated previously, if your divorced spouse will receive a pension based on work not recognized by the SSA, their Social Security benefit on your account may be affected.

To become eligible for benefits on your account, your divorced spouse needs to:

  • have been married to you for a minimum of 10 years
  • be at a minimum of age 62
  • be unmarried and,
  • ineligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security account, or one someone else’s Social Security account.

Keep in mind, the benefits paid to your divorced spouse do not affect the benefits that you or your current spouse may earn.

Benefits For Your Children

When qualifying for Social Security disability benefits, your children may also be eligible to receive benefits on your Social Security account. Your qualifying child can be either your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also be eligible to receive benefits.

To receive benefits, the child must be unmarried and be:

  • younger than 18, or
  • between 18 and 19-years-old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12), or
  • 18 or older and possess a disability that began before age 22.

Typically, the SSA stops paying benefits when children become 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, their benefits will continue until they graduate or until two months after the child becomes 19, whichever is first.

You can learn more about Benefits For A Disabled Child by clicking here.

Applying for Social Security Benefits

The several ways of which you can apply for Social Security disability benefits include:

  • Online
  • Calling the toll-free telephone number 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call  TTY 1-800-325-0778.
  • Scheduling an appointment with a Social Security representative by contacting your local Social Security office.

Insurance Provider Cuts Call Center Fraud by 40%

A Case Study In Insurance Fraud Detection & Prevention

Below is a case study of how a UK insurance provider significantly reduced their fraud risk from persistent cyber criminals using the advanced fraud detection and prevention solutions offered by iovation a leading provider of fraud prevention software solutions.

Matt Gilham, Head of Financial Crime at esure, one of the UK’s leading providers of motor and home insurance products discusses how his company has reduced insurance fraud using iovation fraud detection/prevention software. Just like other UK insurers today, esure gets the majority of its new policy applications through insurance aggregation websites like (Goco). The rise of digital applications for insurance policies brought with it an increasing number of bad policies. That led Gilham to add device recognition to his application fraud-fighting stack in late 2013.

After implementing iovation’s realtime blocking, we reduced the volume of fraud attacking us by 70%.
Matt Gilham Head of Financial Crime

Since that proof of concept, esure has continuously raised their guard against fraudsters without impacting the experience for its legitimate customers. The opportunists have gone elsewhere, but the better-organised and -funded rings have increased the sophistication of their tactics.

When esure added real-time blocking of devices applying for motor insurance on their site, the fraudsters turned to the aggregators to solicit quotes and submit applications. Then, esure and Goco – another iovation user – teamed up to create business rules that stopped bad devices from viewing esure’s policy quotes on the aggregator’s site. esure enjoyed a lull in its fraud rate for months after each change. But the fraudsters would not go away.

Over the phone, synthetic identities would be denied by esure’s identity and financial stress scoring services, but the stolen Personal Data of a reputable victim would slip through. As soon as the call center agent incepted the policy, the fraudster would receive an automatic email with a link to download the policy documents. Then, it was just a matter of time before a bad claim or a distraught ghost-broking victim would follow.

Using Device Recognition To Stop Insurance Fraud

While the fraudsters could change the ways they applied for esure’s policies, and use stolen PII to pass identity checks, they were still reliant on an Internet-connected device to conduct their business. That single point in the process remains fraudsters’ weakness; thanks to iovation.

iovation’s device recognition technology uses thousands of permutations of device attributes to identify a device instantly and continue to recognize it over time. (Coincidentally, this feature complements the GDPR’s mandates for data minimization and privacy by design.).

When any of iovation’s 4,000-plus Community of users encounters fraud from a device visiting their site, they place specific evidence of fraud against the device in iovation’s database of over 4.7 billion devices, the world’s richest.

Every anti-fraud professional involved is intrinsically motivated to add the highest quality of evidence to iovation’s 47 million reports of fraud and abuse.

“The evidence from iovation’s Intelligence Center helps my investigators to confirm their suspicions about the devices associated with dubious policies or claims,” says Gilham.

With more than 40 evidence types to choose from – ranging from reports placed against a device to technical anomalies like Tor nodes and proxy servers – Gilham and his team can create endless combinations of compound rules to sharpen their transaction decisioning process. Rules can be tuned in real time for immediate and precise control over how each visiting device will be treated.

“Back in 2013 iovation was the standout option,” Gilham explains. “That hasn’t changed. The unique device ID allows us to identify and monitor suspect devices and accounts with exquisite precision. We get more value out of iovation’s Intelligence Center with every insurer that joins. Most critically, we can quickly adapt our implementation of iovation as fraudsters shift their tactics.”

After discovering the ‘call center loophole’ that fraudsters were exploiting, esure created a portal for customers’ documents. This was a convenient, secure place for honest customers to access and store their documents in the cloud. For fraudsters, it was the end of the line. If they tried to register an account or log in with a hot device, iovation’s business rules stopped them cold.

“Since we began blocking bad devices at the portal, our fraud rate has decreased by a solid 40%. It’s somewhat counter intuitive, but we’ve seen a drastic reduction of telephony fraud due to having iovation on the web,” says Gilham.

Visit for more information about advanced fraud prevention software and advanced authentication solutions.

