Degrees in Nursing Nursing has been one of the most valuable and rewarding careers for decades and ...More
Degrees in Nursing There are a variety of different career paths with nursing, and the biggest issu...More
The medical field is one of the few fields still currently in high demand. As a career choice, nursing is one of the options with the best potential for employment and job security. Nurses are in shortage nationwide as are the educators needed to teach and train new nurses. There are several routes a person can choose to take in pursuing a nursing career. A person can start in the field as a nursing assistant, an LPN/LVN or a registered nurse.
The amount of schooling required and type of training will vary depending on which type of nurse you want to become. Nursing degrees which require lengthier schooling commonly are granted more responsible job positions and higher salaries.
Before you can begin planning your career path to becoming a nurse a decision needs to be made on which type of nurse you wish to become. Some people choose to work their way up from a nursing assistant to an RN so that they may earn a salary and acquire experience in the medical field as they pursue their final goal. Other people may want to go directly to earning their RN degree and starting in the nursing field as a registered nurse. This decision should be and is usually made based on personal preferences and circumstances. Though your career path does depend on which route you elect to travel, all paths begin with a high school diploma or a GED.
To begin a career in nursing as a nursing assistant or nursing aide, you will need to enroll in a course to obtain a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate. The program takes six to twelve weeks. Students enrolled in the course will learn the basics of the medical profession; taking vital signs, drawing blood, nutrition, infection control, anatomy, and basic nursing skills. Certified Nursing Assistants can become orderlies, home health aides, or patient care technicians. Nursing aides are needed in hospitals, nursing homes, and long term care facilities. A nursing aide must work under a nurse’s supervision. Nursing assistants can gain useful experience which can help ease the way to the next step on the path to becoming a nurse.
The next rung on the nursing ladder is becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse. In order to earn this title, a person must enroll in a state approved one year LPN/LVN program at a vocational school or community college. The program usually involves both classroom study and clinical practice. The course work is more advanced than that taught to aspiring nursing assistants. Students are taught anatomy and basic patient care. Additionally, LVN students are taught to administer medication and first aid. Most clinical practice is gained in hospitals, but can be attained in doctor’s offices or other medical treatment centers. After successful completion of the program, LVN/LPNs are required to pass a licensing program in the state which they intend to work.
The demand for LVNs is high. LVN/LPN’s work under the direction of a physician or an RN. They can take vital signs, administer injections, provide wound care, observe patients for signs of adverse reactions to medications administered. These types of services are needed in hospitals, long term care facilities, doctor’s offices, and many other areas of the medical profession. The demand is so high and the availability of LVN/LPNs so low compared to the demand that salaries offered are often very attractive. And since the demand is high across the nation, someone with this type of training can find work anywhere in the country they choose to live. And since patients need care around the clock, schedules can be tailored to fit almost any schedule.
After becoming an LVN/LPN, the next step up would be obtaining a degree as a registered nurse or RN. There are two types of RN degrees which can be pursued, an ADN or BSN degree. The AND degree is an associate degree nurse while the BSN is the Bachelor of Science nurse degree. The associate degree is a two year program while the bachelor will take four years to complete. Once again, the decision is based on personal need and availability, but a four year degree is preferable as it will increase the salary potential and the possibility of specializing in a specific area of nursing care. Any program you select must be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
After completing an accredited program, a nurse is required to pass the National licensing examination or the NCLEX-RN. This is often referred to as the state board’s exam. The test can vary based on the requirements in each state. Once you successfully pass the exam, you can begin your nursing career. But if you choose to move to a new state or need to move, you will want to contact the state board of nursing to find out if you will need to retake the exam in your new state of residence before being allowed to practice there.
A registered nurse has more career options than those available to a nursing assistant or LPN/LVN. Registered nurses can work in operating rooms, intensive care units, health clinics, doctor’s offices. RN’s are able to provide care for the majority of needs which arise in patients. Besides overseeing the work of LPN/LVNs, these nurses can also establish or alter a patient’s care plan, read and add to a patient’s medical history record, as well as providing information to patients and their families. The average salary of an RN is around $50,000 each year. Salary ranges vary based on experience, education, and location.
The options in nursing do not stop at the BSN degree. Nurses can continue with their education to become specialized nurses in various fields. Some nurses become midwives. Some become nurse anesthesiologists. Some nurses become nurse practitioners. The options really are endless in the nursing field. Statistics indicate that even though nurses comprise a majority of the professional workforce in the United States the demand is still higher than the availability of nurses. In an economic climate of uncertainty, nursing is probably the career with the best potential in terms of salary, advancement, opportunity, flexibility, and security.