“21st Century nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together.” This quote is from the American Nursing Association, and it provides insight into why Carls are increasingly attracted to the nursing profession. While it is true that Carleton does not offer a degree in nursing, it is also true that a Carleton education prepares students well to pursue a career in nursing. Each year, between 2 and 5 students and alumni continue their education after Carleton in nursing programs. Christina Tarazi graduated from Carleton in 2018 with a degree in Spanish and then earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University. Currently, Christina is working as a Clinical Nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. In the fall of 2022, Christina will enter the Doctorate of Nursing Practice-Family Nurse Practitioner program at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago. The following information was provided by Christina. 

What is Nursing? 

Nursing is a patient-centered practice. In nursing school, you will learn the biological, physical, and behavioral sciences required to treat patients, and also about health assessments, bedside care, and public health. Nursing combines physical care and social support and can be practiced in a variety of healthcare settings. After nursing school, students take the NCLEX and become licensed as a registered nurse (RN). Nursing is a flexible field. It is common for nurses to find themselves switching fields, such as from Dermatology to Oncology, or from a hospital setting to a clinic setting. The demand for nurses also is increasing, so with an RN your chances of getting a job are very high. Nursing is an evolving field with many opportunities for personal and career growth, as nurses are given more autonomy and responsibility in many settings. 

Nursing School Programs 

There are several different certificates and degrees in the field of Nursing. For those with a bachelor’s degree, such as Carleton graduates, there are two direct entry degree programs: the Bachelors of Science of Nursing (Direct Entry BSN) or the Master’s of Science of Nursing (Direct Entry MSN). Direct Entry means that you can have a Bachelors in a non-nursing field. BSN programs are post-bacc meaning that after the program you would receive a second bachelors in nursing and become a registered nurse. Direct Entry BSN programs are accelerated (ABSN) and can be completed in about 16 months. This program is fast paced and after a little over a year you can start working as an RN. 

The Masters of Science of Nursing are usually longer, averaging about 2 years. At the end of the MSN you will have a Masters and an RN. Having a Masters level RN will allow you to move to a leadership position and higher pay grade faster.

There are also direct entry Nurse Practitioner programs available to students with a degree in a non-nursing field. It is more common however to have a RN before entering an NP program. 

There are BSN to NP programs but they are often longer than MSN to NP. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice is the highest level practicing nurse. It is becoming very common for NP programs to be online so RNs can complete the program while working full time. 

DNPs can work independently of an MD, usually in collaboration with the health care system they work for. DNPs can run their own clinics and can practice and prescribe within the scope determined by the state. 

There are also PhD programs in Nursing for those that want to do research. Typically nurse executives are nurse practitioners or RNs with significant experience or additional training.