Careers in Nursing

By Amos, E. Scottie | Diversity Employers, March-April 1993 | Go to article overview

Careers in Nursing


Amos, E. Scottie, Diversity Employers


Nurses are more in demand now than ever and this trend is expected to continue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects professional nursing as the health profession of the future.

If you are looking for a career that is both emotionally and financially rewarding, join the two million men and women who have made nursing their choice. Nurses are more in demand now than ever and this trend is expected to continue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects professional nursing as the health profession of the future. According to the Bureau, an additional two million nurses will be needed between now and the year 2000. So if your career choice is nursing, smile: your prospects of job and financial security are great.

Nursing is an art and a science that involves the management of health care needs of clients both sick and well. Nurses use knowledge and skills derived from the natural and behavioral sciences as well as nursing to bring about positive health outcomes for clients or, when necessary, to assist them to peaceful deaths. As the nation's largest group of health care providers, nurses work in a variety of settings: hospitals, clinics, schools, industries, physician offices, health maintenance organizations, hospice centers, home health, pharmaceutical companies, research centers, and other settings where health care is delivered or decisions related to health are made.

The best preparation for a career in nursing begins early in one's academic career. Courses such as biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and math are essentials. These courses provide the foundation for the study of nursing. Developing good study habits and note-taking skills is also important. Set aside a time to study and maintain that regime. Organize your class notes and discuss them with a friend or your instructor. You don't want to fall into the habit of deceiving yourself by saying: "I know the answer to that, but I just can't explain it." Engage in activities to develop critical thinking and decision making skills. There are important skills you will need to be successful in your studies and in the practice of nursing.

Dr. Francis Henderson, chair of the School of Nursing at Alcorn State, says, "The most frequent question asked by students exploring a career in nursing is: How will courses in chemistry, literature, sociology, art, political science, computers, and philosophy help me in nursing?" Nursing is not practiced in a vacuum; these courses also help students to examine personal beliefs and values, as well as those of others. They increase an awareness and appreciation of the world and help students to analyze social phenomena as they occur in society. In other words, these courses help the student to be a better person and, therefore, a better nurse.

The positions held by nurses depend on educational background and work experience. The American Nurses Association considers the baccalaureate degree the minimum preparation for entry into professional nursing. Baccalaureate-prepared nurses are trained as nurse-generalists in the areas of maternity, pediatrics, medical-surgical, psychiatric, and community health nursing. After graduating and passing the National License Examination, these professionals usually hold positions as staff nurses who provide direct client care. With experience, the baccalaureate-prepared nurse may advance to head nurse or nurse-supervisor.

A nurse who takes a year or two to complete a master's degree may specialize in any area of nursing and, depending upon the educational preparation, may hold the title of nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Master's-prepared nurses hold a variety of positions in the health care system. These positions include providing direct client care, teaching in schools of nursing, and managing multi-million dollar health care systems. The nurse who earns a PhD may hold positions in research centers, educational institutions, and hospital administration. …

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