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Nursing DegreeGet Your Degree in Nursing Online

There has never been a better time to get a nursing degree, with increased learning and financial aid opportunities for adults interested in nursing as a first or second career.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows demand for health care professionals is projected to increase 36 percent by the year 2010, with the highest demand for nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses. Nursing is also the largest health care occupation, with over 2 million openings: by the year 2008, 450,000 more registered nurses and 136,000 more licensed practical nurses will be needed. Statistics show that at least two-thirds of the basic nurse force will hold bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing by 2010.

Individuals considering nursing as a career should consider enrolling in a B.S.N. (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program because advancement opportunities usually are broader and some career paths are open only to nurses with bachelor's or advanced degrees. A bachelor's degree is often required for administrative positions, and is a prerequisite for admission to graduate nursing programs in research, consulting, teaching, or a clinical specialization. The National League for Nursing recommends that a bachelor's degree be the entry-level degree for nurses, and holds that for today’s professional nurse, a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing is essential.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing is prepared to practice in all health care settings - ambulatory care, critical care, mental health, and public health - and has the greatest employment flexibility. With more than four times as many RNs in the United States as physicians, nursing delivers a wide range of health care services, including primary and preventive care in clinical areas such as family health, gerontological care, pediatrics, and women's health. Practice areas also include care in cardiac, neonatal, neurological, obstetric/gynecological nursing, and oncology. Due to rapid changes in the health care industry, career opportunites in nursing and healthcare management range from direct patient care to clinical research.

Types of employers include clinics, nursing homes, health care facilities, hospitals, laboratories, HMO's, corporations, educational settings, and public health agencies. Opportunities are also available through government agenices such as the Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports earnings for nurses are higher than average, especially for nurses with a undergraduate or graduate degree. In the year 2000, median annual earnings for registered nurses were $44,840 (50 percent earned between $37,870 and $54,000, and 10 percent earned over $64,360).

Many sources of financial aid are available to help finance the cost of a nursing degree. For example, the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance lists several sources for nursing and healthcare training. And scholarships up to $10,000 per year are available through the National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI) for selected programs.

NextOnline degrees in Health and Medicine.

Barrron's Nursing School Entrance Exams.
Reference provides prospective students with a general orientation and solid preparation for entrance exams.

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