Nursing Jobs

Over the last thirty years, the number of different kinds of nursing jobs available to nurses has increased dramatically. No longer limited to working in doctors’ offices and hospitals, nurses can find employment in many healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, urgent care facilities, outpatient surgery centers, patients’ homes, and in other settings such as schools, universities, prisons, cruise ships, camps, and private companies.

Today, nurses also have more choices about what level of care they want to provide. Nursing assistants are entry level nurses who usually provide a lot of hands-on daily care to patients, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and taking temperatures. Licensed practical nurses also can provide this kind of care, but since they also have more medical training and licensure, their duties can include services that require more experience and knowledge such as measuring vital signs, administering medications, dressing wounds, and monitoring catheters. Licensed practical nurses are required to take the NCLEX-PN to become licensed.

Most floor nurses in hospitals and nurses with more advanced responsibilities are registered nurses. Registered nurses are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related program, or an associate’s degree with a period of time spent gaining clinical experience. Once they’ve finished their education, registered nurses are required to take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed.

Nursing Jobs

There are also four types of advanced practice nurses: clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. Advanced practice nurses are required to earn a master’s degree in nursing, specializing in one of these four areas. All of these nurses are able to assess, diagnose, and treat patients, much like a doctor does. In most states, they are able to prescribe medicine. Advanced practice nurses work under the supervision of, or in affiliation with, a medical doctor. They usually handle routine and well care patient visits, and refer acutely ill patients to the doctor or hospital. Clinical nurse specialists usually act as consultants instead of providing patient care. Nurse anesthetists prepare patients for anesthesia, administer the anesthesia, and monitor patients while under the effects of it. Nurse midwives care for pregnant women throughout their pregnancy and delivery. Nurse practitioners provide primary medical care for a variety of patients.

The good news is, that no matter what kind of nurse you’re interested in becoming, or what kind of setting you choose, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for nurses will continue to grow over the next several years. Nurses also earn above average incomes, especially registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. The average annual salary of registered nurses is approximately $63,000, while the average, annual salary of advanced practice nurses can be between $80,000 and $90,000.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014

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