With almost 2.6M registered nurses (RN) in the United States, nursing is now the largest health care profession in the country. If you think that hospitals are the only place a nurse could be found, you are certainly misled. Public health agencies, communities, ambulatory care centers and other places where health care services are rendered also commonly have nurses employed.
1. The Nursing Practice
Nursing covers a wide area of practice. It includes
- Elderly care
- Services for pregnant women
- Services for newborn infants
- Specialty area - injury nursing
- Specialty area - cancer nursing
- Specialty area - forensic nursing
2. Choose Your Nursing Program
The first step to be a nurse is to graduate from a nursing program. This would enable you to take a state licensure examination. In the US, more than 1500 nursing programs are offered. Three of these programs prepare you in assuming different tasks once you graduate.
A. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
This is a four-year curriculum offered in colleges and universities. A graduate of this course has the advantage of learning health care settings that includes leadership and management. A degree in BSN is preferred and often required in many fields of nursing.
B. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
This is a 2 to 3 year program offered in community college as well as in junior collages. This program prepares the student in handling direct patient care.
C. Hospital Diploma
This is a 2 to 3 year program that is based in hospitals.
3. Nursing Positions
Now that youíve covered the basics, letís take a closer look on some of the nursing positions you can occupy. These positions are based on your experience and education.
A. Entry-level nursing position
This is the Staff Nurse Position. The nurse takes on making judgments based on scientific knowledge. You have to rely on procedures and standardized care plans.
B. Certified Mid-wife
This is a specialty nurse position where the nurse aids childbearing women. It starts during the preconception stage and goes through the prenatal, labor and delivery. Postpartum period care is also included in her duties. The nurse also provides family planning counseling as well as gynecological care for women.
C. Case Manager
Over time, a nurse can become a nurse case manager. In this position, the nurse will be involved in the process of organizing as well as coordinating the resources and services of an entire group of nurses, such as an entire hospital.
D. Nurse Educator
This is also a position a nurse could get involved with. Educating people about proper health care needs and procedures would be the basic tasks for this position. A Nurse Practitioner on the other hand conducts physical exams on patients, conducts diagnoses and provides treatments. A nurse practitioner could also write prescriptions and could also manage patients with chronic conditions such as diabetics and those with hypertension.
E. Nurse Anesthetist
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist assists during operations. They give anesthesia to the patients before and after the operation.
There are also various specialty nursing programs that would help you specialize in a specific area. Radiology Nursing, Rehabilitation Nursing, AIDS Care Nursing, and Forensic Nursing are few of these specialty areas. Radiology Nurses are concerned with patients that undergo diagnosis in radiology imaging environments. It also includes Ultrasonography, magnetic resonance and radiation oncology. Rehabilitation Nurses or Psychiatric Nurses takes on providing physical and emotional support both to the patient and their families. They deal with patients having mental incapacities. An AIDS Care Nurse manages the physical, psychological, spiritual and social needs of a patient suffering with AIDS. A Forensic Nurse works in a different environment with other nurses. They work with the law enforcement officials to help in the investigation of crimes like sexual assault and accidental death. They also help in the treatment of the victims of these crimes.
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