Nurses perform numerous tasks, from providing fundamental healthcare to assisting surgeons with advanced and critical procedures. Those interested in becoming a nurse, can pursue several degree programs and courses for nursing based on their career goals and level of care they hope to provide. There are three main categories of nurses. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) provide basic care while supervised by registered nurses and doctors. Registered nurses (RNs) care for patients, provide support to patients’ families, and assist doctors in medical procedures. Additional education can lead to further specialization as an advanced practice registered nurse.
Educational programs in this field are typically found in nursing schools at both public and private colleges, technical schools, and universities. Some hospitals and high schools offer them as well. In addition to liberal arts courses, nursing programs require students to take prerequisite courses related to the field such as biology, physiology, chemistry, and anatomy. All nursing programs contain a supervised clinical component, and graduates of these programs must pass a licensing exam in order to begin work.
Associate of Arts in Nursing
Two-year Associate of Arts in Nursing (AAN) degree programs provide general registered nurse education and training through courses on anatomy and physiology, mental health, pharmacology, and nutrition. Students may also undergo practical laboratory and clinical instruction, receiving hands-on experience with patient care and other related health care tasks.
Associate of Science in Nursing
Associate’s degree programs for registered nurses typically take 2-3 years to complete. Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree programs are offered by community colleges and nursing schools. These programs, which can be administered in coordination with hospitals, provide training in nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, and microbiology. ASN Programs may be a good fit for those who want a hands-on career and are not interested in pursuing administrative, research, or teaching positions.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Those interested in greater career flexibility and additional clinical experience can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These 4-year programs prepare prospective RNs for nursing jobs as well as managerial, clinical, research, and teaching positions. BSN programs may include courses in adult health care, health assessment ,and community health. Most BSN programs require students to acquire experience in clinical settings.
Master of Science in Nursing
A Master of Science in Nursing program prepares nurses to become nurse administrators, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse educators, and family nurse practitioners. Most master’s degree programs in nursing emphasize advanced nursing practices, management skills, and areas of specialty such as women’s health, critical care, or public health.
The education needed to become a nurse is highly dependent upon what type of nurse you want to become and can range from associate’s to master’s degrees.