Virginia Traffic Laws and Why You Might Need an Attorney

Traffic law can vary quite a bit from state to state, especially when it comes to the harshness of penalties. Understanding the exact nature of these penalties and when they apply can mean the difference between a few days and a few years in jail. To that end, here are some facts about Virginia’s traffic laws.

How strict are Virginia’s DUI laws?

Virginia has a more specific set of penalties than most states, attaching separate punishments to first, second, third, and subsequent convictions, then additional penalties based on how many convictions you’ve had in the last ten or five years. Receiving three convictions within ten years can result in more than half a year in prison and permanent forfeiture of your vehicle.
Additionally, if you had a particularly high BAC, then further jail time may be added. Between .15% and .20% carries an additional five or ten days in jail, depending on whether it was your first or second offense in the last ten years. Over .20%, those penalties double. Though these particular penalties aren’t very large in the context of a third or fourth offense, they could result in doubling or even tripling your potential jail time if it’s your first or second conviction.

What is the penalty for running a red light in Virginia?

Running a red light or stop sign in Virginia can mean as little as a small fine or as much as the suspension of your license. Ignoring a red light will cost you up to $350, whereas failing to stop at a stop sign is only $250.

However, each also carries the additional penalty of demerit points on your license. The accumulation of too many will result in the loss of your license, so if you’re already near that point, failing to heed a simple traffic signal may cost you your license.

Should you hire a traffic attorney?

If you have been charged with a traffic violation, then you should consult a traffic attorney in Chesterfield Virginia at the very least. They will be able to look at the specifics of your case and help you decide if hiring an attorney is the right solution. In some cases, an attorney could save you from the majority of the maximum penalties allowable for the specified offenses. Even if the help of an attorney may only result in limited savings on the financial side, shaving any amount of time off of a prison sentence can be invaluable.

Social Security Disability Family Benefits

Family benefits

After you claim Social Security disability benefits, particular family members could meet criteria to receive benefits based on your earnings record. Benefits could be given to your:

  • spouse;
  • divorced spouse;
  • children;
  • disabled child; and/or
  • adult child disabled before age 22.

Once a qualifying member of your family submits an application for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will request their Social Security numbers as well as their certificates of birth. The SSA could request proof of marriage and dates of any prior marriages when applicable if your spouse submits an application for benefits.

Maximum Family Amount

Every member of your family could be eligible for a monthly stipend of up to 50% of your disability rate. Make a note; the SSA imposes a limit on how much they will pay your family.

The amount paid is based on your disability benefit amount and the number of family members who are qualified due to your record. The amount differs, but typically the total you and your family can earn is around 150% to 180% of your disability benefit.

If the total amount of benefits that are paid based on your record is larger than the family limit, the benefits to the members of your family will be lowered appropriately. Your actual benefit will not be reduced or increased.

If you have a divorced spouse who can submit an application for benefits, it will not influence the total benefit amount you or your family can be paid.

Benefits For Your Spouse

When benefits are payable to your spouse:

  • Age 62 or older, unless they receive an increased Social Security benefit due to their earnings record. The spouse benefit amount will be permanently reduced by a percentage determined on how many months up to their full retirement age.
  • At any age, if they are caring for your child under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.
  • Your spouse would receive these benefits until the child reaches age 16. At that time, the child’s benefits continue, but your spouse’s benefits stop unless he or she is old enough to receive retirement benefits (age 62 or older) or survivor benefits as a widow or widower (age 60).

If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security

If your spouse qualifies to receive retirement benefits based on their own earnings record, the SSA will always award that amount first. However, if the spouse benefit that is paid based on your earnings record is a larger amount, they will receive a combination of benefits that total that larger amount.

Regardless of your spouse begins receiving benefits before, after, or during the same time as you; the SSA will review both earnings records to determine that your spouse gets the larger amount whenever they become entitled to receive it.

If your spouse expects to get a pension that’s determined on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, their Social Security benefit on your earnings record could be affected.

Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse

If you are divorced, regardless if you’ve remarried, your ex-spouse could qualify for benefits based on your record.

If your ex-spouse expects to receive a pension determined by work not included in Social Security, such as government or foreign work, their Social Security benefit based on your earnings record may be affected.

To be eligible for benefits based on your earnings record, your ex-spouse needs to:

  • have been married to you for at least 10 years;
  • be at least 62 years old;
  • be unmarried; and
  • not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on his or her own Social Security record, or on someone else’s Social Security record.

The total of benefits that can be paid to your divorced spouse has no influence on the total of benefits you or your current spouse may be paid.

Benefits For Your Children

When you’re eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits, your children could also be eligible to earn benefits based on your earnings record. Your qualifying child can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild could also qualify.

To receive benefits, the child must be unmarried in addition to being:

  • under age 18; or
  • 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or
  • 18 or older and have a disability that started before age 22.

Typically, benefits stop being paid when the child reaches age 18 unless they are disabled. But if the child is currently a full-time student at a secondary or elementary school at age 18, benefits won’t stop until the child graduates or until two months after the child reaches age 19, whichever comes first.

In your family, every qualifying child could receive a monthly benefit up to one-half of your full disability rate; keep in mind, there is a limit to how much the SSA will pay your family members.

Visit to get more information about Social Security Disability Benefits.