Nursing Degrees for All Nurses

Nursing careers require the dedication of a professional who not only understands the foundations of nursing and medical care, but one that also understands the value of continuing education. Since the field of medicine is constantly evolving through research, providing new treatments and techniques, the best nurses may be those that continue to seek more information and education throughout a nursing career. As careers in nursing evolve, the path of a nursing school student or currently employed nurse can easily be tailored to specific concentrations within nursing by completing higher education programs through a campus-based or online nursing school.

The levels of education possible for a nurse are based upon the completed degree, in addition to any certifications achieved. A nurse with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree who has passed the NCLEX-PN examination is qualified to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).  With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, a nurse can easily pass the NCLEX-RN examination and work as a Registered Nurse. For those seeking a career as an Advanced Practice Nurse, a Master of Science in Nursing degree is the minimum requirement, and it is recommended that those with a MSN also consider a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Since the field of nursing is changing and with the shortfall of available nurses, an increase in education helps fill the void created by the nursing shortage across the country. If a nurse is interested in research and the academic aspects of nursing, a Ph.D. in Nursing is the best way to gain the knowledge and insight needed to help steer the field of nursing. For those nurses with an interest in Informatics, Case Management, Forensic Nursing or other concentrations, most colleges, universities and online nursing programs offer certificates in those disciplines, as well as many others.

The opportunities for education and vocational development in nursing are plenty, with many options for student nurses, or those returning to nursing school for career advancement. Pursuing a degree in nursing can be the fastest route to a satisfying and stable career in the medical field.

Nursing School Simulation Tactics

Throughout nursing school, the curriculum taught in textbooks, online and in lectures helps students learn the basics and even more complex diagnoses and techniques related to patient care. These standard methods prepare nurses for hand-on nursing by instilling facts and plans when it comes to evaluating, treating, monitoring and fulfilling the role of a nurse within a medical facility. Since nursing school also includes hand-on, clinical instruction, many student nurses are wary of the first interaction with patients. Along with the curriculum of a local college, university or online nursing school, the practical experience of patient care is needed in order for a nurse to fulfill the requirements of the job. Many nursing school students gain this experience, first, through various forms of nursing school simulations.

Simulations within a campus-based or online nursing school are helping to eliminate the nervousness many students experience when interacting with patients. These simulations come in many forms, including peer-to-peer role playing, virtual simulations on computers or mannequins and even through the talents of hired actors. A simulation is an educational environment that provides student nurses with an overall picture of specific jobs within nursing. These can occur in a maternity or acute care environment, as well as with patients managing chronic illness, age-related disabilities and a wide-range of other medical concerns.

One of the benefits of these simulations is the ability of the nurse to completely assimilate and apply classroom instruction onto a patient, giving the student nurse the chance to relay facts and information, diagnose, treat and/or monitor a patient. Simulations also help to increase the confidence level of a student nurse, giving each student a glimpse into their own strengths and weaknesses and how to best strengthen their own skill set within nursing. A nursing school simulation can also be a chance for a student nurse to ask questions and understand the nuances of patient care before actually treating a patient, and knowing what to expect before clinical instruction can make a big difference in the way that the student nurse is able to perform in school, and later, on the job.

Throughout the nursing school experience, there are many opportunities for students to practice the skills learned during classroom instruction and within textbooks. Nursing school simulations allow these student nurses to become more comfortable with medical environments and their roles within the medical community prior to assisting with actual patients. From computers and virtual reality simulations to the engagement of other students and actors, nursing school simulations are an important part of the entire nursing school experience.

Careers in Medical Health Records and Informatics

From HIPAA compliance to the appearance of Electronic Health Records and Informatics devices in hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices, the amount of medical paperwork and its digital requirements have increased. Medical and health records were once a simple matter of files within an office or storage facility, but with the new requirements for privacy and the incentives for electronic record keeping, the need for qualified  Medical Health Records and Informatics professionals is on the rise.

