Healthcare continues to evolve due to changes to government regulations and emerging medical technologies. Within this robust field, nurses are in particularly high demand due to their diverse skill sets, which help them provide quality patient care and improve public health.
This guide can help you plan a career in nursing. It provides information about the competencies, degrees, and licenses you need to find success in the field.
Why Pursue a Career in Nursing?
Nursing careers come with competitive salaries, flexible schedules, and several specialized fields to suit each nurse's personal interests and professional objectives.
Beyond these practical benefits, careers in nursing receive high levels of respect among the general U.S. population. A 2018 Gallup Poll showed that most Americans view nurses as the most honest and ethical among all professionals.
To succeed in this field, you must develop the compassion and patience to help all types of people in fraught situations. Communication is also a crucial skill for nurses, who must cultivate positive relationships with patients and their loved ones.
Nursing Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that healthcare occupations will grow by 14% between 2018 and 2028. Registered nurses (RNs) are projected to see 12% employment growth, and these professionals earn an average annual salary of $73,550. Nurse practitioner positions are projected to increase by 26%; these workers earn an average annual salary of $107,480.
The dearth of nurses in nearly every state means that demand for these healthcare professionals continues to grow. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the shortage of qualified nurses will surpass 80,000 by the end of 2020.
Skills Gained With a Nursing Degree
The following section details five core skills professionals need in order to build successful nursing careers. Nurses develop some of these competencies, like critical thinking and technical communication, through their academic training. Other qualities, such as compassion, are typically innate, but may be enhanced as nursing students complete residencies and other practical experiences.
- Critical Thinking
Critical thinking skills help nurses analyze information and make decisions based on that information. Strong critical thinking abilities can save lives as nurses assess the health status of their patients, monitor patients for changes in their conditions, and determine what care to provide.
- Organizational Abilities
To provide exceptional care, nurses must possess strong organizational skills. Nurses coordinate with physicians and other care providers in medical settings. In addition, nurses often care for multiple patients each day.
Nurses care for patients with acute medical conditions, chronic pain, and mental disorders. They also provide end-of-life care. When interacting with vulnerable patients, nurses must be caring and empathetic to provide optimal care.
- Communication Skills
Nurses must communicate with patients to understand their health conditions and provide education related to treatment. They must also communicate patient concerns to physicians and carry out doctors' instructions.
- Attention to Detail
Nurses must ensure that patients receive the correct treatments and take medicines at the appropriate times. Nurses often provide care for multiple patients every day, requiring a detail-oriented personality to meet patient needs. This skill is especially important for nurses working at the managerial level.
How to Become a Nurse
Earning a nursing degree is the first step to becoming a nurse. Registered nurses must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, or a nursing diploma. During undergraduate nursing programs, students gain foundational knowledge and practical experience.
Nurses who pursue a master's degree in nursing expand their clinical assessment and management skills. An MSN also trains nurses in a specialty, preparing learners for roles like nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist. Nurses can also specialize their training by earning a nursing graduate certificate.
At the doctoral level, nurses strengthen their clinical and research skills, preparing for academic, managerial, and research positions.
Nurses must complete supervised clinical experiences as part of their training. During a clinical internship, nursing students provide patient care, complete rotations in different hospital departments, and apply classroom training under the supervision of a preceptor.
During their clinical experiences, nurses may complete rotations in pediatrics, surgery, the emergency room, and other hospital departments. Nursing programs incorporate supervised experience that meets their state's RN licensure requirements.
However, because clinical experience requirements vary by state, prospective nurses should look into the minimum number of clinical hours needed for licensure where they live.
Practicing nurses in every state must hold a nursing license. To become a registered nurse, individuals must attend an approved nursing program and earn an associate degree, a nursing diploma, or a bachelor's degree.
Nurses must then pass the NCLEX-RN examination and complete clinical training requirements. After meeting these requirements, nurses can apply for a state nursing license. Because each state sets its own licensure requirements, prospective nurses should research the licensure process in their state.
Advanced practice nurses must obtain a specialized license. Nurse practitioners, for example, must pass a national certification exam and apply to their state's board of nursing for a license. As with the RNs, advanced practice nurses must hold a degree from an approved nursing program and apply for a state license.
Professional associations offer nursing certifications in specialized fields, such as gerontology, pediatrics, and emergency nursing. Nurses who pursue specialized certification can demonstrate advanced training and experience within their specialty. These credentials can help nurses stand out in the job market.
