Nursing schools can be found all over the world. Most teach the same basic skills. However, different institutions offer different levels of education for those wishing to become nurses or advance their skills.
Many different colleges and universities offer classes in direct patient care. Among those that have a specific program, almost all offer and associate’s degree. Students completing these programs are awarded a degree and allowed to take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination Practical Nurse). Upon passing this test, they are licensed to practice as nurses in the US.
Many nursing schools offer the option to continue on and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. This prepares the students for promotion to the next level in their profession, the RN or registered nurse. Upon completing this course of study, students must sit for the NCLEX-RN and pass it to be licensed as RNs. The higher level of education required makes this a higher paying position than that of LPN.
It is also possible to obtain a Master of Science degree in this field. It is mainly experienced nurses who have worked for a while as RNs that pursue this level of education. Completion allows them to practice skills above the normal requirements for RN. They may also become instructors and teach the next generation of nurses.
Some schools offer the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. This degree provides the stepping stones needed by RNs to advance their careers and specialize in certain areas. They become certified nurse specialists with focus on specific groups of patients, including newborns, children, and infants, the elderly, and others. They may also take courses that allow them to become nurse practitioners and prescribe certain medications for specific conditions under the supervision of a physician.
Regardless of what level of education is being pursued by students in nursing schools, they will spend time both in the classroom studying theory and in the field performing certain tasks as practical preparation. This hands-on training under the supervision of nurses who already practice helps to drive home the lessons learned in the classroom and lets candidates see firsthand whether they are truly the type of person who can function as a nurse.
Many students who show excellent performance academically find that they are unable to carry out the duties required of them in a practical setting. However, the reason for the practical training is actually to let the students practice the skills they have learned under the direct supervision of more experienced individuals. It also provides an opportunity to see if the candidate favors one type of patient over another and whether continuing one to a more specialized degree might be desired.
Nursing schools teach a number of specialized courses, even at the beginner’s level. This is because nurses work with patients and provide the bulk of their care when treated on an inpatient basis. Doctors come around once or twice a day to check on the patient, but the nurses are the ones actually providing the care and dispensing medications.