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Nursing Career Overview

Next to physicians, nurses are probably the most visible representatives of the healthcare industry. They are strong enough to tolerate everything thrown at them yet soft enough to show compassion and understanding. Nurses play a huge role in our lives and this career continues to be viable and prosperous. The nursing profession encompasses a very wide range of practice areas and specialties, but generally, their scope of duties includes the following.

  • Assisting in the direct administration of medical treatment and medication.
  • Recording symptoms and medical history of patients.
  • Performing diagnostic examinations such as drawing blood and analyzing their results.
  • Assisting physicians during operations.
  • Preparing and maintaining medical instruments.
  • Monitoring medical equipment.
  • Coordinating care with other health care providers and specialists.
  • Providing counseling and health care education to patients.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2018, the median annual wage for Registered Nurses was $71,730*.

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What Is Nursing?

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. There are many career options to choose from when it comes to a nursing career. Here are a few:

  • Acute Care Nursing
  • Cardiovascular Nursing
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Women’s Health Nursing
  • Anesthetist Nursing
  • Travel Nursing
  • Ambulatory Nursing
  • School Nursing

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:

  • Helping people get healthier or even saving lives can be very rewarding
  • Opportunity to work anywhere in the United States; travel nurses may move every 13 weeks!
  • Greater chances to work overtime and pick up extra shifts if financially driven
  • A variety of specialties within the field of nursing guarantees you will find something you absolutely love
  • Plenty of opportunity for advancement and growth

    Cons:

  • Being undervalued
  • Dealing with difficult patients and their family members
  • Long shifts
  • Physically demanding
  • Emotional straining or stressful

Occupational Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for registered nurses is projected to grow by an impressive 12% from 2018 to 2028. This is an excellent time to start your career in nursing.

Quick Facts: Registered Nurses

2018 Median Pay

$71,730 per year
$34.48 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

Bachelor’s degree

Number of Jobs, 2018

3,059,800

Job Outlook, 2018-28

12% (Much faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

371,500

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm

Obtain a Degree in Nursing

To become a registered nurse, you can take one of three path options:

  • Bachelor’s Degree – Earning your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Bachelor of Nursing (BN) will take about three to four years. This degree will give you the skills and knowledge needed to work in patient care as a professional registered nurse. It will also give you a platform to advance your career with graduate degrees. In addition to the coursework, students will be required to take clinicals in an array of patient care facilities.
  • Associate’s Degree – An ADN (Associate’s degree in Nursing) will take you between two to three years to earn. After you complete your education, you will be required to take the NCLEX-RN, a national licensing exam. Many registered nurses with an ADN will work and gain the experience and then go back to school to earn a higher degree later down the road. This is always an option but is not necessary to be a successful nurse. Nurses with an ADN will have the opportunity to work in hospitals, government agencies, educational institutions or other healthcare settings.
  • Certificate – If you are looking to get started working sooner than later, consider earning your LPN (licensed practical nurse) certificate. Schooling for this program will only take you one to two years at a technical, trade or community college. LPNs may work in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices, clinics or private homes. Please be aware that an LPN is not a registered nurse.

Advanced Degrees in Nursing

  • Master’s Degree – Those who have earned their Bachelor’s degree and have already entered the workforce may seek a higher degree to further their career development and increase their earning potential. A master of science in nursing (MSN) will take between two to three years. There are several different specialties to consider such as nurse anesthetist and nurse practitioner. Most colleges offer this degree in part-time night school programs or online courses so you can continue to work full-time.
  • Nursing Doctorate Degree – If you have your Master’s degree, you are eligible to earn your DNP, or doctor of nursing in three to four years. A nurse with a doctorate degree will have more doors opened to them as far as career advancement but it does not make them a physician. DNP nurses generally work in leadership and administration roles or in advanced practice (direct patient care) nursing positions. Nurses with a doctoral degree are more in demand as some facilities, such as nursing homes, are experiencing a shortage of doctors.

Why should you become a Nurse?

The field of nursing encompasses so much potential and growth opportunities within it. You can start out earning $50,000 per year as an LPN and work your way to earning close to $100,000 with a master’s degree. You can work in a vast array of medical specialties from pediatrics to gerontology and from infection control to lactation consultant! If you are seeking a career that is emotionally rewarding, financially stable and a life long path, then consider a degree in nursing today!

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