Nurses are the human face of so much health care – providing direct patient care. They are the first point of contact as regards administration of treatment and conduct of diagnostic tests, and as such, they are incredibly important in the health care profession.
There are various types of career within nursing depending on your interests, each with its own specific training program, such as home aide, patient care technician, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse and others can be found by clicking the links in the navigation bar, or by using the search boxes. This page has general advice on programs you can study for a career in nursing, links to schools where they can be taken, details of future prospects, and more …
What is studied in online programs for nursing?
Obviously it depends at which level you take it, but nursing education usually includes courses in anatomy, physiology, biological sciences, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, sociology, nursing, pharmacology, statistics, environmental and occupational health, and the liberal arts.
But you can’t learn everything about being a nurse online. Some programs also include supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Nurses most commonly enter the occupation by completing an Associate or Bachelor’s degree program. Individuals must then complete a national licensing examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain a nursing license. Licensed graduates of these programs then qualify for entry-level nursing positions.
Further training or online programs nursing can qualify you to work in specialty areas, and help advance your career. Many existing licensed registered nurses (RNs) with an Associate degree or diploma take programs at Bachelor’s level, to enable them to assume positions of responsibility in a variety of health care settings. These can be administrative positions in nursing, but could also be other positions in home health, nursing education, or health care management. See the “Pathways to Nursing” infographic below for further details.
What are the career prospects in nursing?
Nursing professionals are always in demand all over the world. Graduates of online nursing programs are found in several major settings, including:
- Hospitals – providing bedside nursing care and administering medical care plans;
- Clinics/Centers/Healthcare Offices – caring for outpatients in doctors’ offices, clinics, and emergency medical centers;
- Nursing Homes – caring for residents;
- Schools – providing education programs, health services and ensuring a healthy environment for staff and students;
- Home Care/Hospice – providing nursing services to patients at home;
- Public Health Prevention/Education Programs – providing education and training;
- And there are many other opportunities for nurses.
In many of these settings they assist with examinations; administer injections and medications; dress wounds and in many other ways, administer medical care plans.
Technological advances in patient care are driving growth in the profession. In particular, rapid growth is expected in nurses for hospital outpatient facilities due to the growing trend in discharging patients earlier and performing more procedures as outpatients. Hospital jobs for nurses will not grow as rapidly, but none the less, will grow. The aging population of the country will also lead to the need for more nurses over the next seven years. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment of registered nurses up to 2016 is expected to grow over 20%.
After taking an online nursing degree, what can you expect to earn? Salaries depend on the role, qualifications and experience. The median expected salary for a typical Staff Nurse RN is over $61,000 (from Salary.com).
List of nursing schools and programs
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