Working as a nurse requires much patience, compassion, and critical thinking. There are many work environments for those with a nursing degree. There is a shortage of nurses and so many scholarship opportunities have opened to get
the nurses needed. Nursing is a transferable skill in just about any industry.
Types of nursing degrees
There are a few nursing degree options available. The Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year college degree that can be obtained at a community college.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is very popular. Typically, this is a four-year degree in which the student will take many clinicals in order to get the hands on experience necessary for a career in nursing. It must be obtained from an accredited nursing program. Some BSN students have chosen to obtain their ADN in order to start working and then go back to school to complete their BSN.
The Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is an advanced degree of which a student focuses on a particular specialty such as psychiatric, neonatal, or obstetrics. The BSN must be obtained prior to the MSN degree. A student can complete this course in one or two years as a full time student.
Finally, a nurse can pursue their Doctorate Degree, the highest degree in nursing. A student can pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), which is more for clinical nursing specialties, or the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS), which are for those choosing to do medical research or to become a professor of nursing.
After a nurse has received their educational credentials, they must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination and receive their license.
Nursing admission requirements
Nursing is a program that requires many science and lab courses. Even those seeking an associate's degree needs to have high school level biology, anatomy, and chemistry courses within a recent timespan. Most colleges will not allow a freshman to enter the BSN program, they must progress through the associates program or the schools pre-nursing program. Once they have successfully passed that, they can apply to the schools nursing program.
The academic requirements are generally an ACT score of at least an 18 or higher and rank in the top 15-percent of their graduating class. They must undergo a background check and drug test. Many schools will also require an application essay and letters of recommendation for their program.
Careers available with a nursing degree
Someone with a nursing degree can chose many different career paths. Nurses do not just work in hospitals either. Most nurses work in physician offices, surgical hospitals, home health care, pharmaceutical companies, or nursing care facilities. Many others work in schools, community centers, patients' homes, military, or are traveling nurses.
Specific career paths for nurses are becoming a case manager, nurse educator, staff nurse, nurse practitioner, administrator, geriatric nurse, medical writer, parish nurse, and telephone triage nurse.
Salary and job prospects for nursing degree holders
Salary ranges for those who hold a degree in nursing really does have a huge range. It does show that the higher degree you have and pursue that career path, the higher your salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), depending on the degree type and field, a nursing degree can average a person between $25,620 and well over $154,390. A certified nursing assistant would make an average of $24,010. A registered nurse averages $67,930, while Nurse Anesthetists average $154,390.
Following a career path in nursing is a smart thing to do for someone looking for job stability. Healthcare is one of the faster growing industries. Due to the baby boomers retiring and the steady increase of advancement of technology, the demand for healthcare and nurses is rising.