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Even in a poor economic environment, healthcare workers remain in high demand. The pressure to cut healthcare costs in hospitals and clinics has left nurses with increasing responsibility for patient care, so attending nursing school is a great choice if you're looking for a career with relative job security.
Nursing schools have a number of different degree programs. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) needs to have a practical nursing diploma from a community college. You can become a registered nurse (RN) with either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree. However, a bachelor's degree is typically recommended because you'll have greater earning potential. Credits from an associate's degree program in nursing will typically transfer to a bachelor's degree program. If you already have a bachelor's degree in another area, many of these credits can be used to reduce the amount of time it takes to earn your nursing degree.
Earning a master's degree will allow you to seek positions in specialty nursing areas or to work in healthcare administration. Some schools have programs that will let you earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree at the same time you are studying for a Master of Public Health (MPH) or a Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) degree.
The curriculum for nursing school varies depending upon the degree you select, but you can expect to study basic health and wellness, nutrition, preventative medicine, anatomy, and physiology in addition to specialized nursing areas such as geriatric nursing, pediatrics, or critical care. Clinical experience is considered an essential part of nursing school, so you should also plan on spending time in a hospital or clinic applying what you've learned to the actual care of patients.
Last Updated: 04/01/2013
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