Future for Nursing Careers

Although the term “recession-proof” is hard to guarantee, the nursing profession is one of those careers that will always be in demand. From advancement options to more traditional roles, nursing careers are a great path to pursue. There is almost always a nursing shortage in this country, and now is no exception. There is a surplus of nursing jobs available in many states and many advancement options are available as well.

Education Requirements for a Nursing Career

Nursing certificate programs in most states typically last two years (four semesters) at a local community, technical or vocational college, or through online nursing programs. A high school diploma or equivalent is needed to begin, and some vocational schools and community colleges also require students to undergo a background check and earn a CPR certificate. The classroom work for an associate degree in nursing focuses on an overview of the skills needed to become an LPN or an LVN, including:

  •         The fundamentals of practical nursing
  •         Adult health topics
  •         Anatomy and physiology
  •         Child / Pediatric health studies
  •         Mental health

Additional course work may include several semesters of English composition as well as communications. The first few semesters include introductory classes in these and other subjects. Subsequent semesters lead to more advanced level course work in all of these areas. Other education requirements include basic patient care, pharmacology, emergency first aid and nutrition.

In order to become an LPN or an LVN, you’ll also have to pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination.) This exam covers four major categories: health promotion and maintenance, safe and effective care environment, physiological integrity and psychosocial integrity.

Registered nurses follow a more intensive educational path that usually lasts four years for a bachelor’s degree (BSN), and five to six years for students pursuing a master’s degree (MSN). After graduating, nurses can then try to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a requirement for all states in order to garner professional employment as an RN (registered nurse.)

Additional course work for an RN degree will include some or all of the following:

  • Pediatric and maternity nursing care
  • Fundamentals of pharmacology
  • Medical and surgical nursing
  • Psychiatric nursing care
  • Cultural aspects of nursing

All nursing programs include a period of hands-on clinical work, most often while within a hospital setting.

Career Options: What you can do with a Nursing Career

There are a variety of types of nurses, including registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs.) Each specialty will have responsibilities and duties that differ from registered nurses. Licensed practical nurses typically work under supervision of doctors. Registered nurses can provide care for patients in a wide variety of different settings and circumstances.

Nurses will monitor and record patients’ vital statistics, including their respiration, pulse and temperature. They will also provide standard bedside care. They give basic injections, clean and dress wounds, and also assist patients with bathing, dressing and mobility. They may also be required to collect samples for lab work, perform routine testing and help to clean and do basic maintenance on medical equipment in clinic and operating rooms.

Nurses should be able to find work just about any where within a hospital setting. Some can also work in nursing homes, clinics, private practices and in-home health care. In some states, nurses can receive licenses to administer intravenous fluids and prescription drugs, opening up even more career options for them.

What to Consider if you Pursue a Nursing Career

The job prospects for nurses are expected to be quite favorable over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are projected to see a 22% increase in job openings. This will add about 581,500 nursing jobs to the market. The aging baby boomer generation and number current nurses retiring will contribute to growing opportunities for nursing careers and advancement options. Development and innovation of medical technology will also increase the demand for qualified nurses.