Data released by the U.S. Department of Labor point to a faster than average growth in the demand for nurses. This growth is brought about by changes in the population, such as a growing number of elderly people, and by structural changes in health care delivery.
New technology, advances in treatment programs, as well as pressure from insurance providers are moving many health care services into physicians offices, community health centers, and even the home.
Nurses today are assuming greater responsibility for health care delivery, and employers are seeking a better-educated nursing workforce. The traditional hospital setting will continue to employ many nurses, but there is also a growing demand for nurses in non-traditional health care settings.
How do I become an RN?
There are several basic nursing programs that prepare students for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX -RN), all of which include theory and clinical experience in nursing.
Registered nurses must graduate from an approved school of nursing and then pass a rigorous national licensing examination (NCLEX). The path to this exam leads through one of three educational areas: hospital-based diploma programs, associate of nursing degree programs, and bachelor of nursing degree programs. Each prepares the student for the licensing exam and includes hands-on clinical practice, and courses in biology, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, and nutrition. It is important for students to discuss their nursing career goals with their guidance counselor before choosing a nursing education program.
Hospital-Based Diploma Programs
Diploma schools of nursing, typically associated with hospitals, provide the core science support courses, nursing theory and clinical practice. These programs generally take two to three years to complete. Successful students receive a diploma from their school.
Associate Degree Programs
Two-year associate degree programs (ADN), often offered through community colleges, provide a general studies curriculum, nursing theory, and clinical practice opportunities. Graduates are prepared to practice in a number of institutional and community settings.
Bachelor of Science Programs
College bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree programs are four-year programs that combine nursing theory and clinical practice with a traditional liberal arts education. Communication and critical thinking skills are refined. More and more, nursing job descriptions state “BSN preferred”.
Opportunities for degree completion are offered by colleges and universities for the associate degree and diploma RN graduates to complete their bachelor of science degree. They are called RN-BSN Completion Programs and are tailored to the working professional.
Beyond the bachelors degree program, nurses with masters and doctoral degrees hold positions in advance practice, institutional administration, college and university professors, health policy consultants, and researchers.
Nursing salaries are influenced by the region of the country, the setting in which the nurse is employed, and the nurse’s specialty. According to a survey by RN magazine, in 1999, registered nurses in the Mid-Atlantic States earned an average of $23.20 per hour; registered nurses on the West Coast averaged $27.35 per hour. The average annual salary for a hospital registered nurse is $40,150; the average salary for registered nurses working in a school setting is $40,065; physician’s office registered nurses average $35,160.
At its core, nursing remains a helping profession. Nurses work closely with individuals and their families during exciting times, such as the birth of children, and hard times, such as the death of a family member. Throughout the life cycle in multiple settings, nurses provide compassionate, competent care and are the backbone of the health care system.
Provided by Karen Thacker, RN, MSN, Dean of Professional Programs, Alvernia College.
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Nursing is an exciting and challenging career choice. It offers men and women an abundant and expanding choice of practice specialties and settings.
Nursing challenges you to develop your:
Critical thinking skills
Decision making skills
Teamwork & team building skills
Mastery of technical skills & procedures
In return, as a nurse you gain the opportunity to make a difference in the life of every person you meet.
There is a tremendous need for nurses in all practice settings.
Few careers offer so much!
There are several ways to begin your career in nursing. First, you must choose a career entry point - Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, or Registered Nurse. Geographic location, previous work experience, educational credentials, shift and work schedules, and specific duties all affect salary levels. Check with individual employers to learn more about a particular position and their compensation packages.
Nursing Assistant (NA) - Nursing Assistants help patients with basic care activities such as bathing, and dressing, feeding patients or serving meals and walking. They work under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. Nursing Assistant positions require the least amount of formal training. Nursing Assistants have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and expand their employment options by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, CNA. To become certified, you must successfully complete a 75-hour CNA training course and pass a competency exam. Search the MCN School of Nursing Program Database or visit: www.longtermcarecareers.org/train.php for more information on CNA Training programs.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) - LPNs are licensed by the Masachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. The LPN participates in direct and indirect nursing care, health maintenance, teaching, counseling, collaborative planning, and rehabilitation to the extent of his or her experience. To become an LPN you must complete a one-year LPN program at a community college or a vocational school, and then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Search the MCN School of Nursing Program Database to find LPN programs.
Registered Nurse (RN) - RNs are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. RNs develop, implement, evaluate, and modify plans of care for individuals, families, and communities including the coordination and management of resources for care delivery. RNs work to support a restoration of health or provide comfort and death with dignity for their patients. You must decide which kind of nursing program you want to attend - a two-year Associate Degree Program or a four-year Bachelor Degree Program, (BSN). Either program allows you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The BSN degree allows you greater career flexibility and upward mobility. Search the MCN School of Nursing Program Database to find RN programs.
Search the MCN School of Nursing Program Database to find the nursing program that fits your needs. Visit the MCN Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about nursing in Massachusetts.
Practice Settings for Nurses
While the career possibilities for nurses are almost endless, most nursing positions are in one of the following categories:
Career Changers- Do you have a college degree in a field other than nursing? Are you dissatisfied with your current career choice? Have you become aware of the excitement and benefits of a career in nursing? Becoming a nurse is an excellent second career choice. Explore the options nursing offers you.
-Hope this helped out!
Answered By: elizabethh <3 - 7/21/2008