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Nursing

Nursing is a large health care career with space for people with varying amounts of training. Licensed practical nurses, for example, need only around one year of training at a degree program from a vocational school or community college, completed online or on-campus. Licensed practical nurses' duties include feeding and bathing patients, recording patients' vital signs, applying dressings, and giving injections. The best employment opportunities for license practical nurses should be in areas outside traditional hospitals, such as home health care services. Registered nurses need more schooling, but they also have more job responsibilities and higher salaries than licensed practical nurses. Registered nurses generally have completed bachelor's degree programs or associate's degree programs. The nursing path you choose will depend on how much time you would like to spend training and on your goals for your career.

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Registered nurse jobs constitute the largest number of health care workers in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the second largest area of job growth in the country in the coming years will be in the nursing profession. While MDs enjoy most of the glamour (and money), professional nurses are the ones that really make deal with the everyday nuts and bolts of health care - and already, employers in some areas are reporting a shortage of qualified people to fill registered nurse jobs.

As a registered or licensed practical nurse, you will be performing a wide range of tasks that includes treating patients, offering advice and providing patient education, record patient histories, assist physicians in diagnoses, operate and maintain equipment, administer medication and even provide grief counseling. Those who enjoy the challenge of variety in a career should consider attending one of the nation's fine nursing schools.

To become a registered nurse, federal regulation requires that the candidate graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass a national exam before being licensed as a registered nurse. Continuing education through the career is also required.

There are three ways to pursue a registered nurse education. The fastest way is to earn an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, which can be completed in as little as two years. The diploma program is administered by hospitals, and generally takes three years. The Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, or BSN, is a full, four-year program. Theses are also available as online nursing degrees.

Online nursing schools are ideal for those who cannot find time and opportunity to train at a traditional facility. Online college courses for nursing are fully accredited and offered through most established, accredited universities and colleges. Because of the growing need for nurses with advanced training, accelerated BSN programs have become increasingly common, both at brick and mortar institutions and as online nursing programs.

Online nursing courses also provide an excellent opportunity for registered nurses looking to advance their careers. Many candidates complete online nursing degrees at the RN level, find employment as staff nurses and then are able to take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits offered by many hospitals that allow them to work toward a BSN or MSN degree.

Registered nurse education is rewarding in more ways than one. Not only does the nursing profession offer variety and the chance to provide aid and comfort to the ill and injured; registered nurse jobs are some of the highest paid positions in health care. Currently, median salaries for registered nurses are in the range of $53,000 per year. These salaries start out around $36,000 and go as high as $75,000 per year, depending on experience and level of education.

With the "graying" of America, the need for qualified people to fill registered nurse jobs will become increasingly urgent. Meanwhile, online nursing schools make the educational requirements more accessible than ever.