Nursing is an excellent career goal as it is the fastest growing
occupation in the United States. It is expected that nursing jobs
will grow 22 percent by 2018. An aging population and a shrinking
workforce are contributing to this need.
There are multiple nursing programs available, which include online
degrees, diploma programs or attending a college or university for
an associate or bachelor's degree.
Registered Nursing Programs
Associate Degree Programs - An associate degree requires
five to six semesters to complete, and then, the graduate must pass
the National Council Licensure Examination. This program prepares a
nurse to function as a caregiver in a variety of settings.
Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSN) - Graduates of these
programs are fully prepared to provide care in hospitals, in communities
and in wellness centers. These nurses are also prepared to assume
positions of leadership and responsibility in a variety of specialized
areas. The first two years of nursing classes usually consist of
general education courses, which include the humanities, social
and physical sciences. The last two years consist of courses in
nursing theory and clinical practice.
Diploma Degree in Nursing - A diploma degree in nursing
is available through hospital-based nursing schools. These programs
are two to three years in length and are designed for nurses to work
in hospitals, clinics and other inpatient facilities. While it is a
quick method of entering the nursing profession to earn an income,
the career options are limited without further education.
Nursing Admission Requirements
Colleges and universities require a completed application and a high
school transcript. An applicant must have a minimal grade point average
of C. The requirements are the same for colleges and online nursing
program also. If the grade point average is lower, the student would
be required to take the course.
Students are also required to take the ACT compass placement test in
areas of English, math and reading. Most schools require a minimum
score of 23. Being admitted to a university does not ensure admission
to the nursing program. A separate application is often required for
the School of Nursing. Prerequisite high school courses in chemistry,
biology and algebra are required, which must have a minimum grade of 2.0.
Some universities require a typed statement of educational and career
goals. Other possible requirements are the COMPASS Placement test and
the HESI A2 Nursing Admissions & Critical Thinking exams. Applicants
are required to complete an FBI and BCI fingerprint report as well.
Associate Degree Nursing Classes
Required general studies for those attending college classes or
completing the online nursing program include:
Anatomy and Phsiology - general and advanced
The required nursing courses are very similar between various college
nursing programs. They include:
Introduction to Nursing
Nursing Skills and Foundations
Nursing Clinicals, typically taught in clinical laboratory or
Concepts of Adult Health
Care of Childbearing/Rearing and Family
There is a choice of elective nursing classes, which include Holistic
Health, End of Life Issues and several others according to what's
offered at any particular college.
Bachelor Degree Required Classes
The general courses required for a bachelor's degree are usually
the same as those for an associate degree. Many of the nursing
courses are also similar, but there are several additional ones
required. These include:
Clinical Integration 1-3 classes
Nursing Theory Classes
A nursing student can expect written tests, written patient care
plans, completing a research project and completing nursing clinicals
in the hospital or another healthcare setting. Their grades are based
on exams, papers and classroom participation.
Online programs place more emphasis on participation, and they also
require clinical hours. Nursing placements for clinical hours are
located in the vicinity of the student's home.
Some students like the traditional classroom setting, where they
can communicate openly with other students, but others prefer online
courses due to the flexibility. Both programs are excellent.