Nursing School

A demanding but rewarding career

If you have a nurturing personality and care deeply about the well-being of others, a career in nursing may be perfect for you. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) have the job of caring for sick, injured and disabled patients. Their typical duties include measuring vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration, giving injections, tending to wounds and taking fluid samples for testing. They work under the direction of registered nurses and physicians in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' offices.

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Getting Educated

There are about 1,200 state-approved nursing education programs offered by trade schools across the nation. These programs typically take one year to complete and include both classroom work and supervised patient care practice. Following completion of such a program, LPNs are required to pass a licensing examination (called the NCLEX-PN).

Online Nursing Courses

A popular trend among post-secondary schools is to offer nursing programs online. While students are usually expected to complete their clinical practice on-campus, any coursework that's non-clinical can be completed online.

In most online nursing programs, students can learn on their own schedule. This allows many of them to hold steady jobs while completing their schooling (many work during the day and study in the evenings).

In most online classes, lectures are presented as either downloadable text or video, and tests and assignments can be emailed to the instructor for grading. Students aren't completely isolated, however - it's possible to chat with other students and the instructor via online discussion forums, live chat or both.

Job Prospects

More people in the health care industry are employed as nurses than any other position. There are nearly 2.5 million nurses in the U.S., and the job market is growing faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - likely due to the increasing population, the aging of the baby boom generation and increasing healthcare insurance coverage. In fact, some employment forecasters are predicting that there will be more new nursing jobs over the next decade than any other occupation.

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