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Nursing is a terrific occupation for many people -- but is it right for you?

Healthcare is forecasted to end up being one of the fastest-growing careers during the next decade and nurses make up the largest percentage of the workers in the healthcare field.

Working at the clinicBecause our population is increasing, particularly the older age groups, and the number of trained nurses is not keeping pace with this growth, many analysts are actually projecting a lack of trained nurses in the years ahead.

Nurses have a certain amount of flexibility as to how much formal schooling they complete, where and when they work, and what specific form of healthcare they perform.

Although most students put in two or four years education to become a nurse, individuals can get started in this industry after completing only one year of education.

And since everybody needs healthcare at some point, healthcare specialists can choose to work anywhere there might be potential patients -- in major cities such as Houston, Dallas or Austin, or in smaller towns around Texas.

Because people could need healthcare anytime during the day or night, there is a demand for nurses to be on duty at all hours of the day. And while some folks don't like this situation, other people take advantage of the freedom they have in selecting to be on the job evenings or weekends or mearly just a few extended shifts each week.

There are more than 100 different nursing specialties for students to select from. A large number of nurses are employed in clinics, hospitals, doctors offices and outpatient facilities. But other graduates find jobs in other areas, including home-based health care, nursing home or extended care facilities, universities, correctional facilities or in the military.

Medical professionalIt isn't difficult for medical professionals to switch positions throughout their careers. They're able to comfortably transfer from one facility to another or change their speciality or they can enroll in further schooling and move upward in patient responsibilities or into a management position.

Healthcare isn't right for everyone. It is a difficult and stressful job. Almost all medical staff put in a 40-hour week and the hours can be scheduled during evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and even holidays. Many healthcare workers may have to stand for long periods of time and perform some physical effort such as enabling patients to stand up, walk around or get positioned in bed.

One approach that a number of prospective nurse students use to determine whether they have the right qualities to become a healthcare professional is to volunteer at a medical center, physician's office or elderly care facility to see what this kind of career may be like.


Licensed Practical Nurse
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), delivers general nursing care. Almost all states call these medical professionals LPNs, but in a small number of states they are called LVNs. They operate within the supervision of physicians, registered nurses and other staff.

In order to become an LPN, someone has to complete an approved educational program and successfully complete a licensing test. The formal training course normally takes one year to finish.

Registered Nurse
A registered nurse (RN) is a significant step up from an LVN. Nearly all RNs have received either an associates degree in nursing, a bachelor's degree in nursing, or a certificate from a professional nursing program such as through a hospital training program or through a military services ROTC study program. Graduates must also pass a national certification examination in order to get licensed.

The Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN/ADN) degree will take roughly two years and qualifies an individual to Medical positiontake the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

The Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN/BS) typically may take four years of college classes and also allows graduates to take the NCLEX-RN. A BSN can help prepare students for potential manager job opportunities in the coming years. Students that currently have a bachelor's degree in a different area can enroll in a Post-Baccalaureate, Accelerated BSN or Second Degree BSN program.

Many hospitals might offer a two-year preparation program. These kinds of opportunities are generally coordinated with a community school where actual classroom work is presented. Successful completion of the program will result in attempting the NCLEX-RN.

The United States Military also provides training programs via ROTC courses at a handful of universities. These kinds of programs may take two or four years to complete and they also result in taking the NCLEX-RN.

Master of Science in Nursing
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree may be a good qualification to a potential manager or Nurse Educator position. Earning a graduate degree may present nearly unlimited professional options. Some schools will alternatively label their graduate programs either a MS in Nursing or a Master of Nursing. Basically, all three are equivalent qualifications with just different names.

A MSN may be earned by students by way of a couple of different means.

Students who already possess a BSN will generally get through a MSN in 18 to 24 months of classes at Quality patient carea university. Individuals who have a bachelors degree in a subject other than healthcare may also earn a MSN either through a accelerated or direct entry MSN program. This kind of graduate program will give you credit for your preceding diploma.

A handful of schools may offer a RN to MSN plan for students who just have an associate degree to go with their RN position. An RN to master's program is generally a two or three year program. Students entering into this type of program may need to complete several general education courses in addition to their major classes.

Students who complete a masters degree could continue on to try to get a doctorate degree if they wish to make that kind of commitment. A graduate degree may help prepare professionals for future advanced opportunities in management, research, teaching, or continuing direct patient care. Graduates may shift to job opportunities of Clinical Nurse Leaders, nurse managers, clinical educators, medical policy consultants, research associates, public health specialists, and in a number of other capacities.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) delivers preventive, primary, or specialized care in ambulatory and acute treatment settings.

There are four major sections of APRNs:
1. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) make up the biggest share of this group. They deliver original and ongoing treatment, which can encompass taking medical history; administering a physical examination or other medical examination; and diagnosing, treating, and managing patients. An NP might practice autonomously in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, family practice, or women's health care.
2. Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) deliver fundamental healthcare service, but also include gynecologic and obstetric care, newborn and childbirth care. Primary and preventive care form the majority of patient appointments with CNMs.
3. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) supply anesthesia care. CRNAs are sometimes the lone anesthesia suppliers for many rural health centers and hospitals.
4. Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) concentrate on particular categories or groups, including adult health, critical care or community health issues. A CNS may be involved with disease administration, advancement of health, or prevention of sickness and elimination of risk behaviors among individuals, small groups and communities.

Students need to complete one of these accredited graduate courses, successfully pass the national accreditation examination, and acquire their license to practice in one of these roles. The doctoral level is turning out to be the standard for preparing APRNs.

Clinical Nurse Leaders
A Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) enrolls in a master's degree program to deeper realize how to manage the care balance of patients. These graduates go on to offer direct treatment services, but with greater clinical intelligence and group leadership.

Doctor of Nursing Practice
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for professionals looking for the greatest degree of preparation.

Regular undergraduate nursing program course topics could include:
• Diagnosis, Symptom and Condition Management
• Human Anatomy
• Community Health
• Wellness Assessment
• Psychiatric Emotional Health Care
• Motherhood and Newborn Care
• Medical Systems Management
• Principles of Forensic Nursing
• Pediatrics and Acute Care of Children
• Oncology Care
• Critical Care
• Emergency Care
• Physiology
• Ethics
• Immunology and Microbiology
• Fundamentals of Pharmacology
• Supplementary and Holistic Medicine
• Health Strategies and Disease Prevention
• Diagnostics and Therapeutics
• Clinical Nursing Practice
• Restorative Care
• Patient Centered Care
• Evaluation and Management of Infectious Diseases
• Basics in Pathophysiology
• Nursing Technologies
• Care for Elderly Adults
• Cardiovascular system Care
• Injury Pathology & Trauma Assessment

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