Registered nurses (RNs) are linchpins in the healthcare cycle system. They provide medical and emotional support for the sick and injured by keeping detailed track of patients’ symptoms and monitoring their improvement or decline.
Nursing is an extremely stable profession. The median income for RNs who were employed during May of 2008 was $65,130, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS notes that a student who is considering a career in this field may pursue a diploma, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN). All RNs must pass the National Council of Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses to be officially licensed to practice in every state.
As certain career specialties and positions with higher pay are only open to BSN holders, current students should carefully weigh the advantages of each educational path when choosing their nursing courses.
A RN with an ADN may decide to deepen and specialize their skill sets with entry-level training in hospital, hospice and residential settings. They may then decide to pursue a BSN.
As patient care methodology is in continual flux, nurses are expected to stay at the forefront of their field in order to provide best care practices. To this end, they may take continued nursing courses to stay current. These professionals can choose to pursue an online master’s degree in nursing, for example, and complete advanced coursework while working full-time.
With experience, some RNs may choose to specialize even further. For example, professionals who are interested in the future of methodology and practice in their field may focus on nursing theory during their training.
Many RNs with experience and advanced levels of education can serve as teachers. Whether leading clinics in low-resource settings or speaking at conferences overseas to advance nurses’ rights, these professionals can contribute enormously to the health field as a whole.