Degrees and programs

Despite its long history, nursing is anything but a static profession. Today's nurses command advanced knowledge of modern health care practices, principles and equipment -- and enjoy a very encouraging employment outlook.

What is nursing?

Nursing is the delivery of care to sick or injured people. Nurses are health care professionals who provide this care, and they may work in public health agencies, schools, hospitals and many other settings.

Nurses often work closely with doctors, physician assistants and other health care experts. In addition to providing care to patients, nurses may also work in clinical or research settings, and even help inform health care policies and procedures at their institutions.

There are several different types of nurses. Registered Nurses (RNs) are perhaps the best-known type of nurse, but there are also multiple types of Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). APNs typically have advanced degrees and expertise in specific realms of nursing, such as caring for the aged or caring for those with mental health issues.

How do I get started?

To become an RN, it is necessary to complete at least a two-year degree program in nursing. But some nurses choose to go further in their educations, earning a bachelor's degree in nursing, or even a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. Graduates of a nursing master's program may also pursue an advanced graduate certificate to further enhance their credentials.