Nursing Your Career Opportunities Back to Health

Nursing Jobs: Where to Look

There are actually two types of nurses: licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs). While LPNs care for patients, they do so under the supervision of a physician or a registered nurse. LPNs mostly perform basic bedside care, such as taking the patient's blood pressure, recording vital signs, dressing wounds, or collecting samples for testing.

Registered nurses have far more responsibility and take a more active role in a patient's treatment. Some of their responsibilities include performing diagnostic tests, creating plans for patient care, administering treatment and medication, and educating patients and the public about different medical conditions.

Online Nursing Degrees: Getting Your Career Started

If you don't have any degree, then your best option to become an RN may be to start by earning an associate's degree in nursing. This usually takes 2-3 years. Then, once you start working, you may be able to take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits by enrolling in an RN-to-BSN (bachelor's of science in nursing) program.

If you do already have a bachelor's degree in another subject, you can enroll in an accelerated BSN program. This only takes 12-18 months and is the fastest route to earning a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Finally, if you're still working a full-time job while preparing to change careers, you might want to look into online nursing degree programs. These allow you to study at your own convenience without leaving your house, making it easier to earn a degree without quitting your current job--a huge advantage during this recession.

Becoming an LPN involves one year of training at a vocational school or community college, and then you need to pass a licensing examination.

Is Nursing a Good Option in This Economy?

Absolutely! While LPNs earn lower salaries than RNs, you only need a year of training, and job opportunities should be excellent. Furthermore, registered nurses form the largest health care occupation, holding 2.5 million jobs in the US. It's a rapidly expanding field even during a recession. In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that LPNs earned a median salary of $39,030. RNs took home $62,450.