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It takes a whole team of professionals to tend to the nation’s health care needs, and nurses are the linchpin that keep the health care system running.They provide the bulk of daily care, serve as liaisons between patients and physicians and, in some cases, even fill the role of doctors.Nurses’ responsibilities vary by specialization or unit, but most share more similarities than differences.Nurses provide and monitor patient care, educate patients and family members about health conditions, provide medications and treatments, give emotional support and advice to patients and their family members, and more.Readers hooked by articles ranking the “best” and “top” jobs are likely already savvy to the idea that health care is one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying industries in the nation, and that nurses are leading the charge.From diploma to doctorate, the nursing field offers rewarding careers for nurses at every education level.Nursing has long been a hot job, but aging baby boomers, health care reform and medical advances have kicked demand for these professionals into even higher gear.
They might feed or bathe patients, monitor patient vitals and check and apply bandages.
Learn more about some of the most popular nursing careers below.
Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses are entry-level nurses; which title they use is dictated more by geography than job function.
Nurse practitioners typically earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or, increasingly, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
They also earn additional certifications in specialized disciplines such as critical care, family medicine and pediatrics.
Those with more experience and graduate degrees might supervise other nurses, teach nursing, become nurse practitioners or do research. Although nurses working in physicians’ offices, schools, corporate settings or other places with traditional hours may work regular shifts with set schedules, those working in nursing facilities and hospitals providing round-the-clock care often have to work long weekend and holiday shifts.