What is nursing?
The field of nursing deals with providing medical, physical and psychological care to patients of all ages. Nurses also assist doctors in their day to day functions and perform a variety of administrative duties in order to ensure the smooth operation of hospitals and clinics. They administer physiotherapy to patients and work in nursing homes and mental health centers. Nurses also take part in administering emergency medical care, educating the public on basic healthcare and hygiene principles, and visiting patients who cannot be moved to hospitals. Nursing careers are one of the fastest growing in the country, with employment opportunities estimated to increase by around 14% over the next decade. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates over two million new nursing careers will be created by 2020.

What are the types of nursing degrees?
The diplomas, degrees and certification programs in nursing are as many as the careers offered by the field. Students can choose from a variety of specializations allowing them to make careers in various aspects of the healthcare industry. The most basic certification that all nurses have is the ‘Registered Nurse’ or RN certification which can be taken after one year of studies. Holders of this certification can then apply for jobs across the United States. For those interested in full time college programs, the Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are on offer. These degrees last between two and four years respectively, and include subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and pathology.

What are the nursing degree requirements?
Nursing degree requirements vary between schools, and from state to state. The associate in nursing degree requirements are generally that students must have graduated from high school and have a minimum ‘C’ grade in subjects such as biology, chemistry, English and humanities. Depending on the college they enroll in, students may be asked to appear for a written test and an interview before they are admitted to the program. After the completion of the associate’s degree students must take the ‘registered nurse’ certification exam before they will be allowed to start working. Nursing degree requirements for the more rigorous four year long bachelor’s program have been outlined by the American Nursing Association. Students must have an SAT score of 1000 points and must have completed one year of study in chemistry and biology in their undergraduate degree. They are also required to have studied one medical subject such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology or immunology in addition to medical ethics.

Why should I consider a career in nursing?
While there is no single answer to why you should become a nurse, most people join the nursing profession out of a desire to help others. They want to give back to the communities where they grew up in and make life better for their fellow beings. From another perspective, nursing is one of the very few professions that has remained unaffected by the economic downturn, and has in fact, maintained a steady, positive growth rate for decades. As the healthcare industry continues its growth, so does the field of nursing. Nowadays nurses are not limited to drawing blood samples from patients, they also work as hospital administrators, managing stocks & supplies and filing paperwork. An increasing number are now becoming clinical nursing specialists (CNS), healthcare practitioners and anesthesia specialists. Additionally, nurses are also employed as health insurance agents, insurance investigators and medical transcription & billing specialists.