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Top Nursing Schools Producing Advanced Graduates

Sunday, December 12, 2010
  Producing Advanced Graduates For Demanding Careers(by:-Kayla Russell)

If you're a registered nurse or a student working toward a nursing degree, you might consider taking your education - and your profession - to another level. At the advanced practice specialty level, you might work more independently, making your own clinical decisions. You might also find that your services as an advanced practice registered nurse are in great demand.
Advanced practice registered nurses include clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. Where nurse practitioners might prescribe medication, and diagnose and treat common minor illnesses and injuries, they also serve at the forefront of primary and preventive healthcare services. Clinical nurse specialists might handle physical and mental health problems and work in consultation with physicians, as well as research, education and administration in their facility, the American Nurses Association notes. Certified nurse-midwives typically work in gynecological and low-risk obstetrical care, helping deliver babies in hospitals, birth centers, and private residences. Certified registered nurse anesthetists, the oldest of advanced practice nurses, administer the majority of anesthetics given to patients each year, according to the American Nurses Association.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that technological advances in patient care, a rising increase in patient care, and growing numbers of older people are to fuel fast employment growth for registered nurses overall. Registered nurses with at least a bachelors degree are to have better job prospects than those without, and advanced practice registered nurses are to be in high demand - especially in inner cities, rural areas and other medical care challenged communities, the Labor Bureau notes.
Accelerated and online degree components in nursing and advanced practice specialties might make it easier for professionals to further their education without too much employment interruption. There are also many scholarships and grants to help pay the tuition associated with campus and online college and university courses. Job security, as well as attractive salaries, could provide the payoff. Registered nurses, depending on where they live and work, might make $47,000 to $67,000 a year, including overtime, bonuses and profit sharing, according to The average annual salaries for nurse practitioners: About $70,000 to $92,000,
Some campus and online degree programs, including an offering from American Sentinel University, are known as "RN to MSN" programs, and they allow registered nurses to advance directly from a hospital diploma or associates degree to a masters degree. Boston-based Northeastern University, on the other hand, offers traditional and accelerated masters degree programs with a nurse anesthesia specialty, as well as a US Army Graduate Program in Nurse Anesthesia. Thanks to a Department of Health and Human Services grant to increase its program size and diversity, Northeastern University also provides many of its students, grants, even stipends. Registered nurse anesthetists are also the highest paid nurses, according to the National League for Nursing. In Massachusetts, the average salary for nurse anesthetists is between $130,000 and $150,000 a year, an August article in the Boston Herald noted.
The University of Cincinnati and Tennessee-based Vanderbilt University also provide flexible options for students seeking masters degrees in advanced practice specialties, according to their websites. At Vanderbilt University, an acute care nurse practitioner program for instance, allows registered nurses with two years of experience to work toward a masters degree without having to relocate or give up employment, its website shows. Vanderbilt University students in this nursing specialty program through online conferencing take courses on campus in blocks of time so that they're not away from home for extended periods and, where possible, are placed in clinical programs near where they live.
Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals and, with experience and good performance, often move to other settings or are promoted to positions with more responsibility, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Where 18 percent of registered nurses in 1977 had a bachelors degree, more than 34 percent had at least that by 2004, the American Nurses Association reports. The Tri-Council for Nursing in 2010 suggested that nurses advance their education to the graduate level so that they might help fill an urgent need in areas such as advanced practice registered nursing.