It’s easy to be inspired to become a nurse when you read about the exploits of famous caregivers such as Florence Nightingale, Mary Eliza Mahoney and Clara Barton. A nursing career offers a chance to positively influence lives of people in need. Nurses do much more than just provide basic, friendly care – they are first responders who play a vital role in the healing process in a variety of healthcare settings.
As the healthcare industry grows, so does the demand for nursing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states, “The employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.”
But what nursing degree is the right fit? After all, there are quite a few different kinds of nursing programs and degrees out there. Your life situation and educational journey will help determine that answer. Here is a look at a few of the most popular nursing degrees:
Becoming an LPN is a fantastic way to start your nursing career. It usually takes around 12 months to complete your postsecondary non-degree award or diploma as an LPN. With this diploma, you will provide basic nursing care while working under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors.
You can also begin your nursing career with the Associate of Science in Nursing degree. This course of study prepares students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for registered nurses exam (NCLEX-RN) and become a licensed registered nurse (RN). Once you are an RN you can perform diagnostic tests, operate certain medical equipment, consult with a physician on a course of treatment and administer medication. In addition to working in general healthcare practice, RNs can also specialize in areas such as pre-operative care, diabetes management, pediatric oncology, geriatric care, ambulatory care and dermatology.
Whether you're new to nursing or are already a registered nurse (RN), a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree is increasingly becoming the new standard. Hospitals seeking Magnet Status are looking to hire and encourage their current nursing staff to earn their BSN degree. This degree usually takes students around three to four years to complete, depending on your prior learning experience.
In order to gain your MSN degree, you must have already obtained your BSN degree. With an MSN degree, you will coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. The scope of work depends upon your degree concentration. For example, you can get an MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner or MSN-Nursing Educator.
Interested in exploring one of our nursing pathways? Learn more here.