Nursing Schools and Programs

Nurses treat the sick and injured, educate people about illness and health, and counsel patients' family members. Nursing specialties include the following:
  • Populations like pediatrics or geriatrics
  • Diseases like oncology, or HIV/AIDS
  • Areas of physiology such as genetics or gynecology
  • Home nursing, such as visiting or hospice
  • Hospital care, such as surgical, critical, or emergency
  • Education-focused nursing such as public health
Aspiring nurses must have a natural inclination toward helping people, plus ample amounts of compassion and emotional stability. Communication skills, ability to follow supervision, and a sense of personal responsibility are assets, as well.

Pursuing Your Nursing Degree

Several paths lead to a nursing degree:
  • Licensed vocational or practical nurse (LVN or LPN)
  • Registered nurse (RN) or associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN)
  • Practical Nursing, such as a nurse practitioner, through master's degree of science in nursing (MSN) with a bachelor's degree.
BSN and MSN degree programs may offer courses in leadership, communication, and critical thinking. The coursework may lead to a career in teaching, administration, consulting, or research. If you're already a nurse, you may consider a nursing program such as the RN or LVN to BSN. If you have a degree in another field, you may consider a BSN. For licensing, you may be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN.

Job Outlook and Salary for Nurses

Nurses might be in demand through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010 Data. The median annual salary for RNs is $64,690 and LVNs have $40,380.