Welcome back readers! Thanks to all of you who participated in the International Education Week celebrations last week with the US Consulate Hyderabad and United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF).
If you may remember, we started talking about popular fields of studies available at the undergraduate and graduate level in US higher education institutions earlier this year in this column. We discussed the fields of engineering, business administration, and aeronautics & aviation. Readers may refer to the earlier columns published in this space to understand these fields of studies. In today’s column, we continue our discussion on popular fields of studies and talk about the field of nursing.
The study of the nursing profession in the United States starts at the undergraduate (or bachelor’s) level. The different degree options in nursing at the undergraduate level are: Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), and diploma programmes. The three degrees are entry options for students to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
The BSN degree, which is a four-year programme, is offered by universities and colleges. Community and junior colleges offer the two-year ADN degree. Diploma programmes are administered by health institutions (like hospitals) and are of 2-3 years duration. At any level, the curriculum in the undergraduate programme includes coursework in anatomy, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, nutrition, behavioural sciences, and the liberal arts. Training also involves internships at hospitals and other health care settings for applied learning.
At the graduate level, students have various options. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree prepares nurses for leadership, advanced clinical practice specialities, and doctoral study. Students have the option to choose from among various specialities like Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Administrator, etc. Nurses interested in an academic or research career may pursue the traditional research-oriented Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
The professional Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree allows nurses to advance to leadership positions in clinical practice, administration, and/or research. Some universities also offer joint graduate degrees in nursing along with other fields of study, for example MSN and MBA, MSN and EdD (Doctor of Education), and MSN and MHA/MPH (Master of Health Administration or Public Health).
The admission requirements for both undergraduate and graduate programmes vary by institution. Especially for international students, applicants need to understand eligibility criteria, programme/institution accreditation status, and recognition of the programme in their home country.
Students should seek admission to only accredited nursing schools and programmes. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) are recognised accreditation agencies for baccalaureate nursing programmes in the US. Also, students should make sure that the nursing school is approved by the State Board of Nursing.
Nursing CAS is an online application service for students applying to nursing programmes at all levels (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States. For the list of participating nursing schools and application procedures, please visit <http://nursingcas.org>.
Students are advised to look up individual nursing programme websites for academic eligibility, admission requirements, and procedures. If the nursing school of your choice is not among those participating in the Nursing CAS, then you should apply directly to the respective school.
Nurses must be licensed through the nursing board of the State where they wish to practise. So, after completion of an accredited nursing programme, students must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEXRN).
Foreign educated nurses who wish to practise in the United States must complete the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification program, which in most of the US States is required prior to the NCLEXRN exam.
Licensure requirements vary by State. Students must contact the relevant State board of nursing for specific requirements. Candidates for CGFNS certification must take the TOEFL to demonstrate English language proficiency if they are from countries where English is not the native language and the medium of instruction is not English in schools. For details, see: <http://www.cgfns.org> .
Students may refer to the following organizations affiliated with the study of Nursing in the U.S.:
– American Association of Colleges of Nursing www.aacn.nche.edu <http://www.aacn.nche.edu>
– National Student Nurses Association www.nsna.org <http://www.nsna.org>
– American Nurses Association <http://www.nursingworld.org/>
– National League for Nursing www.nln.org <http://www.nln.org>
– National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc (NLNAC) www.nlnac.org <http://www.nlnac.org>
– American Nurses Foundation <http://www.anfonline.org/>
– CGFNS International www.cgfns.org <http://www.cgfns.org>
– National Council of State Boards of Nursing www.ncsbn.or <http://www.ncsbn.or>
Monika Setia- (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the US – India Educational Foundation based at the US Consulate General Hyderabad)