Life-Changing Careers in Nursing

In the 1950s, the baby boomers were born. Now, as they increase in age, there is a greater demand for health care careers, making careers in nursing one of the best career choices to get into today. Within the next 10-15 years there will be an estimated shortage of 800,000 nurses (according to a 2002 study by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration). Those with the proper nursing skills and nursing degrees are likely to be the first to get the best and most in-demand jobs.

Careers in Nursing

While in school, nursing students take classes in biology, chemistry, and other basic sciences. They also learn bedside manner, anatomy and physiology, and ethics. With a bachelor's degree, students take general liberal arts courses during their first year and move onto more specific nursing classes during their sophomore and junior years, depending on the curriculum and the nursing school. Most schools require fieldwork in hospitals and clinics during one's junior and senior years so valuable hands-on experience can be acquired.

The Duties of a Nurse

The duties of an RN vary depending on the location of the job. You can work in a hospital, at a private practice, at a nursing home, or at a clinic, and at each you can work for different types of doctors and concentrations. Each specialization requires working with different people and adapting to the needs of patients. In a hospital, nurses have a certain number of patients to take care of and some duties may include administering medication, monitoring medical machines, and assisting in surgical procedures.

Nursing Education Requirements

In order to become a nurse, you must at least have an associate degree in nursing, but you can acquire even more skills and become more marketable with advanced nursing training and nursing degrees that span all the way to a doctorate in nursing. The degree(s) you choose to pursue, however, are ultimately up to you. Once you have your associate degree in nursing, you'll take the state board exam so that you can start working as a registered nurse (RN). The most common degree that nurses earn is a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Salary Expectations for Nurses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that nursing will grow much faster than the average for all other occupations by 2014. The average salary for RNs, holding 2.4 million jobs, was $52,330 in May 2004, according to the BLS.

Explore nursing degrees today to become part of the largest health care occupation and fastest growing profession. By educating yourself, you'll be able to get a great job, while helping others in the process.

Learn more about nursing degrees.

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