traditionally, the profession of nursing has been associated with evaluating, diagnosing and treating health problems. as the practice of nursing evolved, so did the job responsibilities. employers today look for job specific skills amongst applicants. this is particularly relevant to registered nurses who are now responsible for providing holistic patient care.
overview of programs
different levels of rn programs are currently available. applicants must ensure that their chosen program is recognized by nursing accrediting commissions such as commission on collegiate nursing education (ccne) or accrediting commission for education in nursing (acen) previously known as (nlnac) national league for nursing accreditation commission. they can opt to go for any of the three options listed below:
a bachelor of science in nursing (bsn);
an associate's degree in nursing (adn);
a nursing diploma.
these programs differ in their admission requirements, study objectives and graduation requirements. after successfully completing a nursing program, applicants are eligible to sit for the nclex-rn licensure exam. after passing this exam, they will be eligible to work as registered nurses.
all nursing programs offer courses in nursing, anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, nutrition and psychology. the level of difficulty of these courses increases with the program level. students also get the chance to study other subjects such as liberal arts, and social and behavioral sciences. clinical practice and observational experience in hospital and non-hospital settings also remains a crucial part of nursing education. this is where future rns can apply theoretical knowledge to real patient problems, hone their psycho-motor skills and become acquainted with their future responsibilities. this practice particularly focuses on the critical behaviors of the students like their ability to administer medications safely, perform diagnostic tests, report changes in client condition, and operate medical equipment. nurses must not only possess the knowledge but also the ability to address patient problems. keeping this in mind, most programs now focus on developing effective leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills amongst the participants as these qualities are highly desired by employers.
the employment outlook for these professionals is very bright. according to the bureau of labor statistics, the median annual wage of registered nurses amounted to around $64,000 in may 2010. their employment is expected to increase by 26% from 2010 to 2020. this increase is explained by the fact that more and more organizations are now demanding the services of rns including administrative and support services, government agencies and educational services. in addition to these, the mainstream employers such as public and private medical and surgical hospitals, clinics, physician's offices, nursing care facilities and home health services also project an increased demand keeping in view an aging population.
the potential of online education
rn programs in colorado can be pursued online as well as on-campus. the online option is better suited for those who are working full time and have other obligations that prevent them from following a fixed study schedule. students enrolled in the online programs can study on their own schedule as campus attendance is not required. they can stream video lectures and also gain assistance from professors by contacting them via email. their educational experience is sure to be an interactive one as participants benefit from online chat rooms and discussion boards as well.