Nursing Career Paths
Nursing students can prepare for a specific career by pursuing a concentration. For example, BSN students can specialize their degree by completing a concentration in emergency nursing, gerontology, or oncology, while MSN students can pursue nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist specialties.
The list below describes four common concentrations, all of which can lead to specialized nursing careers.
- Emergency Nursing
An emergency nursing concentration prepares students for nursing careers in emergency care. Learners study triage procedures, trauma treatments, and acute conditions. Future nurses also learn about infectious diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries.
- Nurse Anesthetist
A nurse anesthetist concentration trains nursing students to give patients anesthesia. Students learn how to monitor vital signs, administer anesthesia, and oversee patient recovery. This concentration prepares graduates for one of the most lucrative nursing roles.
During this concentration, nursing students learn how to care for children from birth through adolescence. Coursework emphasizes common conditions and medical treatments for children — including immunization — and trains nurses in best practices for young patient care. Within the concentration, nursing students may further specialize in an area such as neonatal care, oncology, or cardiology.
Nurses who pursue a gerontology concentration learn how to work with older patients, including how to treat chronic and acute conditions. The concentration covers common conditions and medical treatments for aging patients. Nurses may also study hospice treatment and end-of-life care.
How to Start Your Career in Nursing
A nursing degree prepares graduates for diverse roles. With a bachelor's degree, for example, nurses can work in pediatrics, oncology, and cardiology, among other fields. A BSN meets the qualifications for most entry-level nursing positions.
Nurses can also pursue graduate degrees to expand their career opportunities. A master's in nursing prepares graduates for leadership roles like nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse midwife. In these areas, nurses typically have more responsibilities and higher salaries. With a doctorate in nursing, nurses qualify for many top positions in the field, including nursing professors.
Nursing careers offer lucrative salaries at all degree levels. With a BSN, nurses earn an average salary of more than $80,000, which increases to above $90,000 for individuals with a master's degree. A worker's level of education usually scales with their earning potential, as demonstrated below.
Average Salary of Nursing Majors by Degree Level
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing
A bachelor's degree in nursing prepares graduates to become registered nurses. While nurses with an associate degree can become RNs, hospitals and healthcare facilities increasingly prefer candidates with a BSN for many positions, including ER nurse, pediatric nurse, and operating room nurse.
With experience, nurses with a BSN can move into management roles, such as RN supervisor. This degree leads to nursing careers in diverse specialties that offer high salaries.
Prospective nursing students can visit this degree page to learn more about BSN programs.
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Nursing?
- Registered Nurse
Registered nurses work in many healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. They provide patient care, coordinate with physicians and other nurses to treat patients, and educate the public. Nurses also provide advice, resources, and support for patients. RNs often specialize in a nursing field.
- Emergency Nurse
Emergency nurses typically work in ERs, although they may also work in ambulances or medical evacuation helicopters. ER nurses perform triage on patients to provide timely medical treatment. They also interview patients and provide information to physicians and other medical professionals. They may work independently or as part of a team.
- Operating Room Nurse
Operating room nurses care for patients before, during, and after surgery. They help maintain a sterile environment in the operating room, assist surgeons during procedures, and monitor a patient's condition during surgery. Operating room nurses typically work in hospitals and medical facilities, often on a schedule outside of typical business hours.
- RN Supervisor
RN supervisors oversee a team of nurses, ensuring they provide high-quality patient care. They schedule shifts, provide patient care, and develop procedures aligned with internal policies and external regulations. RN supervisors work in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Most supervisors have a bachelor's degree and several years of experience.
- Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric nurses care for children from birth through adolescence. They work in hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices. Some pediatric nurses specialize in a field like cardiology, neonatology, or trauma. Pediatric nurses take vital signs, interview patients and their parents, and assess patient needs.
Sources: BLS and PayScale
Master's Degree in Nursing
A master's degree in nursing can lead to nursing management and advanced practice nursing roles. Specialized MSN programs prepare nurses to work as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners is $109,820.
Nurses who earn an MSN can also move into educational or leadership roles, such as nurse educator and nursing manager. During a master's program, nursing students gain advanced clinical skills and specialize their training. Prospective graduate students can read this guide to learn more about MSN programs.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Nursing?
- Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners can act as primary care providers, assessing patients and determining treatment plans. They may specialize in areas like family health, pediatric health, and mental health. In some states, nurse practitioners operate independently without the supervision of a physician. These nurses can diagnose patients, prescribe medication, and monitor treatment plans.
- Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients and care for them before, during, and after a procedure requiring anesthesia. They offer pain management services, educate patients on the effects of anesthesia, and monitor patients who are under and recovering from anesthesia.
- Nurse Midwife
Nurse midwives provide medical care for women, including gynecological exams, prenatal care, and family planning services. They also offer labor and delivery care, treating emergency situations during labor. Additionally, nurse midwives provide wellness care, promote disease prevention, and treat women's sexual and reproductive health issues.
- Nurse Educator
Nurse educators work in hospitals and medical facilities, training the nursing staff and overseeing continuing education services. They evaluate nursing staff and caregivers, set training policies, and identify educational resources for their organization. Nurse educators also work with hospital administrators and senior medical staff to establish educational programs and train employees.
- Nursing Manager
Nursing managers supervise a team of workers, ensuring that nurses at a hospital or medical clinic provide exceptional patient care. They also monitor compliance guidelines and standards, making sure that nurses comply with regulatory requirements. Nursing managers often play a role in hiring and evaluating nursing staff.
Sources: BLS and PayScale
Doctoral Degree in Nursing
Nurses can earn a doctor of nursing practice or a Ph.D. in nursing. These terminal degrees prepare nurses for some of the highest-level positions in the field.
A doctorate can lead to management roles, such as director of nursing or chief nursing officer. Many roles, including academic positions, prefer candidates with a doctorate.
A doctorate can also lead to research-heavy roles at teaching hospitals and other institutions. Doctoral programs may provide specialized options, such as a doctorate for nurse practitioners or nurse administrators.
What Can You Do With a Doctorate in Nursing?
- Nursing Professor
Nursing professors teach at colleges and universities, training nurses at the associate, bachelor's, and graduate levels. They teach classes, measure student learning through examinations and clinical performances, and mentor students. Nursing professors may also work at university hospitals and conduct research.
- Director of Nursing
Directors of nursing act as managers for a nursing unit or department. They supervise and evaluate members of the nursing staff, establish operating and compliance procedures, and ensure a high level of patient care. These professionals typically have a background in nursing management or administration.
- Chief Nursing Officer
Chief nursing officers direct nursing activities for a hospital or healthcare organization. They manage staff levels, oversee budgets, and set safety policies to promote quality patient care. Chief nursing officers typically hold at least a master's degree in nurse administration, although a doctorate can help candidates stand out in the job market.
Sources: BLS and PayScale
How to Advance Your Career in Nursing
After you have received the required education and obtained RN licensure from your state board of nursing, it is time to gain experience. Healthcare employers value professionals who can adjust to the rapid changes in the industry, so try to work in many different nursing units.
By exposing yourself to different care areas, you strengthen your resume and discover what subfields you like and dislike.
The following sections provide advancement tips for nursing careers. You can learn about gaining specialized certifications, pursuing free continuing education opportunities, and growing your professional circle through networking events.
Certifications and/or Licensure
Government and industry authorities closely regulate nursing careers, providing clear guidelines for advancement. You can learn about these guidelines through your state board or your employer. First and foremost, you must have an RN license to practice. Before you can apply for an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license from your state, you typically need to obtain specialized certification.
The APRN designation is an umbrella term for nurses who have obtained a graduate degree and advanced certification/license. These professionals include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Each of these occupations comes with its own specializations.
For example, nurse practitioners must specialize in a patient population, with options like adult-gerontology acute care, pediatric primary care, and psychiatric-mental health. They can also subspecialize in areas like oncology, dermatology, palliative care, and orthopedics. Certification is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
ANCC also provides certification programs for specialists. Midwives obtain these credentials through the American Midwifery Certification Board. Additionally, anesthetists become certified through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
You must earn a master's or doctoral degree to qualify for state licensure as an APRN. However, most graduate programs require applicants to have at least one full year of job experience and/or clinical practice. During this time, you can strengthen your skills in other ways, including taking free massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Academic certificate programs also give working RNs flexible options for continuing their education. Colleges and universities offer online certificate tracks in areas like nursing administration, nursing informatics, and nursing forensics. Students can also pursue a nurse educator certificate, completing about 12 credits that they can later apply toward a graduate degree.
Although most nursing fellowships target master's and doctoral students, undergraduate opportunities also exist. For example, the Susan D. Flynn Oncology Nursing Fellowship Program accepts applications from rising seniors. Fellows engage in direct clinical experience at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, gaining exposure to the roles, practices, and policies of oncology nursing and medical/surgical oncology.
