What Does a Nurse Do?

What Does a Nurse Do?
Before you find out what education and training for nurses is required, let me tell you what are the job responsibilities of a nurse. The answer is that they are numerous that one could almost say, what doesn’t a nurse do?  The nursing field has so many sub-sectors that you can literally create the job you want to do.

–        If you like sociological trends and watching population interaction, then public health nursing would be your field.

–        If you are interested in treating the patient from cradle to grave, maybe the field of nursing that would suit you best is the Nurse Practitioner.

–        If you like hospitals and organization and a regimented work schedule, hospital nursing could be your field.

–        If the precious wee ones are what tug at your heartstrings, you could specialize in neo-natal intensive care nursing.

–        If you like the medical field but don’t like hospital settings, the industrial nursing positions may be more your forte.

Education and Training Requirements for Nurses

Each field of nursing has separate requirements, but all nursing fields begin with the nursing degree.

A Home Health Aide is a nursing assistant; the education and training requirements are a 4 week course and 75 classroom hours, plus a certification in CPR.

A licensed or practical nurse (LPN), sometimes called a vocational nurse, attends a 12 month course of study with classroom lectures and on-the-job training, plus a certification in CPR.

A registered nurse (RN) can attend a diploma school or a college or university.  The diploma school will issue a diploma of nursing and is still considered a registered nurse.  The school will last 3 years and will include classroom instruction and on-the-job training at the affiliated hospital.

The associate’s degree in nursing is offered by colleges and trade schools.  This degree is an associate’s degree in applied nursing, an associate degree of nursing, or an associate’s degree in nursing, and qualifies to be hired as a registered nurse.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four year degree at a university or college.  It will have course requirements equal to 125 or more undergraduate hours, depending on the school.  In addition to the college hours, there will be 2 years of on-the-job training at area hospitals, with areas of rotation for the nursing student.

The Master of Science in Nursing offers many specialties for this degree.  It takes two to three years to complete but also empowers the nurse to write prescriptions in their specialized area.

The doctoral level degrees in Nursing are the Doctor of Nursing Practice or the Doctor of Philosophy.  The DNP is focused on the treatment of patients at the advanced level; the PhD requires academic research and publication.

Overall, the nursing degree can take as little as two years to begin practicing or as many as eight to twelve years to have the terminal degree.  The Nursing PhD requires a four year bachelor degree, four years of experience in a clinical setting, then four years graduate work.

All of the above listed nursing degrees require the completion of the degree and the passing of the state board examinations.  All nurses are required to complete Continuing Education Units every four years.

Nurse Salaries

A beginning salary for a nurse aide is $25,000 per year, with unlimited overtime available.

The licensed practical nurse or the vocational nurse will begin at $34,000 and increase.  The national median salary currently is $41,374.  This job also offers unlimited overtime.

The registered nurse with a B.S. in Nursing will begin earning $48,000 straight out of school.  With one year of experience, the salary increases to $57,000.  After each five years of service the salary increases $5,000 to $10,000.

The Master of Science in Nursing graduate begins their career with $68,000-$80,000.  This is for the nurse practitioner or the specialty nursing.

Administrative nursing positions with a Master of Science in Nursing start salaries at $150,000 to $200,000 for Nursing Heads, Nursing Directors $105,000 to $133,000 and long-term Nursing Managers or Supervisors $65,000 to $75,000.

Teachers of Nursing with a Master of Science in Nursing earn $70,000 to $100,000 depending on the university or hospital affiliation.

All nursing jobs come with extended benefits and insurances.  Most all programs offer a 401(k) plan with company participation of 2% or more.