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Nursing is a great career with many advancements and benefits Registered nurses RNs work to promote health prevent disease and help patients cope with illness They are advocates and health educators for patients families and communities When providing direct patient care they observe assess and record systoms reactions and progress in patients assist physicians during surgeries treatments and examinations administer medications and assist in convalescence and rehabilitation RNs also develop and manage nursing care plans instruct patients and their families in proper care and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or mantain their health While state laws govern the tasks that RNs may perform it is usually the work setting that determines their daily job duties In all States and the District of Columbia students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license Nurses may be licensed in more than one State either by examination by the endorsement of a license issued by another State or through a multi-State licensing agreement All States require periodic renewal of licenses which may involve continuing education There are three major educational paths to registered nursing a bachelors of science degree in nursing BSN an associate degree in Nursing ADN and a diploma BSN programs offered by colleges and universities take about 4 years to complete In 2002 678 nursing programs offered degrees at the bachelors level ADN programs offered by community and junior colleges take about 2 to 3 years to complete About 700 RN programs in 2002 were at the ADN level Diploma programs administered in hospitals last about 3 years Only a small and declining number of programs offer diplomas Generally licensed graduates of any of the three types of educational programs qualify for entry-level positions as staff nurses Many ADN- and diploma-educated nurses later enter bachelors programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice Often they cna find a
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