US Colleges

Nursing Degrees

Nursing Degrees

There are plenty of nursing degrees to choose from and each nursing degree comes with its own specifications and scope of work.  The yearly remuneration, the place of work and the degree of responsibility will depend a great deal on the nursing degree and the institution from which the student has graduated.

There is nothing to despair.  With medical sciences opening the gates of opportunities, there is plenty to look forward to.  In many places the position of a certified nursing assistant is considered as the most basic level.  Here the nursing assistant mainly works as per the instructions of the senior nurse and does not have any decision making powers.  Moreover, the training course of a nursing assistant extends only for a few weeks and once they are through with the test, they can begin with their work.  Now you may begin to wonder as to what is the difference between a qualified nurse and a nursing assistant.  The job responsibilities of a nursing assistant are limited and they carry out the most basic functions.  The basic functions include making beds for the patients, helping them in dressing, bathing and feeding the patients and monitoring their vital parameters.

Now there is a great demand for the two types of nursing degrees offered by the community colleges.  One is an Associate Degree and the other is a Diploma.  There is also an accelerated program offered by many community colleges called the Bachelor of Science in Nursing which can easily be completed within three years.  For a nurse to obtain a license to practice in the state of their choice it is necessary for them to graduate with an Associate degree or diploma in Nursing.  Depending upon the nature of license examination taken by the nurse, they are classified either as a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Practical Nurse also addressed by the abbreviations RN and LPN respectively.

As the name suggests, a LPN performs the most basic functions and their duties are similar to those of a nursing assistant.  In addition to the basic functions, a LPN performs far more advanced functions than the nursing assistants.  This may include assisting the doctors in the delivery rooms, bathing and feeding the newborn babies, keeping a strict vigil on the patient’s health and monitoring the improvement, providing medications and giving injections to the patient.  To become a LPN, the students will have to equip themselves with a nursing diploma which may extend for a year.

The LPNs are required to take instructions from the senior nurses.  A RN is usually senior to a LPN and is eligible to perform the sum total of all the functions performed by the nursing assistants and LPNs.  A RN reports directly to the doctor and receives instructions from the doctor himself.  Their functions include providing medication and giving injections to the patients, assisting the doctors in surgeries, operating advanced medical equipments, design care plans for patients and monitoring the work of junior nurses.  Most of the RNs are expected to equip themselves with an Associate Degree and ought to have at least two years of nursing education.  However, most of the hospitals prefer their RNs to equip themselves with a Bachelors degree usually extending for four years.

For all the RNs who wish to pursue their education, plenty of nursing degrees are offered by both graduate and undergraduate programs.  These types of nursing degree programs are available at all leading universities and colleges.  For registered nurses, who hold an Associate degree or a diploma, there are programs where a RN can be converted in to a BSN.

Types of Nursing Degrees:

The health care industry is having a growing requirement for nurses.  Nursing, with two million jobs is amongst top 10 occupations that have largest number of new jobs. As there is already a shortage of qualified nurses world wide the opportunities seem extremely good.  The salary of a nurse is above average.  This is especially true in the case of advanced nurses having additional training and education.

Many degrees are available in the field of nursing which can be pursued with the help of a nursing school or nursing program.  This can be done on campus and can also be done online. Here are some of the degrees you can consider if you want a career in nursing.

CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

A CNA training class is easy and quick to complete and the requirements are lesser.  It is an entry level position and is considered a stepping stone towards becoming a LPN.  It gives you an exposure to every facility and environment you might find after becoming a nurse.  You will work under and perform tasks under the directions of a nurse.

ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing)

This involves -3 years of study and is available at a lot of community colleges.  On its completion you will be able to give RN care in different settings.  After completion you can become a LPN or an RN depending on the license examination type.

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

This is a four years course and is also sometimes known as a Baccalaureate degree.  It is offered at the California State University and also in some private colleges.  You will be able to give  RN care on completion.  You can also move to leadership and administrative positions with the help of this.

Masters Entry Level Program in Nursing

This program is for those adults who already possess a degree in some other field and want to become RNs.  It takes about 1-2 years.  The time period varies in terms of nursing course pre requisites that you may have already completed.  It is considered a Masters Degree.

APRN (Advanced Practical Registered Nurse)

An APRN specializes in complex nursing care. Most of the APRN licenses require you to have studied four years and are having  a bachelor’s degree.  Also  a bit of post graduate study. Some may even require a Masters degree.

You may or may not find a campus program close to your home depending on the type of degree you opt for.  You can consider going in for online degree and courses if you are unable to.  These are available for almost all areas and specialties although they might limit you from clinical experience.

After completion of your nursing degree you will be required to send a nursing application to your states ‘Board of Registered Nursing’.  Your transcripts will need to be sent by your Nursing School as well.  Your final requirement will be to clear the’ National Council Licensing Examination’.

The salary and job responsibility of a person will depend on the education and training received.  Hence if you have a higher degree you have more opportunities in securing a job of your choice.  With some consideration and good thought one can enter into a nursing level of their capabilities and be satisfied with a rewarding career.