6th Oct, 2009 | Source : American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Congratulations on your decision to become a nurse! Despite the current downturn in the economy, the healthcare sector continues to add new jobs, including thousands of new opportunities for registered nurses (RNs). The sustained shortage of nurses has actually helped to bring some much needed changes to the profession, including higher salaries, better working conditions, and more flexible schedules in some settings.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and other higher education authorities strongly recommend that new nurses enter the field with a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). Nurses with bachelor’s degrees are well-prepared to meet the demands placed on today's nurse. BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Nurse executives, federal agencies, the military, leading nursing organizations, healthcare foundations, magnet hospitals, and minority nurse advocacy groups all recognize the unique value that baccalaureate-prepared nurses bring to health care.
In addition to enjoying a high level of employment flexibility, BSN nurses are well-positioned to pursue graduate study, which opens new career horizons as advanced practice registered nurses, researchers, faculty, and healthcare administrators among others. The baccalaureate degree will give you the most career mobility and allow you to climb the career ladder at a much more rapid pace.
As you begin planning your education, prospective students are encouraged to access the following resources:
This online clearinghouse gives students reliable information about nursing and the health professions, including links to career profiles, enrichment programs, financial aid resources, and current issues in health care.
Your Nursing Career:
Housed on the AACN Web site, this resource features the latest facts about the nursing profession, links to schools of nursing offering baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and a directory of financial aid options.
Johnson & Johnson's Discovery Nursing:
Developed to interest new generations in nursing careers, this information-rich site provides clear advice on getting into nursing school, paying for your education, and selecting the nursing specialty that fits your interests.
Finally, a variety of financial aid options exist to help individuals pursue a nursing education. In additional to federal scholarship and loan repayment programs, many nursing schools have agreements with local employers who agree to pay off student loans in exchange for a post-graduation work commitment. Students considering enrolling in a nursing program are strongly encouraged to contact the financial aid offices of their local schools to find out more about what funding assistance is available.