Registered Nurses Are in Greater Demand Than Ever Before: Will You Answer the Call?
There are many practical and philosophical reasons to pursue a degree in nursing. The American healthcare industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, making registered nurses one of the most in-demand career options in the country. There are also incredibly lucrative options in the field of nursing as well: the mean salary for a licensed practical/vocational nurse hovers around $48,070* a year, and requires only a high school diploma with some specialized training. If a registered nurse became a midwife, they would need to get a master’s degree, and could expect an average annual salary of around $123,780*. The idealistic side of you might be more interested in the satisfaction you’ll feel from saving the life of an accident victim, or being part of a research team working on a cure for cancer. As a registered nurse, you can have the best of both worlds – a lucrative and fulfilling career.
Let’s look at what you can expect to learn and do while earning a degree in nursing, based on the degree you’re seeking:
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing: This curriculum will bear many similarities to vocational nursing certificates or those who graduate from high school with nursing diplomas. However, instructors delve deeper and go wider in exploring the material. An associate’s in nursing is meant to provide a more holistic educational experience, combining classes with clinical experience to increase understanding of the field. Common topics include Microbiology and Immunology, Nursing Care of Patients With Complex Needs, and Professional Issues in Nursing.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing: The coursework of a bachelor’s degree program exposes students to even more healthcare concepts, theories, and practices. Research will play a bigger role in a four-year degree, adding to the theoretical and practical knowledge gained in the associate’s curriculum. If you already hold an undergrad degree, but want to pivot into nursing, there are often accelerated programs for doing so. Also, those who already work as nurses can often translate their experience into credits, saving them some time and money if they choose to work toward a bachelor’s. Look for classes like Chemistry and Physics for Nurse Anesthesia, Introduction to Nursing Research, and Public Health Nursing.
- Master of Science in Nursing: At this level, you’ve decided to specialize in a particular area, or are working toward a PhD in nursing. Your master’s degree will help you develop a complex understanding of the choices being made when medical care is provided. You’ll learn to use tools and techniques specific to the concentration you’ve chosen, and apply advanced research methods to your work. There will also be some management and leadership training, where you will learn to balance the need for excellent patient care with the subtleties of collaboration with a variety of medical professionals.
These are some of the foundational registered nursing degrees available, though with certifications and experience no two nursing careers need look the same. The only common ingredient required is a passion for helping others be healthy.