Engaging in continuing education is crucial to advancing a career in nursing, as nurses must complete a designated number of continuing education units (CEUs) each renewal period to maintain their license. Requirements differ by state and specific profession. RNs must generally earn 15-30 CEUs over the course of 2-3 years by completing relevant training, accruing work experience, and earning professional certification.
Career advancement also involves collaborating with colleagues and connecting with potential mentors and employers. You can network by volunteering in your community, as well as through social media platforms and industry websites (like Nursing Times). You can also meet people by attending national events, including the Black Nurses Rock Convention and the Nursing Education Research Conference.
How to Switch Your Career to Nursing
Thanks to stable employment and excellent pay, many professionals want to transition from their current jobs into careers in nursing. Individuals without a college degree may start by completing six weeks of training to become certified nursing assistants. Alternatively, they may enroll in traditional associate or bachelor's programs in nursing.
Professionals with a bachelor's degree in an unrelated discipline can complete an accelerated RN-to-BSN program in about two years. They can also begin a nursing career by earning a master of science within 12 months by taking continuous seven-week classes.
Where Can You Work as a Nursing Professional?
Nurses work in hospitals, healthcare organizations, and doctors' offices across the country, providing vital healthcare services to patients of all ages. The locations and industries that nurses work in can affect their job opportunities, salaries, and licensure processes.
The following section covers major industries for RNs and nurse practitioners. Each profile describes the general duties of and average salaries for nurses in these work settings.
However, keep in mind that salary potential and employment opportunities differ by geographic location and individual employer. Use this information as a starting point for your own research into potential nursing careers.
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
General medical and surgical hospitals employ high numbers of registered nurses. These professionals work in operating rooms, emergency rooms, pediatric units, and other departments. Hospital nurses typically work on shift schedules, often outside of business hours.
Average Salary: $75,820
- Home Healthcare Services
Home healthcare services provide home-based care, employing nurses who visit patients in their homes rather than at a hospital or doctor's office. Nurses may help in-home patients recover from injuries or illnesses or provide senior care.
Average Salary: $70,230
- Nursing Care Facilities
In a nursing care facility, nurses provide assistance for elderly patients or patients with disabilities. Nurses treat chronic conditions, provide long-term care, and help with rehabilitation.
Average Salary: $65,710
- Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
Nurses in this industry treat patients struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders. They may work on a shift schedule outside of business hours.
Average Salary: $71,290
- Physicians' Offices
Physicians' offices employ nurses to provide family care, pediatric care, and other specialties. These jobs typically offer schedules aligned with normal business hours.
Average Salary: $66,890
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
Nurse practitioners work in general medical and surgical hospitals, providing medical care. They may offer primary care, acute care, or surgical services.
Average Salary: $111,850
- Outpatient Care Centers
Nurse practitioners in outpatient care centers provide medical services that do not require an overnight stay or hospitalization.
Average Salary: $111,690
- Offices of Physicians
In many states, nurse practitioners can operate independently, acting as primary care providers. These nurse practitioners may run their own office or work in a facility with other nurse practitioners and physicians.
Average Salary: $105,730
- Offices of Other Health Practitioners
Nurse practitioners may work out of health practitioners' offices in specialties such as mental health. These nurses typically work normal business hours.
Average Salary: $106,670
- Specialty Hospitals (Excluding Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals)
Speciality hospitals treat patients with conditions that require a surgical procedure. Nurse practitioners provide treatment and care at specialty hospitals.
Average Salary: $111,100
Students thinking about careers with a nursing degree may want to consider what states offer the best employment opportunities.
California houses the largest number of nursing professionals — more than 300,000 individuals — due in large part to the size of its general population. This high demand also means that nurses in California boast the highest average salary in the field ($113,240).
Texas, Florida, and New York have the next largest nurse populations in the U.S.
How Do You Find a Job as a Nursing Graduate?
When hiring new workers, prospective employers often look for qualifications like educational experience, professional experience, and certifications. For example, earning a family nurse practitioner, certified pediatric nurse, or oncology certified nurse credential can help professionals stand out from their peers.
Nurses can gain additional professional experience through travel jobs, which they can find at NursingJobs.com. Job seekers can also find customizable job search advice by visiting Health eCareers and NurseRecruiter. These sites offer resources like resume tips and interview advice.
