Those who are interested in starting a career in the nursing field must first begin their journey by attending an accredited nursing school, college or university that offers students a qualified nursing program and pass the national licensing exam for registered nurses before earning their license and being able to apply for a position as s a nurse.
When it comes to getting a degree in the nursing field there are four general levels of education a potential registered nurse is able to take.
The four degree’s available to those studying in the nursing program are known as the Associate’s of science in Nursing, Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, Master’s of Science in Nursing and the Doctorate’s Degree in Nursing.
Each level of advancement in a nurse’s degree offers better opportunities for career advancement, increased pay and benefits and increased education which allows nurses to become more proficient in their field.
Associate’s of science in Nursing (ASN)
The Associate’s of science in nursing degree is a two-year degree that prepares nurses for entry-level positions within the field of nursing.
This degree gives students the basic knowledge and training they need to work as a competent and accountable nurse within the health care field.
While earning an ASN will allow students to begin working as a general nurse in an entry-level position those looking to advance their career will heavily consider getting their Bachelors degree which is necessary for most career advancement positions within the nursing field.
Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The Bachelors of science in nursing degree is a four-year degree that offers nurses special training in nursing science, research, leadership, and nursing informatics.
For those looking to advance in their career the Bachelors of science in nursing is the most common degree in the nursing field and is required in order to become eligible for employment in the many different fields of health care related to the field of nursing.
Without a Bachelor’s degree it can be extremely difficult to get hired for a position beyond working as an entry-level nurse.
Whether you want to become a flight nurse, emergency room nurse, legal nurse, critical care nurse or work in another area of speciality within the nursing field most hospitals and health care facilities will require you to have a BSN before they will hire you for a position in one of these fields.
Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)
The Master’s of science in nursing degree is a six-eight year advanced-level postgraduate degree that focuses on providing registered nurses with further education in their particular field and is aimed at training registered nurses to become educators and managers.
Depending on the focus of the nurses education obtaining this degree may narrow their education towards a specific field of nursing such as geriatrics, psychiatrics, neonatal care and gynecological nursing among others so they may become fully proficient in their chosen field of health care.
This level of education opens up new opportunities for those looking to further advance their careers into higher levels of leadership and can provide nurses with entry-level positions into management and/or teaching positions.
Doctorate’s Degree in Nursing (DNP)
The Doctor of nursing practice degree is the most comprehensive degree in the nursing field and focuses on the clinical aspects of nursing compared to the academic research field which is often taught at the lower levels of education.
This degree helps prepare nurses to work as independent primary health care providers in their chosen field of nursing and gives them the most autonomy of all the nursing programs.
Nurses who earn their Doctor of nursing practice degree can go on to open their own practice, become a professor of education at a college or university, provide the highest level of legal counsel to attorneys and lawyers, apply for the highest levels of management in their field and a host of other opportunities that are only awarded to nurses who have received their Doctorates.
Each level of education in nursing opens up new doors, opportunities, responsibilities and benefits.
Those who either work in the field of nursing or are looking to become nurses should really look into what field of nursing they would like to specialize in so that they can focus on receiving the education they need to get to where they want to be.
For most individuals looking to get into nursing the bachelors of science in nursing degree is your best option as this level offers entry into the many different fields of nursing.
From there you can work in a variety of setting and decide on where you want to focus your attention before going for your Masters or Doctorates.