Careers in Nursing
Nurses work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients to cope with illness or injury. Nurses provide direct patient care by observing, assessing, and recording symptoms, reactions, and progress in patients. Nurses assist physicians during examinations, treatments, and surgical procedures; and administer medications to patients, and help patients with rehabilitation. Nurses also help develop and manage nursing care plans, and instruct patients and their family members on proper care.
In all 50 states, and in the District of Columbia, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing school or nursing program, and pass a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license. There are three major educational paths to becoming a nurse: a bachelor's degree in nursing, which takes about four years to complete; an associate's degree in nursing, which takes about two to three years to complete; and a diploma, which is administered in hospitals and takes about 3 years to complete. Many nursing schools also offer you the opportunity to advance your career as a nurse by giving you the opportunity to go on and earn a masters degree in nursing as well. All of these programs can offer you quality training that will qualify you for entry-level positions as an LPN or an RN.
The curriculum for most nursing programs is built upon a foundation of biological, physical, and social sciences, and blends a strong academic base in these and other sciences with extensive clinical instruction and hands-on experience. Most non-clinical coursework, including exams, are completed in class or online, while the course clinical requirements are typically done at university hospitals and clinics, or at a medical facility near your school.
There is a consistently high demand for licensed and registered nurses in the healthcare industry, which opens many doors for employment opportunities in the field of nursing. Job opportunities are available for qualified nurses in hospitals, clinics, private practices, and in community health centers. As a licensed nurse, you will be qualified to seek these employment opportunities, and to provide nursing care to both rural and urban populations, to practice in collaborative and interdisciplinary settings, and to contribute to the current and evolving science of nursing.
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