Feb 21, 2007

Become a Nurse - One of the Fastest-Growing Professions in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2 million jobs for nurses in the country, and the profession is one of the 10 occupations projected to have the largest numbers of new jobs in the coming years. If you're like many Americans, then you probably have been thinking about how you can steer your career in a direction where you are helping people. Nursing can fulfill that goal, and with so many job opportunities forecast through the year 2010, you'll have an excellent chance at being gainfully employed when you complete your studies.

Three Major Factors Influencing the Need for Nurses Today

1. The current nursing population is aging. Many nurses are reaching the age of retirement and hospitals and other health-care institutions can't find replacements fast enough.

2. The largest generation in U.S. history is getting older. The baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1964 are aging, and consequently the need for trained health professionals increases.

3. Health-care delivery is shifting away from physician care to nursing care. For example, if you've been to the emergency room for stitches lately, then a nurse practitioner and not a physician probably performed the procedure.

The people who benefit from these three major changes in America are highly skilled nurses with bachelor's and even master's degrees. So how can you join this group of in-demand professionals? The first thing to do is to get an education!

Outstanding Programs for Nurses-In-Training

Licensed Practical Nurse: Also known as licensed vocational nurses in some states, these individuals go through one year of training at a hospital, vocational school, or community college. Once you've passed your state licensing exam, you will most likely work under the supervision of a registered nurse and will have a limited amount of responsibility.

Registered Nurse: Registered nurses generally have more responsibility (and earn more) than licensed practical nurses, but becoming one requires more education. You can earn your RN in the following three ways:

1. Diploma: A diploma nurse goes through about 3 years of training through a hospital. This type of program is decreasing in popularity as hospitals and other health-care institutions seek college-educated nurses.

2. Associate Degree: Nursing students who take this route focus more on technical skills than nursing theory, and it is often the first step to acquiring a BSN. With this program, you can earn your degree in 2 years and begin practicing as an RN as soon as you pass your state board examination.

3. Bachelor's Degree: You'll see this most often referred to as the BSN, and you'll also find that this is the pedigree for all RNs. If you take a look through the job classifieds section of your newspaper, you'll see that most RN positions are now requiring candidates to have a BSN. Although this program takes 4 years to complete, these are where you'll find the most opportunities for advancement?and the most money!

Advanced Nursing Opportunities
Once you earn a BSN in nursing, your career is certain to take off. You can advance to become a nurse practitioner, earn a master's in nursing that can lead to many managerial and administrator positions, or specialize in critical care, which is a highly respected field in nursing.

Good luck as you start on the road to success in your new career!

Information provided by Petersons.com

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