By Margaret Kalina
When some people think about nurses, they envision the times of old when nurses were basically there to fluff pillows and rock babies. While those services are still performed, nurses today are an intricate part of the total healthcare delivery system.
Nurses are front and center when it comes to patient care as well as working side by- side with some of the most talented physicians in the country.
There are many areas of nursing to explore, each coming with different educational requirements and job responsibilities.
The first nursing degree would be the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), which requires anywhere from 12 to 18 months of coursework depending on how much time is dedicated.
The next level is the Associate Registered Nursing (RN) degree, which carries with it a minimum of two years of education.
Finally, there is the Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) degree, which requires a four-year commitment to complete the education.
There are, of course, advance nursing degrees where nurses can specialize in specific areas, but these are the three main degrees in nursing. At each level of nursing, the job responsibilities increase, as does the compensation.
The average Minnesota nurse works 34 hours per week and spends 77 percent of on-the-job time handling patient care.
The current job market is competitive for those who wish to get into the nursing profession. Experience, high grades and community involvement are all factors that will help job seekers land high quality jobs.
As of January 2011, there were 86,179 RNs in Minnesota; 57 percent of those RNs work in hospital settings and the remainder work in clinics, long-term care, home health, education, or other non-related fields.
With such an array of degrees, specialties and environments to work in, nursing allows flexibility to balance work and play. If you have a passion for helping those in need, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and the desire to have a fulfilling career, please consider nursing.