Interview With a Professional in Nursing
Anne Rowley graduated with a BS in nursing from Washington State University. She started her career by completing a nurse residency in a cardiovascular intensive care unit. After working for a year and a half, Anne obtained her critical care registered nurse certification from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. In 2019, she got a cardiac surgery certification and became chair of her hospital's unit-based council, which aims to improve patient outcomes and nursing practice.
- Why did you choose to pursue a career in nursing? Did this field always interest you?
Both of my grandparents were nurses, so I grew up knowing about nursing. During high school I was much more drawn to English and the arts. College is when I started to seriously consider my career options.
What drew me to nursing was the call to help people, opportunities for upward mobility and career flexibility, and options to further my education. At first I was unsure how I would like nursing, but I started to fall more in love with the art and science of nursing as I went through school.
- What would you say are some of the most crucial skills you gained in your nursing program? How do those skills apply directly to your day-to-day work?
The most crucial skill I gained in nursing school was to be an independent learner. Critical thinking comes with time and experience, but nursing school taught me how to be curious and ask questions, seek out the answers, and find the right resources.
By being an independent learner and continuing to pursue knowledge, I have more to contribute to the healthcare team and I am able to better advocate for my patients.
- Did you complete a clinical experience as part of your bachelor's program? If so, how did that inform your subsequent career choices?
I had many different clinical rotations in a variety of specialties while in nursing school. I am grateful I had the opportunity to experience so many different types of nursing, and it definitely helped me to identify my areas of interest.
I had rotations in labor and delivery, pediatrics, medical/surgical, and operating room, but the intensive care unit was the only area that sparked my excitement. I was drawn to the autonomy, critical thinking, and compassion that critical care nursing required, so much so that I joined a nurse residency program in a cardiovascular intensive care unit straight out of nursing school.
- Why did you decide to pursue your critical care registered nurse certification? Was this something that has helped advance your career?
After finishing my residency program and a year of work experience I knew I wanted to keep learning and growing, so I decided to obtain my certification in acute/critical care nursing.
Not only did I gain personal growth from studying for the exam, but I also obtained a certification that validates my knowledge and is a mark of excellence as a critical care nurse.
In the spirit of continuing education, I recently obtained my certification in adult cardiac surgery nursing since my patient population is mostly postoperative, open-heart surgery patients. Obtaining these specialty certifications has opened doors for leadership roles, professional growth, and graduate school.
- Overall, what are some of the greatest challenges you face in nursing?
Communication is the greatest challenge in this high-stakes and intense profession.
As a nurse, your greatest privilege and responsibility is to be a patient advocate first and foremost. There are so many different moving pieces in healthcare. It is the nurse's responsibility to be a voice for the patient, to coordinate care with the entire healthcare team, and to advocate for the highest quality of care.
- What advice would you give to students considering a career in nursing?
I would tell those interested in nursing that it will probably be the hardest and most challenging thing you have ever done, but it will be one of the most rewarding.
There are days when you cry on your way home because you are grieving for the family who just lost a loved one, but there are also days when someone gets a surgery that gives them a second chance at life.
I am continually amazed by the intricacies of the human body, the fortitude of the human spirit, and the resiliency and strength of nurses who seek to care for the most vulnerable.
Resources for Nursing Majors
This section provides resources that can help start and advance your career in nursing. Read on to learn about major professional organizations that offer academic scholarships, job guidance, research opportunities, and networking events. This section also includes lists of MOOCs and influential publications in the healthcare field.
- Professional Organizations
American Nurses Association: ANA represents more than 3 million registered nurses throughout the United States. The association focuses on representing nurses, promoting nurses' rights in the workplace, ensuring a positive and realistic impression of nursing, and fostering high standards of practice. ANA also lobbies Congress and regulatory agencies on issues affecting nurses.
National Student Nurses' Association: Since 1952, NSNA has mentored students who are preparing to become nurses by highlighting the skills, standards, and ethics needed to excel in the profession. The organization has members in all 50 states, as well as in Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Emergency Nurses Association: Founded in 1968 by nurses involved in emergency healthcare, ENA is an authority, advocate, lobbyist, and voice for emergency nurses around the world. The association's 50,000 members come from countries around the world.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners: The American College of Nurse Practitioners joined with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners to form AANP, which is the largest nurse practitioner professional membership organization in the world. It represents nurses from all specialties.
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists: AANA represents almost 47,000 nurse anesthetists who administer more than 34 million anesthetics each year. Nurse anesthetists are the primary providers of anesthesia care in the rural United States. They administer anesthesia for every type of surgery and procedure, as well as for pain management.
