RN Programs in Virginia

Virginia is a prominent U.S that that is recognized for its rich history, latest technologies, and classic Southern charm. Money Magazine considers Virginia as one of the Best Places to Live while Forbes ranks Virginia #1 Best State for Business. Throughout the recession, Virginia has stayed below the national average with unemployment peaking at 7.3% in early 2010 and falling to 5.5% in 2012. Overall employment in Virginia is projected to grow 17.8% by 2020. The healthcare sector is one of the most promising for the economy. According to Workforce West Virginia, a number of healthcare occupations will be in demand between 2010 and 2020. Registered nurses, the largest healthcare occupation in U.S, are also in demand during the same projected period. Those who wish to become a registered nurse in Virginia need to complete an approved program and obtain a license to work.


What do RNs do?

Registered nurses (RNs) work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. They may also educate patients, families, and communities about health issues. Some of the common duties of these healthcare professionals are:

  • Observing, assessing, and recording symptoms, reactions, and progress in patients
  • Assisting physicians during surgeries, treatments, and examinations
  • Administering medications
  • Assisting in convalescence and rehabilitation

Besides, registered nurses develop and manage nursing care plans, and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or maintain their health. They may also supervise licensed practical nurses and nursing aides.

RN’s in hospitals are typically assigned to one department, such as maternity, the emergency room or intensive care while office nurses care for outpatients in physicians’ offices, ambulatory surgical centers, and emergency medical centers. Some RNs also perform routine laboratory and office work.


RN Programs in Virginia

According to Virginia Department of Health Professionals, Virginia had 53 RN educational programs (diploma, Associate Degree and Baccalaureate Degree programs) in 2008.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are three major educational paths to registered nursing. These include:

  • A Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN)
  • An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • A Diploma in Nursing


Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) programs is offered by a number of colleges and universities in the state of Virginia. These programs combine clinical experience with classroom learning and instruct students in a number of topics. The program instructs in leadership, communication and problem solving, in addition to nursing fundamentals. Students can complete a BSN degree in 4 years if they enroll full time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree or higher is useful for those who seek administrative roles or positions in teaching, research and consulting. To enroll in a BSN program in Virginia, candidates need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, submit SAT or ACT scores and fulfill other requirements such as providing college transcript(s).

Coursework in the BSN programs will focus in areas such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology and psychology. Some of the topics of study may include:

  • Social science
  • Community health
  • Leadership
  • Nursing research practices
  • Health promotion
  • Nutrition


Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An associate in nursing is an undergraduate degree that typically requires 2 years of full time study that focuses on providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet prevention, health maintenance, health promotion and restorative needs of patients.

These programs are generally offered by community and junior colleges in Virginia and prepare graduates to be providers of patient care and coordinators of professional nursing duties. Students learn the art and science of nursing with a focus on the application of theory to clinical practice. Graduates can take the NCLEX-RN exam through the State Board of Nursing and earn the title of an RN.


Diploma in Nursing

Diplomas in nursing prepare students for entry level positions in the field. Graduates can sit for the state’s license exam for RNs. The program provides students with both classrooms based learning as well as clinical experience to gain practical nursing skills. Students can complete a nursing diploma in three years but the duration varies depending on the enrollment status of the candidates. Common coursework include instruction in areas such as:

  • Pediatric patient care
  • Nursing the elderly
  • Surgical nursing
  • Foundations in nursing
  • Trends in nursing


What opportunities are available for RNs in Virginia?

According to O Net Online, projected annual employment opening for RNs in Virginia between 2010 and 2020 are 2,620. Registered nurses in Virginia generally work in the following settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Home Healthcare
  • Outpatient Care Centers
  • Schools
  • Mental Health Agencies
  • Research
  • Private Practice
  • Public Health
  • Primary Care Clinics

According to Virginia Department of Health Professionals, hospitals are the major employers of all RNs. It also notes that 91% of Virginia RNs are satisfied with their jobs.


Role of RNs in Virginia

Virginia Department of Health Professionals cites that most employed RNs work in a clinical role (77%) while others assume managerial/administrative role and education/staff development roles.


Salaries for RNs in Virginia

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean pay for RNs in Virginia in 2013 was $63,150.


Virginia Nursing Scholarship Programs

The state of Virginia offers a number of funding options for eligible nursing students. Through these, students can manage the cost of their education as well as their living expenses. Some of the scholarships and grants for nursing students in the state include:

  • Virginia Nurse Educator Scholarship Program
  • Mary Marshall Nursing Scholarship for Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Marshall Nursing Scholarship for Registered Nurse
  • Virginia's Nurse Practitioner/ Nurse Midwife Scholarship Program


What are the opportunities for advancement?

RNs in Virginia can also pursue advanced programs such as a master’s or PhD program to specialize in a particular field and qualify for positions in academia or research. RNs with master’s degree generally pursue careers as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, or nurse practitioners while those who earn a doctoral degree in nursing become postsecondary teachers in colleges and universities.



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