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Career Opportunities in Nursing

The field of nursing has become highly specialized over the last decade. Often you will hear nurses being referred to as “oncology nurse,” or “pediatric nurse.” The new field of nurse practictioner has opened up new challenges for those interested in this health care field.

Often nurses choose to teach in nursing colleges, a position that also requires advanced education. There are also many alternative opportunities for nurses, including industrial clinics, forensics, legal consultants, medical and pharmaceutical writers, infection control, and midwifery.

The demand for qualified nurses has been strong -- if not intense -- over the course of the past fifteen years. And, as will be discussed shortly within this article, the demand for qualified and well trained nurses is expected to increase within the coming decade. This really is a profession that is on the rise.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements vary greatly based on the level of patient care and responsibility each nursing field requires. While the nurse practictioner will need to have advanced degrees, the practical nurse and nursing assistant will need approximately nine months to two years of education.

Often those with training in nursing go on to bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing. Others often choose to return to school for training in diagnostic and laboratory work, such as medical diagnostic sonography (ultrasound). Those who choose to become advanced practice nurses will enjoy more independence but also much more responsibility-in some states they are permitted to act as primary health care providers and can even prescribe medication (www.bls.gov).

When education is completed, nurses must pass a state-administered examination that will substantiate and quantify their training and experience. After they have passed state board exams, they may work in their chosen subfield. Continuing education is usually required for continuing license renewal.


Salary and Benefits

Salaries and benefit packages are expected to grow, and will vary widely according to level of training, specialty, and experience. There are also wage differences according to level of patient care and responsibility, and nurses are sometimes self-employed as nurse practictioners. Often employers are failing to find and retain enough nurses to keep their ranks filled, and may offer higher salaries and better benefits to nurses with good reputations.

To help you choose a career in nursing and medicine-or to see more detailed data on a field you are in now-search the Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (www.bls.gov).

The Future of the Nursing Profession

Nurses are in great demand today. And, most health care experts believe that the demand for qualified nurses will only increase within the next decade. Simply, there will be more available positions than trained nurses.

With this in mind, if you are interested in the profession of nursing, the future looks very bright for you. You should be able to write your own ticket when it comes to finding a position in the field of nursing today and well into the future.

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