Nursing Overview

If you would like to help treat, examine, and heal patients, consider a degree in Nursing. A career as a nurse allows you to have face-to-face interaction with people in need; you are on the front-lines in preventing disease, fighting illness and promoting healing.

Nursing students work closely with many patients to perform physicals, administer treatments, aid in diagnostic testing, and provide basic needs, among many other tasks. Classes in biology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, psychology, and behavioral science prepare nurses to work in a variety of locations aiding doctors and assisting patients.

Nursing is a broad field and has many areas of specialization available to students. For example, students can choose a major in Registered Nursing or Nursing Administration. Depending on your interest, your studies can also focus on adult health, anesthesia, family practice, maternal and neonatal, midwifery, public health, surgery, critical care, geriatric care and more.

Required Skills

Since nurses work closely with patients, it is important to have strong interpersonal and communication skills. Nurses must give patients information and keep them calm during procedures and exams. Compassion and sympathy will help you sympathize with patients and make them more comfortable. Additional skills that are required for a career in nursing are analytical and critical thinking, detail-orientation, and patience.

The majority of Nursing graduates work in hospitals, however some also work in medical clinics and schools. Since the public needs health services 24/7, nurses may be required to work at night, on the weekends, and during holidays. They often work rotating shifts so they have time off to rest.

While a bachelor's degree or certification will allow nurses to pursue successful careers in nursing, some students go on to receive a graduate degree. This advanced degree allows nurses to advance to administration positions or conduct research.


Nurses have jobs in many different locations including hospitals, medical centers, schools, the armed forces, corporations, and private medical practices. They teach classes, give medical exams, and update patient information in many settings. Nurses are an important part of the work force and find jobs in almost every area of the medical field.

Due to the aging population and increase in preventative care services, the Nursing occupation is growing at a faster than average rate. Students should find many job opportunities after graduation.

Nursing graduates earn an average starting salary of $53,333 and mi-career salary of $70,116.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Nursing might open up.

Medical and Health Services Managers
Nurse Anesthetists
Nurse Midwives
Nurse Practitioners
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
Registered Nurses
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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