Nursing is one of the oldest professions in the world. In fact, the word “nurse” itself stems from the Latin nutrix and was primarily about caring for sick people. Today, however, the field encompasses many different roles and responsibilities.
Nurses work in hospitals, clinics, schools, long-term care facilities, hospices, home health agencies, and even retail stores. They treat patients of every age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and nationality. In addition to treating illness, nurses help people cope with physical pain, emotional trauma, mental disorders, disabilities, and diseases such as AIDS.
Some nurses specialize in particular areas, including pediatrics, gerontology, labor & delivery, intensive care, emergency medicine, surgery, psychiatry, and public health. Others focus on women’s health, family planning, pediatric endocrinology, orthopedics, and sports medicine.
If you are thinking about pursuing a career in Nursing you may be thinking about taking a nursing degree, let’s look at some of the options for training.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates that about 2 million Americans are employed as registered nurses. Many of these workers earn bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Other nurses hold associate degrees or diplomas from vocational programs.
Still others obtain their skills while working in healthcare settings under the supervision of licensed nurses. For those who decide to become nurses, choosing a college program can be challenging. Students must consider whether they prefer a four-year university or a technical school.
They must also choose among several specialties. Most students start off studying basic concepts of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, chemistry, and psychology.
Some colleges offer specialized training in certain fields, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, respiratory therapy, and nutrition. These courses cover topics such as child development, maternal-child health, and diabetes management. Other programs prepare graduates for careers in specific industries, such as radiology, pharmacy, and optometry.
Once students graduate, they must pass licensing exams administered by individual states. Depending on where they live, nurses may be required to complete additional education and training. For instance, some states require continuing education credits, whereas others mandate certification.
States often regulate how nurses practice, and some require licenses to perform procedures such as administering medication or performing injections. License requirements differ based on the type of employer and the scope of employment.
What to Consider
Before deciding on a degree programme in nursing it’s vital to decide exactly what you want to do. Nursing is a profession that requires a lot of patience, compassion, and hard work. If you are interested in becoming a nurse, it is important to think about what type of job you want to pursue within the field.
A bachelor of science in nursing program costs anywhere from $30,00 to upwards of $100,000. Those might seem like intimidating figures, but there are plenty of ways to reduce those expenses. For one thing, many schools offer scholarships.
In fact, about 70% of nursing students receive some form of scholarship assistance. Some institutions even provide grants directly to prospective students. Another way to cut down on tuition costs is to look into federal financial aid programs.
These include Pell Grants, work study opportunities, and Direct Loans. Students who qualify for these programs can receive up to $5,550 per academic year.
Finally, you could consider taking part in a nurse residency program. This type of training allows nurses to practice medicine while earning additional credentials. Residency programs typically require students to complete three years of college and spend another four to six years working toward their certification.
In addition to the financial burden, there are some drawbacks to pursuing a nursing degree. First, you must pass a licensing exam. Second, you cannot begin working as an RN without completing a state-mandated program called the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
Finally, it is important to remember that nursing is a challenging career choice. There are high demands placed upon nurses, such as caring for patients 24/7. Additionally, RNs often deal with difficult situations every day. While the majority of nurses enjoy their careers, many struggle to find balance within their lives.
On average, RNs make about $73,300 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That’s almost double the national median income of 40K, according to the bureau. Advanced Practice Nurses Earn More Than RNs.
An advanced practice nurse works in one of four fields: Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesiologist, Nurse Midwife, and Clinical Nurse Specialist. These are some of the highest-paying specialties within nursing. A Nurse Practitioner earns a median yearly wage of $131,400.
The National Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that there are nearly 200,000 NPs practicing across the nation. They care for patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term health facilities.
Having an advanced degree in Nursing opens the door to many career opportunities. RNs can advance to administrative jobs as assistant clinical nurse managers (ACNM) or charge nurses (CNO). To qualify for further opportunities though, many nursing professionals seek master’s degrees.
Graduates are able to teach at Graduate and Undergraduate levels, Consult, Write, and take on management positions both in hospital setting and industry. An advanced degree allows nurses to move into even higher management positions like nursing director, vice president, or chief nursing office.
For those looking for advancement in nursing practice, APNs take on more responsibility than RNs. They provide care to patients while working under the supervision of physicians and registered nurses. Most states allow them to diagnose and prescribe medications.
Many people choose nursing because they like helping others. And there’s no denying that nurses play a vital role in society. However, the job often requires long hours and hard work, and it’s easy to burn out. Nurses are usually required to work shifts, night shifts, weekends, holidays and even during vacations and overtime can be common.
They may be expected to care for patients 24/7, which can lead to fatigue, stress and illness. It’s a good idea to take classes outside of nursing school to learn about healthcare administration and management. You could also consider taking courses online to save money.
The American Association of Nurse Executives (AANEP) recently published a list of popular resources for prospective students seeking information about earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Online. This includes both free and paid resources, such as books, eBooks, videos, podcasts, webinars, blogs, and much more.
The AANEP offers several helpful tips for anyone looking to take advantage of these resources. For example, it suggests finding out what type of program is best suited for your needs and interests.
Also, it says that many programs offer scholarships, financial aid, and grants to help offset costs. Lastly, it advises taking full advantage of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, and others.
A nursing degree is worth it if you are determined that nursing is the right career for you. With careful consideration and research you can start a Nursing degree with confidence knowing what to expect and what you will achieve.