The World of Nursing

Nursing is one of Kentucky’s fastest growing occupations. The Kentucky Center for Statistics projects that jobs in registered nursing will increase 12.2 percent between 2016 and 2026. How will you find your way to a career in nursing?

Registered Nurse

You can earn a registered nurse (RN) license by getting an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or by getting a four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN).

The healthcare field is pushing for more nurses to have bachelor’s degrees. The Institute of Medicine has proposed in 2010 that the percentage of nurses with a BSN be increased from 55 percent to 80 percent by 2020.

Training can be found through colleges and universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. For a list of nursing schools in Kentucky, see the Kentucky Board of Nursings website.

For the first time, an apprenticeship is available for student nurses in Kentucky. The Student Nurse Apprenticeship Program is based at Norton Healthcare in Louisville.

Some RNs further their education by getting master’s or doctoral degrees and becoming advanced practice nurses (APRNs). APRNs include nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. In Kentucky, the average pay for APRNs is $119,818 per year.

Licensed Practical Nurses

Kentucky also needs licensed practical nurses. The Kentucky Center for Statistics projects that LPN jobs will increase 7.6 percent between 2016 and 2026. An LPN has a more limited practice than a registered nurse and works under the supervision of RNs or physicians.  According to the Kentucky Board of Nursing, LPN training programs require 40-46 credits.

Nursing Assistants

Some people get their start in nursing by becoming nursing assistants.

In the direct care field, nursing assistants (also called nurse aides) are second in demand only to registered nurses. Nursing assistants work under the supervision of an RN or LPN. They help provide basic care for patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. Many nursing assistants are the principal caregivers for geriatric patients in nursing homes.

Nursing assistants in Kentucky must complete a state-approved training program, then pass the test for the State Registered Nursing Assistant License. The training programs take up to 12 weeks. For a complete list of approved training providers, contact the Cabinet for Health and Family Services at (502) 564-6890.

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