Nurses in High Demand
If you are drawn to the medical profession and wish to devote yourself to patient care and advocacy, the nursing profession may be just what the doctor ordered.

What They Do

From assistants to registered nurses, nursing professionals promote health for individuals, families and communities, and care for ill and injured patients in hospitals, doctor's offices, schools, clinics, private homes, businesses and in long-term care, assisted-living and research facilities. They also collaborate with doctors regarding patients' care.

Nurses have flexibility in the hours they work and in their career roles. Those who earn higher academic degrees and have more intensive training can advance into specialized medical disciplines or supervisory and teaching positions. Nurse practitioners have some of the same privileges as doctors, including prescribing medications.

Qualifications

Certified nursing assistants need only a high school diploma and as little as 6 to 12 weeks of training. Those who wish to become registered nurses can attend Associate's and Baccalaureate degree programs; those who wish to become advanced clinical practice registered nurses and registered nurses with advanced practice in education, research, administration and information technology can attend Master's and Doctoral degree programs.

The Demand

Due to advances in health care technology and the increasing focus on prevention, nurses are and will continue to be in high demand. People are living longer and require more medical attention, whether they are healthy or ill. So it is not surprising that geriatric nurses are especially in demand.

Pay is in accordance with the job and education level, certification and experience. Of nursing aides, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, aides make the least and registered nurses make the most. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 the median hourly salary for registered nurses was $30.03.

For more information visit the following Web sites: National League for Nursing (www.nln.org); American Association of Colleges of Nursing (www.aacn.nche.edu); and American Nurses Association (www.ana.org).