After you begin your career as a nurse, the hospital or clinic that you are working for may offer tuition assistance to help attain a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In most cases, an associates degree is a sufficient credential to work in general nursing. While working as an Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), you will have a limited scope of care that you can provide legally. You may offer basic patient care and perform tasks that do not require nursing judgment or advanced decision-making. You also cannot administer medication, start or provide intravenous therapy. However, if you want to work as a nurse in a specialized field such as oncology, you'll need to further your nursing education at a later time, and earn a bachelor’s degree.
Research various nursing degree programs that meet your requirements to become a nurse. The CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) is the first step in becoming a nurse. They act as the eyes and ears of nurses, and in return obtain first hand experence in a clinical setting. After Becoming a CNA, you will assist in caring for patients by monitoring vital statistics, bathing, feeding and maintaining personal hygine. Most CNA programs can be completed within a few months, allowing you to begin working.
The next step in a typical nursing career after the CNA is to become a LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or LVN ( Licensed Vocational Nurse). This is a one year long program, in which you'll work under an RN, and be assigned advanced care work. Practice requirements for LPNs vary from state to state, but basic duties include passing meds, wound care, and administering feeding tubes. 1-year nursing certificate programs train students to pass the licensing test to become LPNs or LVNs.
In order to become an RN (Registered Nurse), you will be required to earn a bachelors degree in nursing, and will enjoy an enlarged scope of practice over LPNs and CNAs, as well as command a greater salary. A 2-year associate's degree in nursing is generally considered the minimum educational requirement for RNs. These programs include basic courses in medical terminology, patient care and life sciences. Students will receive classroom instruction and clinical training in hospitals and other medical settings. Although ASN programs provide students with adequate nursing training, a bachelor's degree provides greater clinical experiences and a stronger general education. A 4-year BSN program allows students to study specialized areas of nursing, including pediatrics, geriatrics and mental health nursing. Students may also study allied health topics outside of nursing through elective courses.
An RN has to cope with more responsibility, and must oversee the work of LPNs and CNAs under their supervision. If you wish to continue advancement, a masters degree and several years of experience as a nurse, may qualify you for the NP (Nurse Practitioner) credential. The master's degree is intended for nursing professionals interested in supervisory positions. Nurse practitioners, nurse specialists and nursing instructors are often required to have a master's degree. Please check with your state board of nursing for practical details and exams that you must pass to become board certified.
Although entry-level nursing positions are available to beginning nurses with no professional experience, employment prospects are best, for nurses with at least 2-5 years of experience. Advanced nursing positions may require more than five years of experience or knowledge of specific fields, such as pediatrics, geriatrics or community health.
specialists are highly-qualified nurses that have completed additional training to be able to provide critical care during the different stages of surgery. Based in hospitals, they work primarily within operating rooms and associated recovery areas, but may also be involved with certain procedures on wards, clinics or in other areas such as cardiac catheterisation units.
deal with a range of situations, including babies born with heart complications, teenagers who have sustained broken limbs, and child protection issues. Health problems can affect a child's development and it's vital to work with the child's family or carers to ensure that he or she does not suffer additionally from the stress of being ill or in hospital. Neonatal nurses work with newborn babies who are born sick or prematurely. Often, premature newborns have respiratory problems, which can be life threatening if they are not treated promptly and monitored. Also, ill babies need to be fed in a specialised way in a highly controlled environment that is kept warm.
entails work with older adults with diverse health conditions, both chronic and acute. Geriatric nurses must juggle numerous priorities simultaneously, and make use of all manner of interpersonal skills to improve the quality of patients' lives, sometimes in difficult situations. Work may be based in hospital wards, clinics or community settings and you be required to perform shift work, in order to provide 24-hour care. Learning disability nurses work in partnership with them and family carers, to provide specialist healthcare. Their main aim is to support the well-being and social inclusion of people with a learning disability by improving or maintaining their physical and mental health; by reducing barriers; and supporting the person to pursue a fulfilling life. For example, teaching someone the skills to find work can be significant in helping them to lead a more independent life.
Mental Health Nurses
are trained to care for people suffering from metal illness, regardless of age or background. Conditions range from personality and psychological disorders to neuroses and psychoses. Nurses who choose to specialise in the mental health branch of nursing, a complex and demanding area, work closely with psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists.
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After completing your nursing education, you must be licensed by the state in which you'll be practicing. The state boards of nursing each have their own specific certification criteria. In general, the requirements include completion of a degree in nursing, and board certification by the relevant accrediting body. The two biggest certifying bodies are the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The license period varies by individual state, but is usually valid for either two or three years, at which time you'll need to renew.
