Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner program student taking blood pressure readings at a Health Fair at Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport, CT
Nurses hold independent licenses and work collaboratively with other health care disciplines in roles that include direct patient care, case management, supervision, administration, education and research. Having the baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing is the critical first step for a career in professional nursing. The nurse with a baccalaureate degree (BSN) is the only nursing graduate who is prepared to practice in all health care settings. As nursing and health care delivery expands, opportunities increase outside the traditional setting of the hospital. In 2003 approximately 60% of all employed RNs work in hospitals. This means that 40% of nurses work in other settings.
Nurses practice in a variety of healthcare settings and in roles focusing on health promotion, illness prevention and restorative care. Nurses have many and varied employment opportunities. They range from staff nursing in critical care settings to long term care institutions and community and government agencies including the armed services. Hospital nursing staff including specialty areas (http://www.aacn.nche.edu):
- Primary Care Settings
- Home Health Care
- Outpatient Surgical Care
- School Health Nursing
- Insurance and Managed Care Companies
- Mental Health Agencies
- Nursing Education
- Health Care Research
With a master's or doctorate degree, nurses can assume advanced practice roles and deliver care to complex and/or specialized patient populations in a variety of settings. Advanced practice roles include pediatric or family nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Other roles requiring graduate degrees are in teaching, management, administration and research.
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