A Break-Down of the Careers in Nursing | Nurse Jobs

A Career in Nursing

By Josh Stone

The medical field has always offered great career opportunities and provides not only job security but favorable incomes.

Nurses promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They collaborate with all members of the healthcare team to provide the care needed by each patient as an individual. Nurses are hands-on health professionals who provide focused and highly personalized care. The field has a wide range of career opportunities, ranging from entry-level practitioner to doctoral-level researcher.

Nurses also serve as advocates for patients, families, and communities. They develop and manage nursing care plans; instruct patients and their families in proper care; and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or maintain their health.

An entry-level nurse may find a job with a two-year RN degree, there is a growing national movement to require all nurses to hold a BSN. An increasing number of nursing schools are offering accelerated bachelor's and master's degree programs. There also are a growing number of RN-to-MSN and MSN-to-Ph.D. programs, designed to meet the increasing demand for more highly skilled nurses in the workforce.

Nursing has also four Advanced Practice clinical professions, each of which requires a master's degree and separate certification: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse, Anesthetist, Nurse-Midwife, Nurse Practitioner.

All States and the District of Columbia require LPNs to pass a licensing examination after completing a State-approved practical nursing program. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), care for the sick, injured, convalescent, and disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses.

Most LPNs provide basic bedside care. They take vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also treat bedsores, prepare and give injections and enemas, apply dressings, give alcohol rubs and massages, apply ice packs and hot water bottles, and monitor catheters. LPNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to medications or treatments. They collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, feed patients, and record food and fluid intake and output. They help patients with bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene, keep them comfortable, and care for their emotional needs. In states where the law allows, they may administer prescribed medicines or start intravenous fluids. Some LPNs help deliver, care for, and feed infants. Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides.

In addition to providing routine bedside care, LPNs in nursing care facilities help to evaluate residents' needs, develop care plans, and supervise the care provided by nursing aides. In doctors' offices and clinics, they also may make appointments, keep records, and perform other clerical duties. There are many different options for you in the nursing profession. This diverse field offers you many different departments to work in. You can work hands-on with patients or you might want to work in a lab or research facility. You might choose to work in a specific field such as OB-GYN or Pediatrics. There are also many opportunities for advancement. Find a nursing job or career that utilizes your unique set of skills, talents and abilities. The career process is similar to the nursing process, which includes assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation, and they parallel each other. 

Nurses in rehab facilities and convalescent homes get to be part of the recovery process, and many take great pride and joy in watching a patient advance and recover. Convalescent home jobs include charge nurses, floor nurses and nursing assistants as well as physical and occupational therapy specialists.

There have been developing major changes in the practice of long term elder care. Many seniors don't need round the clock nursing care, but do need some nursing supervision. Senior housing communities often have an on-site nurse who is available to help residents with medication problems, take care of routine medical care and be available in case of an emergency. The nurse on site will also often consult with doctors who work with individual residents to help manage any medical care that they need. The pay scale is generally quite good, and the hours closer to a regular work week than in many other geriatric nursing jobs.

Due to this high demand on this job it is easy to find many different opportunities and choose one with favorable working conditions and hours.

There are companies offering placement for nurses to meet situational requirements. You may not want the responsibility of a full-time position in a hospital, but want to work only a few weeks at a time. You have plenty of options. Choose travel nursing and spend a few days on the road each month, or a few months out at a time. Pick up part-time work or temporary positions. You have plenty of options without working full time and there are companies that do nothing but placements for people like you. Be careful to choose a reputable company and be wary of signing a long-term contract that limits your work with other companies, but this could be a viable option.

The pay is great. Bonuses are paid when you are hired. You do not have to work in the same place year after year. In fact, you can change the vocation landscape every quarter if you wish.

With the promise of meaningful work, job security and new opportunities, second-career nurses bring maturity, commitment and life experience to the workplace. Some say that after years of just making money, they want to do meaningful work. Others feel trapped in limited professions or have lost their jobs in a sliding economy and see new opportunities in nursing. To attract and keep their interest, many nursing schools have established accelerated bachelor's degree programs for students who already have a degree in another field. In addition to a long list of prerequisite courses, mostly human sciences and psychology, most programs last three semesters and require 18 to 20 hours of coursework and another three to five hours of clinicals per week.

About the Author: Josh Stone is a Freelance writer with eleven years of experience writing for Best Buy Nurse Uniforms and Dickies Medical Uniform Scrubs

Featured Schools
Nursing Resources