Registered nurses (RNs) are not required to be certified in a certain specialty by state law. For example, it is not necessary to be a Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) to work on a hospital Medical-Surgical (MedSurg) floor, and most MedSurg nurses are not CMSRNs. Certified nurses may earn a higher salary than their non-certified nursing colleagues. In the US and Canada, many nurses become certified in a particular specialty area. There are well over 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties.
To keep your license current, you must take continuing education courses, and renew your license every few years. In any event, you'll wish to stay up to date on the newest advancements in nursing. There are a fixed number of credits that each state requires, and if you work in a hospital facility, these courses may be offered on-site.
Education to become a nurse practitioner (NP) is rigorous and requires advanced coursework beyond that required of a registered nurse (RN). Curriculum includes courses in epidemiology, physiology, pharmacology, differential diagnosis, laboratory diagnostics, radiology, statistics and research methods, health policy, leadership, chronic disease management. MSN programs also require a thesis paper or clinical research project completion.
Nurses treat both physical and mental conditions through comprehensive history taking, physical exams, and ordering diagnostic tests. Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
Nursing diagnoses, evaluation, and management of acute and chronic illnesses.
Obtaining medical histories, and conducting physical examinations.
Ordering, and performing diagnostic studies (routine lab tests, bone x-rays, EKGs).
Requesting physical therapy, and rehabilitation treatments.
Recommending prenatal care and family planning services.
Providing child care, including screening and immunizations.
Providing care for patients in acute and critical care settings.
Performing or assisting in minor surgeries and procedures, such as biopsies, suturing, and casting.
Counseling services, and educating patients on health issues, self-care skills, and treatment options.
US Nursing Organizations
American Nurses Association
National League for Nursing
American Journal of Nursing
National Student Nurses' Association
Adult nurse practitioner
Certified Medical Assistant
Certified Radiologic Nurse
Geriatric nurse practitioner
Legal Nurse Consultant
Long Term Care
Mental Health Nurse
Public Health Nurse
Women's Health Care
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Sodium-Potassium Exchange Pump
Endocytosis and Exocytosis
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Cyclic and Noncyclic Photophosphorylation
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Monoclonal Antibody Production
Occupational health nursing
Falls are a common cause of occupational injuries and fatalities, especially in construction, extraction, transportation, healthcare, and building cleaning and maintenance.
Machines are commonplace in many industries, including manufacturing, mining, construction and agriculture, and can be dangerous to workers. Many machines involve moving parts, sharp edges, hot surfaces and other hazards with the potential to crush, burn, cut, shear, stab or otherwise strike or wound workers if used unsafely. Various safety measures exist to minimize these hazards, including lockout-tagout procedures for machine maintenance and roll over protection systems for vehicles. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, machine-related injuries were responsible for 64,170 cases that required days away from work in 2008. More than a quarter of these cases required more than 31 days spent away from work. That same year, machines were the primary or secondary source of over 600 work-related fatalities. Machines are also often involved indirectly in worker deaths and injuries, such as in cases in which a worker slips and falls, possibly upon a sharp or pointed object.
Confined spaces also present a work hazard. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health defines "confined space" as having limited openings for entry and exit and unfavorable natural ventilation, and which is not intended for continuous employee occupancy. These kind of spaces can include storage tanks, ship compartments, sewers, and pipelines.
Noise also presents a fairly common workplace hazard: occupational hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States, with 22 million workers exposed to hazardous noise levels at work and an estimated $242 million spent annually on worker's compensation for hearing loss disability. Noise is not the only source of occupational hearing loss; exposure to chemicals such as aromatic solvents and metals including lead, arsenic, and mercury can also cause hearing loss.
Temperature extremes can also pose a danger. Heat stress can cause heat stroke, exhaustion, cramps, and rashes. Heat can also fog up safety glasses or cause sweaty palms or dizziness, all of which increase the risk of other injuries. Workers near hot surfaces or steam also are at risk for burns. Dehydration may also result from overexposure to heat. Cold stress also poses a danger to many workers. Overexposure to cold conditions or extreme cold can lead to hypothermia or frostbite.
Electricity poses a danger to many workers. Electrical injuries can be divided into four types: fatal electrocution, electric shock, burns, and falls caused by contact with electric energy.
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN)
American Board for Occupational Health Nursing (ABOHN)
Nurses in Occupational Health
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Obstetrics nursing, also called perinatal nursing, is a nursing specialty that focuses on helping patients who are attempting to become pregnant, or have recently delivered a baby. Obstetrical nurses provide prenatal care and testing, and assist patients experiencing complications, either during labor or in delivery. Obstetrical nurses work closely with obstetricians, midwives, and nurse practitioners. They also provide supervision of patient care technicians and surgical technologists. Perinatal nurses perform post-operative care, conduct stress-test evaluations, and perform cardiac monitoring. Obstetrical nurses must possess specialized skills, and must have the ability to function in a variety of clinical environments.