Nurses make the largest healthcare occupation in the U.S. Demand for nurses across the nation is likely to increase, owing to a number of factors including the growing number of nurses who are likely to retire, the aging population as well as advancement in healthcare technologies. Like the rest of the country, employment of nurses in Washington is expected to soar, as well. Understanding the growing demand for qualified nurses in the state, the nursing schools in Washington are training students and preparing them by helping them acquire skills useful to work as nurses.
What do nurses do?
Nurses are healthcare workers who are responsible for providing medical care to patients along with doctors and other healthcare experts. They make sure that patients in different settings get nursing care and also offer advice on medical conditions. Some nurses hold the title of registered nurses (RNs), while others work as licensed practical nurses (LPNs). RNs provide and coordinate patient care, and also offer advice and emotional support to patients and their family members, while LPNs assist them in this job. Some nurses also provide advanced medical care and hold positions such as advanced practical nurse or nurse midwives.
RN Programs in Washington State
Washington students who want to work as registered nurses can chose from a range of academic pathways, completion of which will enable them to sit for the RN license exam and earn the title of an RN. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs typically take one of the 3 educational paths:
- A diploma in nursing
- An associate degree in nursing
- A bachelor of science degree in nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A bachelor degree in nursing can be suitable for students who intend to apply for administrative, research or teaching positions. These programs generally take 4 years of full-time study to complete. Other than providing instruction in basic nursing care, the bachelor's degree generally includes education in the social and physical sciences, leadership, communication and critical thinking. Compared to other RN programs, students in this degree program also receive more clinical experience.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Students who want to gain foundational knowledge in nursing can pursue the associate degree that can typically be completed in 2 years but may take longer. Curriculum in this program may include courses in physiology, microbiology, anatomy, psychology, nutrition, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. In addition, students are also required to complete a supervised clinical experience.
Career outlook for Washington RNs
Registered nurses work in:
- Offices of physicians
- Home health care services
- Nursing and residential care facilities
According to O*NET OnLine, there were 54,550 RNs in Washington in 2012 and the state will require an addition of 2,230 RNs, each year, between 2012 and 2022.
How much do RNs in Washington earn?
The median annual income for RNs in Washington in 2013 was $75,500 (O*NET OnLine).