Nursing is a critically important occupation within healthcare facilities. It is a field that offers a broad variety of pathways for nurses with the correct credentials and qualifications. It is a much more diverse profession than meets the eye and allows new students, or nurses looking to further develop their skills, many tertiary educational options. With the shortage of nurses globally, this is a great occupation to study as nurses are in high demand.
This article aims to shed light on the different levels of nursing qualifications and what each level can expect salary-wise. Furthermore, the aim is to dig deeper into understanding if nurses truly are in such high demand and what the reasons for that could be and to finish off, outline versatile workplaces that nurses can look forward to.
Studying to Become a Nurse
There are a variety of courses and degrees available to budding new nurses and nurses looking for further education. Nursing requirements vary among different states, so nursing programs available in Florida will be slightly different from the ones offered in Virginia for example. There are, however, different nursing levels that bear the same name and title within most states but simply have small entry requirement differences. To outline the starting process to the highest form of nursing education, please see below:
- ABSN: This stands for the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It is a program that fast-tracks its participants and turns a customary 4-year program into 12 – 24 months. The workload is much more intense during the ABSN as it is known to not lose any quality, so you have to learn exactly what you would learn in 4 years in 12 – 24 months.
- DN: This is known as a Diploma in Nursing. It is often a 2 years course that equips its students with all the vital information to care for patients and assist nurses with higher credentials. After completing a DN you are often considered an LPN, which is a Licensed Practical Nurse.
- ADN: Meaning an Associate Degree in Nursing. This usually takes approximately two years.
- BSN: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the duration of this is usually 4 years. Through this degree, nurses become Registered Nurses (RN) and would be in charge of LPN’s for example.
- MSN: This stands for the Master of Science in Nursing. This degree is known to take a further 4 years and allows its participants to expand on their knowledge achieved in an ABSN, DA or BA in nursing.
- DNP: The highest form of education is receiving a doctorate which in this case can be a Doctor of Nursing Practice. This is often a study attended by nurses part-time combining work and studies. The study itself usually takes 3 – 4 years, however, combined with work it can take up to 7 years, depending on how much free time the student has available to invest.
Average Salary of a Nurse
Salaries often differ by state, meaning that your location makes a difference in salary. However, the average hourly wage for a nurse across the U.S. is estimated at $43.46 per hour. It starts a bit lower if you’re coming into the field with no experience. This also depends on the level of education you have. Below is a general indication of what an hourly wage with different years of work experience could look like:
- $39.19 per hour with less than a year of experience.
- $42.12 per hour with 1 – 2 years worth of experience.
- $44.21 per hour with 3 – 5 years worth of experience.
- $45.81 per hour with 5 – 8 years worth of experience.
- $51.22 per hour with 10+ years worth of experience.
Are Nurses in High Demand?
Absolutely! Nurses play an important role in healthcare facilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that people over the age of 60 years and older are set to double in numbers by 2050. This means that there will be double the amount of elderly needing care in potentially fragile states, which is where nurses can step in. Patients in vulnerable states such as these require constant observation and attention, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Adding to this, the complexities of medical procedures and operations have increased, therefore more nurses are needed in the operating rooms and for the patient’s recovery period. Whilst technology has affected how surgeons operate, nurses are still vital members of the operating team and offer great assistance.
Workplaces for Nurses
There are a variety of workplaces for nurses. Depending on the type of nurse they want to be, whether it’s a cardiac nurse or a pediatric nurse, workplaces are plenty.
Nurses can work in hospitals, old-age homes, private practices, schools, colleges, doctors offices and the list goes on. The point is that there is not a shortage of healthcare facilities looking for knowledgeable and able nurses.