Medical Records Administrators and Technicians fulfill the needs within an office environment when it comes to creating, maintaining and administrating the medical records of patients. Many times, a Medical Records Technician can be tasked with organizing basic medical information directly from patient records, and must also understand regulations, technology and security as it pertains to medical records.  These professionals are trained through college-level programs, either at a local college or university, or even through an online nursing school program that offers certification in medical records administration. Careers in medical records administration are expected to grow over the next seven years, and the average salary of a Medical Records Administrator/Technician is between $24,290 and $39,490, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For nurses or nursing school students who want to pursue a career in Informatics, the ability to combine nursing and IT skills has opened up a wealth of opportunities within the field of nursing. An Informatics Nurse uses the skills learned in a nursing school program with a concentration in informatics to create a more streamlined environment within a medical setting. These post-graduate level nurses help eliminate errors within medical records that could otherwise prove a detriment to patient care and outcome through the careful management of IT-related tools and practices. An Informatics Nurse typically holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree obtained from a campus-based or online nursing school. Several nursing schools and nursing programs also offer accelerated nursing programs within the Informatics concentration in order to quickly fill the need for nurses within the field of Informatics. reports that Nursing Informatics professionals can earn $56,792 - $102,140 annually.

Careers in Informatics and Medical Records Administration are on the rise as more facilities require the skills of qualified medical records professionals. From Medical Records within a physician’s office or hospital to the perspective and experience of a nurse in Informatics, these careers are solid choices for those who wish to combine a love of medicine with a talent in Information Technology.

Online Nursing Programs Help Solve Nursing Education Deficiency

Nursing school is a challenging environment for even the best students. The curriculum and academic requirements of a nursing school student may be only the beginning, considering the time involved in classroom instruction, clinicals and study time. These students know the tests faced when attending a campus-based or online nursing school, and are willing to rise to the challenge that is the first of many hurdles on the career path to nursing.

Unfortunately, because of a lack of qualified instructors and Nurse Educators to assist these students achieve career goals, the competition within many local college or university nursing school programs can be tough. Metropolitan areas are especially affected by this nursing education shortage, letting down even the best nursing school applicant with waitlists and rejection letters.

Online nursing schools are rapidly becoming a solution to these problems being faced by those wishing to begin a nursing school program. An online nursing school program can reach more students than a scheduled, classroom-based nursing program. Since online nursing school programs are easily adaptable to most schedules, even student with other careers, jobs or family obligations can attend, granting those students better overall career options.

Because of the online format that has been proven successful to nursing school students, especially those considered non-traditional students that may already have established careers or returning to the workforce, many online nursing schools have developed accelerated nursing degree programs. These programs utilize the benefit of the online format to reach more students than in a traditional college or university nursing school program. Accelerated nursing school programs also build upon any prior college-level education credits, enabling students to complete these rigorous programs faster.

For those considering attending a nursing school, an online nursing school program can provide a flexible and challenging environment. With the ability of these fully-accredited programs to reach more students, the challenges facing the field of nursing can be eased substantially by putting more nurses to work, faster than by attending a campus-based nursing school program.

Home Health Nursing Careers

Home health careers are some of the most interesting, flexible and needed positions in nursing today. While the nursing shortage affects nearly all levels and specialties of nursing, the number home health nurses is dwindling as baby boomers both retire from the profession and begin to require the same home health services once provided by their own hands. With the rise of online nursing schools and accelerated nursing programs, a career as a Home Health Nurse is an attainable goal for those interested in providing health care to patients of all ages recovering from illness and injury at home, or those in need of palliative care.

Treating patients at home requires a special level of understanding, skill and communication for the home health nurse. The to coordinate schedules between patients and physicians,  understand the intricacies of medications and pharmacology, provide emotional support to family members and loved ones and keep health records and reports organized are some of the hallmarks of a good home health nurse. These nurses must be comfortable working in a wide range of environments, including rural areas, urban and suburban areas as well as nursing centers or therapeutic rehabilitation facilities in addition to understanding the process of home health nursing, from monitoring a patient to end-of-life, palliative care.

The treatment of home-bound patients, whether due to an injury or illness, can be a large factor in the patient outcome. Elderly patients may rely on a home health nurse to help with physical limitations, while the company provided by the home health nurse can easily help boost overall morale for the patient. Even the smallest patient, such as a child recuperating from a stressful surgery or learning to live with a genetic disability can benefit from the presence of a home health nurse and the care and education given to the patient, as well as concerned parents or caregivers.

