Nursing is a profession filled with many opportunities. Depending upon a nurse’s education and experience, that nurse can work within dozens of different environments and with just as many different patients and technical tools. You’ll find few other professions that can offers this rewarding combination of “high tech and high touch.”

Nurses are in high demand today, as advances in health care are helping people to live longer; therefore, there are more elderly people who need care. Also, the number of people who are sicker and in need of skilled nursing is growing, and more nurses are needed outside the hospital environment. Finally, the current nursing workforce is aging. As more nurses retire, more will be needed to replace their expert care. This means that a nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) can easily find jobs right out of college, as these nurses are well trained in nursing theory and in clinical skills.

But, no matter the degree, educated and skilled nurses can find jobs in hospitals, long-term care facility, health clinics, outpatient care and surgery centers, medical offices, home care, corporate health centers, insurance and managed care companies, research centers, in the military or in volunteer organizations such as the Peace Corps, as teachers and in administration or health care management. While cruise nurses fulfill a dream to travel, nurses don’t need to work on cruise ships to see the world. New organizations that offer nurses jobs in different parts of the U.S. or the world are available in month-long to year-long stints. As the nursing profession evolves, nurses could find career opportunities in many other situations as well. Anytime there’s a need to help another individual, that’s where a nurse could help.

Outside of all the different environments for nursing, a nursing career also is partitioned into specialties and sub-specialties that can provide a lifetime of learning for a nurse. In the hospital environment alone, a nurse could work at a patient’s bedside, but that nurse also could find opportunities in operating rooms and trauma centers as a surgical nurse, as an X-ray and diagnostics technician, in surgical and recovery units, pediatrics, obstetrics, laboratories, ambulance and helicopter transport, medical records and more. The difficult part of becoming a nurse is deciding where and how you want to fit in!

The hospital environment provides just one scenario for nursing skills. Nurses are needed in specialty-care centers like burn and cancer units, children’s hospitals and elder-care facilities. Nurses also can apply skills in psychology or psychiatry, in leadership situations and in areas where program management is vital. As your experience increases and if you apply more education as your career develops, you can branch out into careers such as a consultant, flight nurse, forensic nursing, research, plastic surgery, or even as a medical writer or editor for a publication.

Unlike any other career, nursing provides creative opportunities for those who seek to fill these roles. No matter if you like to work in a confined environment or if you’d rather travel the world, the responsibilities for nurses are the same: nurses are health care advocates who help to shape health policies and healthy lives.

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Top 10 Online Nursing Schools

University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix — BSN, MSN, and Certificate. The University of Phoenix is the nation's largest online university and currently offers several nursing programs at three different degree levels, based on previous nursing education and experience.

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Kaplan University
Kaplan University — Bachelor's, and Master's Nursing Degrees. Kaplan's School of Nursing offers specializations for nurse administrators and nurse educators.

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Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University — BS in Nursing (BSN) and MBA/MS in Nursing. Grand Canyon University offers a unique MBA/MS in nursing degree program that teaches students about the business aspect of healthcare, specifically nursing healthcare. Current nurses who want more business experience will find this may be an ideal fit.

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Liberty University
Liberty University — RN to BSN Degree and MSN Degree. The Department of Nursing at Liberty prepares students for baccalaureate level nursing, putting strong emphasis on Christian ethical standards and viewing nursing as a ministry of caring.

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Walden University
Walden University — M.S. in Nursing (RN Track), M.S in Nursing (BSN Track). Walden offers a wide variety of nursing degrees and certificates that are all accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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