If you are thinking about choosing nursing as a career path, then you have quite a few options to consider, both before and after you choose what kind of nurse you want to be. How long do you plan to go to school? Would a certification or a degree be a better option? Perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider is the job market outlook for the foreseeable future. With the answer to these questions, you can formulate your game plan to maximize your chances for success!
Here’s a brief list of the places that nursing can take you:
Nurses Specializing in a Setting or Treatment:
Nurses Specializing in Diseases, Ailments, or Healthcare Conditions:
Nurses Specializing in Organs and Body Systems:
Nurses Specializing in Populations:
Advanced Practice Nursing:
Maybe you have already chosen your career path in nursing, and now you’re looking at educational options. You can obtain an associate degree in nursing (ADN) in about 2 years; a diploma program (hospital administered) in about 3 years; a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN) in about 4 years; a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) in an additional 2 years; or you could opt for an accelerated MSN, which requires 3-4 years of intensive study to obtain a BSN and MSN.
Studies for nursing will include physiology, anatomy, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, psychology, and behavioral sciences, in addition to nursing courses. ADN and BSN students also delve into the liberal arts. Supervised clinical experience may also be required coursework. Lastly, continued education is often required for nurses to remain updated on current medical practices and procedures.
In addition to the coursework and work experience outlined above, all nurses within the United States, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories are required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before they can become licensed. Your state’s board of nursing has more information on what this examination entails.
As far as options go, there are also plenty of ways for nurses to promote. Nurses (most often with advanced degrees) can advance to assistant unit manager, head nurse, assistant director, director, vice president, or even chief of nursing. Alternatively, nurses can also become advanced practice nurses to administer greater levels of care in their field of choice. Nurses can also choose to pursue business oriented careers, managing health care businesses or helping the medical community create health plans, make policy decisions, and implement marketing plans; they may also provide consulting services to a wide number of health organizations.
Median salaries for the various types of RN’s range between $57-68k annually, with plenty of room for pay increases over the years to reach an average salary cap of nearly $100k. Most RN employers offer extensive benefit packages, flexible schedules, educational benefits, bonuses, and many offer child care services as well.
The job outlook for RN’s is nearly unstoppable, with projected increases in available positions at a whopping 22 percent from 2008 to 2018 – far faster than the average growth rate of all sectors combined. In addition to new positions, a hundreds of thousands of current RN’s are expected to retire within that time, creating a vacuum of openings that should make it much easier to secure positions. Lastly, the baby boomer generation is reaching an age where a far greater amount of medical care will be needed, which means that demand for nurses is likely to skyrocket.
If you have chosen to become a Registered Nurse, then not only do you deserve a hearty pat on the back for the great contributions you will make to your community, but your career prospects for the short and long term future are some of the best in the world!