A Home Health Nurse can expect to make an average of $37,000 annually as a Licensed Practical Nurse, and $56,000 annually as a Registered Nurse. With a degree in nursing, such as an Associates of Science in Nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a nursing school graduate can easily find an exciting and challenging career as a home health nurse. With the nursing shortage effectively reaching into all areas of nursing, especially Home Health Nursing, a long-standing and stable career is possible for those who enjoy the ever-changing landscape of healthcare within a patient’s home environment.

Why Are Nursing Schools Competitive?

With all of the talk about nursing being a smart and stable career choice, the national nursing shortage and its impact on health care overall, one question comes to mind for those that have chosen nursing as a career path: why are nursing schools so competitive? With waitlists for nursing programs stalling new cohorts of nurses, and the overall competition within nursing school, it can seem that the nursing shortage and all of the expectations about the field of nursing are little more than dialogue, with little follow through. That does not even begin to cover the competition facing nurses outside of nursing school as new graduates begin to look for a job within a hospital or medical facility.

Nursing schools across the country are faced with a large number of applicants that are recent high school graduates or non-traditional, second-career students. These programs, whether at a local college or university or through an online nursing school, have a high number of applicants, but a low number of lecturers, teachers and educators to provide the instruction needed to complete even a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. A nursing school program relies on the ability of Nurse Educators to impart information to students, either in a classroom environment or within clinical experiences. These Nurse Educators, however, are rapidly declining in number as they get closer to the age of retirement. New Nurse Educators must hold a Master of Science in Nursing degree, at minimum, in order to teach students, and many nurses are less likely to pursue such educational milestones with the allure of better pay or a better schedule that a Registered Nurse or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse can receive.

This bottleneck has increased the competition factor within nursing schools, whether online or through campus-based nursing school programs. With less teacher and instructors, these programs are forced to be more selective in the acceptance of new students, leaving many qualified nursing school applicants to search out other career and education avenues. As a solution to this problem, more nursing schools and nursing programs are offering accelerated nursing programs to students that wish to build upon experience gained in a non-nursing discipline. Accelerated nursing programs also appeal to the nursing school student that is ready to commit to a full undergraduate or graduate nursing school program, offering a lesser time and financial investment in exchange for a commitment to a much more challenging program.

Nursing schools and nursing programs are just as affected by the nursing shortage as the overall healthcare system and its patients. This shortage has created a more competitive environment for nursing school applicants and its students, with the solution hinging on the ability to find qualified Nurse Educators. For nursing school students frustrated with the process of entering into a nursing program, the best advice is to research all local programs, as well as online nursing schools and accelerated nursing programs to find the best fit and best chance at beginning a career in nursing.

Forensic Nursing Careers

Forensic nurses provide some of the most delicate and comprehensive services to victims of crimes and the legal system as a whole. These specially trained nurses are tasked with the job of collecting evidence, testifying in court and providing support overall for victims of crimes including rape, assault or other violent actions. A Forensic Nurse acts as a liaison between the medical community and law enforcement agencies, and typically works within an Emergency Department of a hospital or in a specialized, clinical environment that specifically treats those that have been victims of sexual assault, domestic or intimate partner violence or abuse.

Forensic Nurses may also work in a medical examiner’s office, helping with the process of identifying evidence or remains that are used in court to convict criminals or identify bodies. As a consultant within law enforcement or medical agencies, a Forensic Nurse can be used to interpret evidence from assault or abuse cases, or forensic materials that can help exonerate or convict a criminal. Forensic nurses may also work as victims’ advocates, helping even the youngest victims of abuse and trauma find a voice within legal or social service organizations.

In order to enter the field of Forensic Nursing, a Registered Nurse must pass an examination, as well as have documented experience working within a forensic environment as part of a forensic nursing course or post-graduate certification program. It is also recommended that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is completed, either through a campus-based college or university, or through an online nursing school. Additionally, programs that train nurses in the procedures of the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) method of forensic nursing continue to provide nurses with the added skills needed to help victims of sexual assault. Forensic nurses can expect to earn an average salary of $20-$40, annually, depending on location.

Without Forensic Nurses and the care provided through specialized training, the traumatic and violent events that occur through abuse, assault and domestic and intimate partner violence can be exacerbated by the process of evidentiary discovery. Because of the delicate nature of these crimes and those victimized, Forensic Nurses not only help the legal system convict those accused of committing these crimes, but also provide a reassuring environment for the victims.  Forensic Nurses are on the forefront of caring for victims of crimes, helping those who have experienced physical trauma and violence of the most sensitive and emotionally critical nature.

