The Art of Patient Care: Nursing Degrees

Students interested in the nursing profession usually start by entering a top nursing school and earning a resident nursing degree by completing the program requirements, which usually takes about three years. Students may also choose to try to earn an Associate of Nursing Science degree in two or three years. The nursing diploma certifies students for entry-level positions as a RN (registered nurse), but those who want a more complete nursing career will have to undergo additional study for their bachelor's degree. For those with designs to get on the management ladder, an MBA/MS in nursing program that merges Masters level nursing study with health care tinged business management issues.

Nursing Degree Information

Students interested in the nursing profession usually start by entering a top nursing school and earning a resident nursing degree by completing the program requirements, which usually takes about three years. Students may also choose to try to earn an Associate of Nursing Science degree in two or three years. The nursing diploma certifies students for entry-level positions as a RN (registered nurse), but those who want a more complete nursing career will have to undergo additional study for their bachelor's degree.

Study Options

Students who have already earned a RN degree online can attend a college that offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The BSN can be earned in four years or less and enables nurses to pursue higher-level jobs in nursing, including those in management.

Advanced Degrees

Most nurses typically complete their education at the BSN level; however, students who wish additional training can enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. These programs take up to two years at a top nursing school and will enable the nurse to specialize in a specific field of nursing, such as mental health nursing, health care administration or surgical nursing.

Master Of Science In Nursing

The MSN is a typical two-years master's program for nursing. Typically, nurses who have earned a BSN from an accredited college or university can enter an MSN program directly in order to master a nursing specialty. However, some students may opt for a direct RN to MSN program, which puts the BSN and MSN requirements into one full program that usually takes about five years to complete. Students with RN certification and bachelor's degree in another discipline may also move directly into an MSN program.

Further Education

Students at any level of nursing, RN and beyond, can enhance their knowledge base with continuing education courses, and in fact, some of these courses may be required for certain nursing positions. Continuing education courses may be found online and in some cases may be taken online as well.

Choosing A Degree

Students interested in health care may want to work towards a career in nursing. Nurses are often in short supply, so a qualified nurse will often have a good variety of career options. Nurses tend to be more involved with direct patient care than doctors are, and this can have an appeal to some individuals who choose nursing school over medical school.

Career Opportunities

There are a tremendous number of nursing specializations available to those with a degree in nursing. Which careers are realistic options for an individual depends on their nursing experience and their level of nursing education. Some nursing career paths include: clinical nurse specialist, cardiac nurse, hospice nurse, critical care nurse, pediatric nurse and school nurse.

Earning Potential

Nursing is expected to experience much more career growth on average over the next decade than most other industries. A home health aide in 2006 made an average of $9.34 an hour, psychiatric aides made $11.49 per hour on average. The median hourly wage of orderlies, nursing aides and attendants in 2006 was $10.67.

Getting Your Degree Online

Online nursing degrees are the perfect option for resident nurses looking to increase their level of nursing education and career options. Students can continue their nursing duties during the day while continuing their education online at an accredited distance learning university at night, between shifts, or whenever it is convenient. Students have online degree options for bachelors of science in nursing as well as masters of science in nursing degrees.

Getting Your Degree Offline

Registered nurses (RN) who are interested in moving forward in their nursing career may wish to attend a traditional brick and mortar college or university to further their nursing education. A live college or university will give the student the best opportunities to practice hands on nursing techniques and research and will allow the student to interact with other nurses directly who may have more or different expertise than their own. Students who have earned a bachelor's degree at an offline university in a field other than nursing may still be able to attend a top nursing school graduate program if they show themselves to be sufficiently qualified to take on the requirements. Those who are currently working Registered Nurses (RN) may have to take some time off in order to meet the time demands brought on by taking a full course load at a traditional university. Alternatively, they may choose to work part time or to build their nursing schedule around their college courses. Students should be aware that while the benefits are great, the challenges of working as a nurse while attending a brick-and-mortar college or university are great as well.

 

Nursing Degree FAQs

What Kind of Online Nursing Programs are Available?

There are many online programs available that focus on providing an education in the nursing field. Some possibilities include licensed practical or vocational nurse, nurse practitioner, nursing assistant, associate's in nursing, bachelor's in nursing and master's in nursing.

What Is the Role of a Nurse in a Hospital Setting?

Nurses are responsible for administering medicine, wound care and emotional support to those who need it. These hardworking individuals are usually the most familiar with patients as they are constantly monitoring their health and vital signs. Nurses are also responsible for instructing patients and family members how to care for themselves once they leave the hospital.

How Do I Become a Nurse?

There is a wide range of possibilities for employment, such as working in a private doctor's office, a health clinic, nursing home or for a company that provides at-home nursing services All can be achieved after earning a nursing degree from a top nursing school.

Do Distance Learning Programs in Nursing Provide Quality Education?

The same individuals who design their college-based counterparts design many distance learning nursing programs. This means that the quality of the education is virtually the same for online and traditional programs. The certification or nursing degree you earn online will be just as recognized as the one awarded to someone who attended a campus-based program.

What Are The Best Nursing Schools?

This varies according to your specific needs, but a good nurse school should at the very least offer a degree program in becoming a registered nurse. some of the best nursing schools include the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University and Walden University.

What Steps Should I Take After Completing an Associate's Degree?

While in school, students may wish to consider internships or entry-level jobs in the healthcare field. This will allow students to build professional relationships and take advantage of hands-on training that can transition into career opportunities upon completion of a degree.

If a student chooses to compete in the job market for a medical assistant or nursing position, he or she will be completely prepared after fulfilling degree requirements. If the goal is to continue on to a bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree will provide a solid foundation.

What Steps Should I Take After Completing an Associate's Degree?

While in school, students may wish to consider internships or entry-level jobs in the healthcare field. This will allow students to build professional relationships and take advantage of hands-on training that can transition into career opportunities upon completion of a degree.

If a student chooses to compete in the job market for a medical assistant or nursing position, he or she will be completely prepared after fulfilling degree requirements. If the goal is to continue on to a bachelor's degree program, an associate's degree will provide a solid foundation.

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