Registered nurses have a degree in nursing and have completed state licensing requirements. They provide patient care and typically work in hospitals, physicians' offices and nursing facilities.
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Individuals completing a bachelor's degree in nursing typically go on to become registered nurses (RNs). These nurses work closely with patients in providing care, administering medication and overseeing a health management plan. They're employed in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Licensure is also necessary to work as a registered nurse; requirements vary by state.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Licensure||State licensure and successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||16% for registered nurses*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$67,490 annually for registered nurses*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Career Information
Commonly, nurses holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are registered nurses. They work with physicians and other healthcare professionals in providing medical care to sick, injured or disabled patients. Nurses are found working in several environments, including hospitals and nursing homes, and might choose to work in a specialized area, such as emergency room care or surgery.
During the ten-year period of 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 16% increase in employment for RNs (www.bls.gov). The BLS explains that part of this growth is due to a rising senior population, which might require more care, as well as technological advances in treatment options that allow more health challenges to be medically addressed. An additional factor of this growth might be a rise in preventative care.
There are three typical educational routes to obtaining a bachelor's degree in nursing, including a first-time bachelor's, an accelerated second bachelor's and an RN-to-BSN degree track. First-time degree and second bachelor's degree nursing programs are designed for students with no prior nursing training. These programs introduce students to the nursing field through nursing coursework and, typically, hands-on nursing experience. The second bachelor's programs for nurses may be available at an accelerated rate, because coursework outside of nursing may not be required in these programs. Graduates of these to program types can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), to become registered nurses.
Designed for already-licensed RNs who want to earn a bachelor's degree, RN-to-BSN programs generally require supervised clinical work in addition to coursework in nursing and general education topics. Admission to these programs usually depends on a certain amount of nursing work experience in addition to current RN licensure. These degrees may also be available on an accelerated track, and may provide flexible class schedules for working nurses.
According to the BLS, nurses are required to be licensed by the state in which they intend to work. RN license applicants usually need a degree in nursing and must also pass the NCLEX-RN, as well as fulfill any other state obligations. States vary on requirements, says the BLS, but continuing education coursework is common for license renewal.
Bachelor's Degree in Nursing Salary Information
In May 2015, registered nurses brought in a median salary of $67,490 per year, with the majority making from $46,360 to $101,630 annually, according to BLS data. Nurses working at hospitals made a mean annual wage of $72,980 a year, while physicians' offices paid a mean annual wage of $65,350.
The demand for registered nurses is high. The 16% job growth projection for registered nurses from 2014-2024 is much faster than average when compared to all occupations. Nurses provide direct care to patients under the direction of a physician and play a critical role in the health care field. They may work in hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics and nursing homes, or provide in-home patient care services.