Why Pursue a Master of Science in Nursing Degree

For those entering nursing school, the deliberation over the type of nursing career to pursue may be just the beginning. Nursing school students are faced with a choice about whether to attend a local college or university nursing program or enter into a flexible, but fast-paced online nursing school. The programs offered can range from an Associate of Science in Nursing degree to an RN to BSN accelerated learning program, as well as graduate-level programs such as a Master of Science in Nursing.

The field of nursing is changing, and more hospitals, clinics and medical facilities are raising the educational requirements for nurses. An ASN is now the customary degree for an incoming Licensed Practical Nurse, while a BSN is quickly becoming the basic requirement for Registered Nurses. For those that wish to pursue a career in Advanced Practice Nursing or become a Nurse Practitioner in a general or specialized field of nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing degree is the standard.

Advanced practice nurses are quickly becoming one of the more sought-after types of nurses throughout the country. As many of these medical professionals begin to age and retire, the need for nurses with a graduate-level education is increasing; both to fill the positions left behind by the retiring nurses, as well as provide medical care to those very same individuals. With the rise of technology in nursing, and the complexities that occur through evidence-based nursing practices, nurses that have attained and mastered the skills necessary to provide the necessary health care services to patients is also increasing. In addition, the salaries of those who hold a Master of Science in Nursing are on the rise, with an average starting salary of around $60,000 annually. For those that specialize further, earnings can increase dramatically, depending on the specializations, location and experience.

Aside from deciding on a campus-based or online nursing school, or a nursing concentration, one of the biggest decisions a nursing school student can make is which degree is the ultimate goal. With the changes that continue to evolve in the field of medicine and nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing degree can give a nurse the skills and education needed to establish a fulfilling career in nursing.

Mental Health Nursing Careers

Working in the field of mental health is a challenging and exciting field of medicine that incorporates all aspects of health and wellness of a patient. The nurses in this field provide a wide range of services to patients and clients, helping to diagnose, treat and manage various mental and emotional disorders that can range from depression and bi-polar disorder to grief counseling, substance abuse treatment and even medically-based therapies. There are several options available to those interested in pursuing a nursing career in psychiatric-mental health nursing (PMHN), including as a Registered Nurse, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner or even as a Psychiatric Nurse.

A Registered Nurse can establish a career in mental health nursing after completing the NCLEX-RN examination process and gaining experience in a mental health environment. Outpatient clinics, hospitals and auxiliary treatment centers often need Registered Nurses to provide care to patients and families include investigating issues pertaining to diagnosis, provide case management services, develop care plans and facilitate the overall implementation of determined services and treatments.  These Registered Nurses typically hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a campus-based or online nursing school and can expect to earn an average annual salary of $40,000.

An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse working in the PMHN field can perform the role of Clinicial Nurse Specialist or work as a Nurse Practitioner. An APRN can have a more autonomous experience in psychiatric-mental health nursing, directly providing treatment to patients and clients, determining a diagnosis, counseling patients and families and even prescribing or diagnosing medication. The APRN in psychiatric-mental health nursing should hold a Master of Science in Nursing, be certified through the NCLEX-RN examination and have experience in a working mental health environment. The average salary for a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner can start at $60,000 annually.

Psychiatric Nurses typically hold a PhD, DNSc or EdD and focus more on the academic and research aspects of mental health concerns. Many times, a Psychiatric Nurse acts as a consultant within a hospital or mental health facility, often providing similar services as a physician in the same field of medicine. These doctoral-level mental health nurses are considered to be within the top-paying specialties of nursing, with many Psychiatric nurses earning an average of $95,000 annually.

Caring for the mental health of others requires a special level of dedication to the challenges that are faced daily when it comes to mental and emotional disorders. A career in psychiatric-mental health nursing can touch the lives of a wide range of people, regardless of age, gender or other demographic concerns. With a growing need for nurses, and a less stigmatic approach to mental health issues across the country, the field of psychiatric-mental health nursing continues to give back to the community, as well as the medical professionals working within its challenging environment.