Consider the Options
If job security is a priority for you, you’ll be happy to know that nursing is a career with a bright future. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that more than one million new and replacement registered nurses will be needed by 2018. By choosing a career-focused college major like nursing, you’ll be preparing for a future of endless learning and growth potential.
Students interested in becoming nurses can choose from several training programs.
Choosing the Right Program for You
As a high school student considering a nursing career, you have three main options once you graduate. You can earn a practical nursing diploma and become a licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.), also known as a licensed vocational nurse (L.V.N.). Or you can earn either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree and become a registered nurse (R.N.). Generally, the more education you complete, the more opportunities you’ll have.
Practical Nursing Training
You can earn a diploma in licensed practical nursing in approximately one year. During that time, you’ll balance practical experience in hospitals and other settings with course work in everything from anatomy to nutrition. Once you graduate and pass an exam, you’ll be qualified to provide some care directly to patients. You’ll also assist R.N.s and doctors.
If you’re willing to attend college for two to three years, you can earn an associate degree in nursing (A.D.N.). During their added schooling, A.D.N. students pick up related courses, such as microbiology; take more specialized nursing courses, such as geriatric nursing; and spend longer hours in each class.
With an A.D.N. from a two-year college, you’ll be able to provide direct patient care in many settings. Some hospital nursing schools, colleges and universities also offer A.D.N. programs.
If you want the most options, including graduate school later on in your career, consider the bachelor of science degree in nursing (B.S./B.S.N.). This four-year program prepares nurses to practice in all healthcare settings.
As a B.S.N. student, you’ll have more time to develop skills in communication, critical thinking and leadership. Of course, you’ll also take more advanced nursing courses, studying such subjects as complex illnesses and perhaps conducting your own scientific research.
Prepare now for a future in nursing. Start by reading these major profiles:
You can also learn about the working life of nurses in these career profiles: