Read these 22 Nursing Degrees Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Nursing Degree tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you already have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field but want a change of career, an accelerated RN degree may be a good option for you. Some schools offer accelerated BSN programs, which allow you to obtain your bachelor of science in nursing in 12 to 18 months.
The accelerated BSN program is not for everyone, however. You must already have a bachelor's degree in some field; if it is not a science field, you may be expected to complete science prerequisites before starting your nursing classes. Also, getting in to an accelerated RN program is very selective.
If you are accepted, accelerated BSN programs are very grueling. They can require 15 to 18 hour days, between coursework and clinical work, and many schools do not offer breaks between terms. Given the amount of time commitment to an accelerated BSN program, there is often no time to work while obtaining your degree, which can cause financial issues. If you have the money and the desire to devote to becoming a nurse, consider an accelerated BSN degree. They are offered in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Deciding you want to become a nurse is the first step in your nursing career; however, actually attaining your RN degree can be a challenge on its own. Here are some challenges to consider when deciding to obtain your RN degree:
• RN programs are selective. Because there is a shortage of nurses, many nurses who may have opted into the educational arena are staying in the field. For that reason, there are less teachers in RN programs, and RN programs are limited in the number of students they can take. This leads RN programs to be very selective
• RN programs cost money. No matter what kind of RN program you choose to pursue – ADN, RN, or MSN, you will be faced with tuition payments, which could be a problem if you are switching careers. Remember, though, that financial aid is available to qualified students
• RN programs are time-intensive. Because RN programs require both classroom learning and clinical learning, there is no “shortcut” to getting your RN degree. While accelerated programs exist, they are usually all-consuming for the 12 to 18 months they take to complete
If you already have a BSN degree but are ready to take your career and education to the next level, South University Online's MSN degree may be just what you're looking for.
The MSN degree at South University Online will give you the knowledge and skills you need to advance into hospital administration, nursing education, or another specialty field. You will learn about nursing management, nursing education, and other focused trends in the health care industry.
If you are a nurse and have already earned a BSN or MSN but want to further your education, you may want to consider a doctorate in nursing. The practice doctorate in nursing is a relatively new degree to be offered. A practice doctorate in nursing will usually prepare nurses in two different roles: direct healthcare and health systems/clinical leadership.
However, all programs usually require various research, health policy, and business courses in addition to the focused courses, allowing overlap between the roles. Depending on what kind of doctorate degree you choose to pursue, you may only need to have completed your bachelor's degree, or you may need to have an MSN before enrolling. Nurses who gain their doctorate degree in nursing are licensed independent practitioners, much like doctors of pharmacy or doctors of clinical psychology.
There are many reasons why you should consider becoming a nurse. Here are some of those reasons:
• The current nursing shortage. Because many nurses are approaching retirement age, and because of a general shortage of nurses, there are too few nurses to go around. Because of the shortage, salaries and benefits are going up to attract nurses to the field
• Job security and benefits. Because of the nursing shortage, there is always a need for nurses in just about any place you could want to locate. Also, the care giving aspect of nursing makes it a rewarding profession
• Flexible schedules. As a result of the nursing shortage, many medical facilities are giving opportunities for part-time or nontraditional work schedules for nurses. This makes nursing a good career option if you have children
• It's not just for women anymore. There are more men becoming nurses now than ever before, and what was once a traditionally “female” profession has expanded
A MSN degree, or Master of Science in nursing, is designed for nurses who have completed a bachelor's degree and want to continue their education. If you want to get into hospital administration, nursing education, or another specialty field, an MSN is for you.
Many schools that offer MSN degrees offer degree concentrations, catering the degree to the students. For example, a focused course of study may be offered in hospital administration, nurse practitioner in health care delivery systems, or nursing education.
The time for students to earn their MSN degrees can vary, but usually takes around two years. Programs that offer MSN degrees understand that most students are working at the same time they are studying, and offer night classes to make the program more convenient. There are also MSN online degrees that can be earned online, through the web.
There are several different degree tracks that will help you achieve your goal to be an RN. But how do you decide which one is right for you? The following questions may help you make that decision:
• How much time do you have to earn your degree? If you have four or so years to devote to gaining an RN degree, a bachelor of science in nursing may be the right degree for you. If you have less time, an associate degree nurse (ADN) may be a better choice
• When do you need to start earning money? If you need to change jobs right away and begin to exercise earning power, an ADN degree or a licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse certification may be a better choice for you, because you can earn them quicker
• What kind of schooling do you already have? Do you already have an associate's degree in nursing? If so, an RN to BSN degree is a good option. If you already have a BSN and are looking to further your education, consider a master of science in nursing degree
If you are interested in becoming a nurse but don't have time to devote to a two-year or four-year RN degree, becoming an LVN/LPN may be a good option.
An LVN, licensed vocational nurse, or LPN, licensed practical nurse, are essentially the same thing, depending on what state you are in. To become an LPN/LVN, you must pass a nursing test called the NCLEX-PN; to qualify to sit for the test, you must complete an LPN/LVN training program. Most LVN/LPN training programs are available at hospitals, vocational schools, or community colleges, and take about a year.
When you earn your license, you are qualified to work at a hospital or other medical facility; however, you will always be required to be under the guidance of a RN. If you decide to become an LPN/LVN and later want to earn your RN certification, many schools offer LPN-to-RN programs or LPN-to-BSN programs, giving you credit for some of the work you have already completed.
If you want to become a nurse, but don't want to spend four years getting your BSN degree, an ADN degree may be a good option for you. ADN (associate degree nurse) is essentially an associate's degree in nursing. It will allow you to become a certified RN in about two years, half the time of a traditional RN degree. You can earn your ADN at a vocational school or a junior college.
The good aspect of an ADN degree is that class times are usually more flexible than for a full RN degree, since most vocational schools or junior colleges cater to adult learners. You can also opt to go back and get your RN to BSN degree later on, if you decide you want to earn your bachelor of science in nursing. Most medical facilities will require a BSN if you are interested in career advancement, so look at an ADN as a stepping stone in your career.
If you are already an RN but want to earn your BSN or MSN in the shortest amount of time possible, South University Online's RN to BSN completion program or MSN program may be a good fit for you.
In both the RN to BSN and MSN programs, South University Online offers accelerated, 5 ½ week course that allow you to speed up the time it takes for you to complete your classroom learning. All the courses are delivered via the web, and you can work at your own schedule at your own pace to complete the coursework.
One advantage that South University Online's accelerated courses have over other accelerated nursing programs is the flexibility to allow you to keep working while you go to school. Many accelerated programs are so demanding that it is impossible to keep your job;
If you are an RN, you may want to think about advancing your education with either an RN to BSN completion degree or an MSN degree. At South University Online, you can earn either one of these degrees completely online, allowing you to keep your current job and your current earning power.
Follow these guidelines to decide which degree is right for you:
· What kind of schooling do you already have? Do you already have an associate's degree in nursing? If so,
· Do you need to keep making money while you go to school? If so,
If you are an RN but are thinking of furthering your education at South University Online, through either their RN to BSN completion program or their MSN program, here is some information on how the degrees will help with your career once you are finished.
BSN – if you are an associate's degree RN and attend South University Online's RN to BSN completion program, you will become a BSN RN and have more flexibility in your career. Many hospitals prefer their RNs to have a BSN, and will look to those RNs when filling new jobs or promoting from within.
MSN – if you complete your Master of Science in nursing degree at South University Online, you have taken the next step in your education that will allow you to move into hospital administration, nursing administration, or nursing education. If you want to take your career into a management or education type role, a MSN from South University Online will help you get there.
If you want to attend the MSN program at South University Online, you must meet the following academic requirements:
If you have questions, you can request an admissions packet from South University Online's department of admissions.
If you are already a registered nurse, you can further your education and career by earning your RN to BSN degree at South University Online.
The RN to BSN completion program at
If you are interested in career advancement, most medical facilities require their RNs to hold a bachelor's degree. If you want to advance your career but do not yet have a BSN, consider
Even though you already are an RN, there are various benefits to taking your career to the next level with either an RN to BSN completion program or a MSN program from South University Online. Here are some of the benefits you'll enjoy when you further your RN degree:
If you have decided you want to continue your education with either a BSN or MSN degree,
South University Online's degrees are designed for busy professional nurses who want to continue working while going to school. They allow you schedule work and classes around your schedule, and you can work at your own pace and on your own timeframe.
If you cannot devote the time to earning a traditional, on-campus degree, one of
If you are considering becoming a nurse, there are several different courses of study you can select from. One of the deciding factors for most people, however, is what kind of job you will come out with when you finish your degree. Use this guide to help you figure out what kind of degree is right for you.
LVN/LPN – if you choose to become a licensed practical nurse, you are not an RN but work under the supervision of an RN or physician. You can get a job in a hospital or other medical facility as an LVN/LPN
ADN – An associate degree nurse becomes an RN, and can work wherever an RN can work – in a hospital, doctor's office, or other medical facility. However, an ADN can expect to be passed over for career advancement by RNs who have completed their bachelor's degree
BSN – a bachelor of science in nursing is often considered the minimum requirement to become an RN. If you earn a BSN and pass your license, you are a full-fledged RN and can be expected to advance in your career, if that is your wish
MSN – a Master of Science in Nursing degree will allow you to move into hospital or nursing administration, or nursing education. It is a worthwhile degree for those who wish to advance up the nursing career ladder
A degree option for already-registered nurses is to get your RN to BSN degree. RN to BSN degrees are designed for nurses who have an associate's degree or who have completed a nursing diploma program and earned their RN license, but do not yet have their BSN degree. Many schools take into consideration the courses you have already completed in your previous schooling and may give you credit for that already-completed work. Some schools also give credit for previous work experience. For any RN who is interested in career advancement, most medical facilities require a bachelor's degree. If you want to advance your career but do not yet have a BSN, consider one of the many available RN to BSN programs.
If you have decided to go back to school at South University Online to pursue either your BSN or MSN degree, you may face a few challenges along the way. Here are some areas to look out for:
At South University Online, the RN to BSN completion program is designed for working nurses who hold an associate's degree in nursing or a nursing diploma. Here are the types of topics you will study while earning your RN to BSN degree at South University Online:
If you choose to earn your RN to BSN degree at South University Online, you will be learning about the newest trends in health care, expanding your nursing skills, and keeping up-to-date on issues in the nursing field. You will be able to expand and advance your career with the new knowledge you gain from
In South University Online's MSN program, you will learn about the following topics:
You will expand your knowledge by taking your education to the next level with a wide array of courses. South University Online's MSN program is especially useful for nurses who want to move into the nursing education field.
If you have decided you want to pursue your RN degree, you have a few options. You can study in a traditional, on-campus RN program, or you can choose to pursue an RN online degree. RN online degrees are designed for students who have less flexible schedules due to work and family obligations.
By allowing you to pick your classes and work at your own pace, you are more likely to be able to devote time and energy to your RN degree. Many colleges that offer RN online degrees have residency requirements, asking that you come to campus once a semester or once a year to meet face-to-face with professors and other students.
All RN online degrees require clinical experience, which you must earn in person, either at the school you are studying or at a medical facility near to your home. If you cannot devote the time to earning a traditional, on-campus degree, an RN online degree may be a good option for you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|