Career Profile:Why Pursue A Nursing Career?

Nurse Anesthesiologist

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The nursing field is the largest healthcare profession and one of the largest areas of occupation in the United States today, employing 2.9 million professionals. This number is expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years as the nation's largest population, the baby boomers, advance into old age and require more attention from skilled nurses. In fact, more jobs are expected to be created in nursing than in any other industry.

There are several areas of nursing. The paraprofessional jobs of certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) may be obtained with less schooling than other nursing positions. Some people use CNA or LPN/LVN jobs as a testing point to decide if nursing is the right career for them.

The next level of certification and licensing is the registered nurse (RN). A 2-3 year associate's degree or 4 year bachelor's degree program is usually required, and all RNs must take the NCLEX-RN state licensing exam in order to practice. Those who choose a 4-year program will find it easier to move up the career ladder once they begin working, in large part because bachelor's degree holders are the only nurse practitioners preferred to practice in all health care settings (critical care, ambulatory care, public health, and mental health), giving them more employment flexibility and marketability.

RNs may also choose to enter a specialty. In particular demand right now are neonatal nursing; critical care; and operating room, emergency, and labor and delivery unit nursing. Registered nurses can take on even more responsibility (and command a higher salary) as advanced practice nurses (APNs), who are able to diagnose and offer treatment independent of a physician. Experienced RNs may also choose to become legal nurse consultants, working on research and testifying for court cases, or travel nurses, traveling all over the country or even the world offering health care and education services.

While more than 56% of employed RNs work in hospitals, the demand for all levels and types of nurse practitioners comes from a variety of employers, such as public health agencies, outpatient surgicenters, health maintenance organizations, schools, mental health agencies, and the military. The field of nursing is currently facing an extreme shortage, primarily due to the fact that a large percentage of the workforce is approaching retirement age and the number of new nurses entering the profession is not keeping up with demand. Because of these factors, nursing is a good field to enter, as there will be several jobs open.

However, the decision to go into nursing should not be based on the easy ability to find a job or a high salary. Nursing is extremely hard work with irregular and long hours and constant demands from clients and patients. Nonetheless, it is an extremely fulfilling and important career, as you are constantly contributing to the health and well-being of others.

Explore the nursing school options to the right to receive complimentary information from the programs of your choice, or search among specific nursing programs.

Health Counselors are a paraprofessional branch of naturopathic medicine requiring less training. Natural Health Counselors are trained in the foundations of alternative medicine, vital hygiene, nutrition & degenerative diseases. A Natural Health Counselor may work as an assistant or employee in a laboratory, health center or health food shop. They cannot claim to offer cures or be physicians, as they are not licensed to practice medicine.

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