American College of Nurse-Midwives: This group represents certified nurse-midwives, as well as certified midwives, throughout the U.S. It also strengthens the capacity of midwives in developing countries. The organization works with a variety of other organizations, state and federal agencies, and Congress to improve the well-being of women and infants through the practice of midwifery.
Society of Pediatric Nurses: The mission of this society is to champion the specialty of pediatric nursing by supporting members in their practice. The society provides members with specialized continuing education, discounts on educational activities, a subscription to the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and networking opportunities with other pediatric healthcare professionals.
Oncology Nursing Society: Serving more than 35,000 members, this society seeks to reduce the risks, incidence, and burden of cancer by promoting healthy lifestyles and early detection. The group also seeks to improve the management of cancer symptoms and side effects.
- Open Courseware
Clinical Terminology for International and U.S. Students - University of Pittsburgh: Designed for international students and professionals seeking a career change, this introductory course covers the terms and abbreviations used in U.S. hospitals. Learners examine terminology through visual and auditory experiences. Each section culminates with a quiz.
Disaster Medicine Training - Stanford University: The Stanford Emergency Medicine Program for Emergency Response developed this course to help nurses and other healthcare practitioners effectively navigate disaster situations. Students learn how to create and act as part of a nimble medical team, capable of responding to a disaster within 24 hours and maintaining self-sufficiency over 72 hours.
Essential Competencies for Nurse Preceptors - University System of Maryland: Students who enroll in this intermediate class explore the preceptor-preceptee relationship in academic and clinical settings. They learn about preceptor responsibilities, learner assessment, and legal issues in preceptorships. The course also trains students to create effective clinical teaching/learning experiences that model diversity and inclusion.
Skills for Nursing Informatics Leaders - University of Minnesota: This is the first course in a five-part nursing informatics leadership specialization. Students receive an overview of essential skills for informatics nurses, with an emphasis on leadership styles in clinical environments and training/education settings. Participants also establish professional development goals and learn about major organizations and networks in the field.
American Journal of Nursing: The oldest and largest nursing publication in the world, this monthly journal covers many topics, including poetry and artwork related to healthcare. Readers can also find evidence-based and peer-reviewed research on clinical practice, as well as analyses and commentaries on pertinent news. Each issue contains at least two articles that allow readers to gain CEUs.
American Journal of Public Health: Published by the American Public Health Association, this peer-reviewed journal focuses on advancing education, policy, practice, and research in the field. Articles center on public health policies and challenges, including topics like mass incarceration, rural health inequity, and global vaccine development. The journal's website also offers podcasts in English and Chinese.
International Journal of Nursing: This open-access publication offers peer-reviewed articles on global nursing education and healthcare delivery models. Learners can also gain insight into policy issues and emerging research in the field. The journal provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, with an emphasis on how cultural factors impact nursing theory and clinical practice.
Nursing Education Perspectives: As the official research publication of the National League for Nursing, this journal provides content to help build a diverse workforce. Articles cover topics like anxiety in nursing students, professional behaviors new nurses need, and developing an authentic leadership voice. The journal accepts paper proposals from students, practitioners, researchers, and educators.
Scrubs Magazine: This publication focuses on the personal side of nursing, helping professionals build community and surmount work obstacles. Readers can explore topics like health disparities in the Black community, food insecurity, and the opioid crisis. The magazine also publishes personal narratives about nursing heroes and career development guides.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is a degree in nursing worth it?
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. The BLS projects 12% job growth for RNs and 26% job growth for APRNs between 2018 and 2028. Staffing shortages across the U.S. mean that nurses should have little trouble finding employment.
- How do I start a career in nursing?
Most professionals start their nursing career by earning a bachelor of science in the field. Graduates can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for state RN licensure.
- What kind of jobs can you get with a nursing degree?
Available careers for a nursing major differ based on an individual's degree level. With an associate or bachelor's degree, you can work as an RN, assessing patient needs and working with your medical team to develop individualized care plans. Employment opportunities expand with a graduate degree and include specialized occupations like nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, and clinical nurse specialist.
- How much do nurses make?
According to the BLS, RNs earn a median annual salary of $73,300, while APRNs earn a median annual salary of $115,800. Salary potential varies based on a worker's specific role, location, employer, and qualifications.
- Is nursing a stressful job?
Many professionals find it challenging to maintain successful nursing careers due to the long hours and difficult work environments. Nurses often need to make crucial decisions for multiple patients simultaneously. However, by sticking with this career, you can find ample opportunities for professional development and high salaries.