Nursing is an occupation that is high in demand both locally and nationally. It offers plenty of opportunities for good pay and other benefits, but requires a certain level of skill. Some nurses choose to raise their skill level even higher by pursuing careers as advanced practice nurses.
Advanced practice nurses are RNs who have additional education and training. This advanced education and training enables them to perform tasks most RNs wouldn’t be qualified to carry out; including prescribing medication and medical devices, providing expert consultations in a variety of nursing specialties ranging from cardiology to psychiatric-mental health, administering anesthesia, pain management and emergency services, like airway management, and aiding in home births and pre-natal care, depending on which area the advanced nurse chooses to specialize in.
In Orange County alone, the occupation of RNs ranks 12th for projected job openings through 2020. This increase in demand for RNs will bring the total number of registered nurses in the county to 22,850 by the end of the decade. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, all four advanced-specialties (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives) will be in high demand through 2020, especially in inner cities and rural areas where medical care is in demand and advanced-practice nurses can serve as low-cost primary-care providers.
The options are limitless for students with an associate degree in nursing; they can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a career as a registered nurse, or they can continue their education and training and become an advanced practice nurse.
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