Nursing: Unlimited Possibilities and Unlimited Potential

Each year the Gallup Poll conducts a survey of the American public to determine the ten most respected professions in the country. Since 2001, registered nurses have topped that list.

More registered nurses (2.7 million in 2010) work in healthcare than any other professional position; at the same time, a national shortage of qualified nurses exists and is projected to become significantly worse by 2020. As new nursing positions become available and a significant number of registered and licensed practical nurses approach retirement age, there are opportunities for recent graduates of accredited nursing programs throughout the country.

However, in an era of new medical technology and increased specialization in patient care, healthcare administrators are becoming more discerning; offers of employment are extended to recent graduates of accredited baccalaureate nursing programs in far greater numbers than those offered to licensed practical nurses or registered nurses who successfully completed a hospital-based diploma program as well as those with an associate degree in nursing from a community college or professional school.

This course provides students opportunities to compare and contrast the various academic and clinical training pathways to an entry-level position in nursing and to explore the growing number of opportunities for professional advancement given the proper preparation and experience.

In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the majority of provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which will extend health insurance benefits to an additional thirty-two million residents of this country and represents the most significant changes in healthcare since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid. Nurses will continue to play a pivotal role in the care and treatment of these patients as well as have opportunities to make significant contributions to a new definition of healthcare.

Partially in response to these rapid changes in healthcare, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Academies' Institute of Medicine conducted a thorough study of the current state of nursing as well as the profession's role in the future. This study, The Future of Nursing, has grown into a national initiative to redefine nursing education and scope of practice.

In this course, students will have several opportunities to learn about the expanding scope of professional practice for registered nurses and better understand the important changes proposed in the education and ongoing professional development of nurses.

A project at the end of this course will assist students in focusing their ambition and commitment to nursing service by better defining their available educational and clinical training opportunities.


  • Compare and contrast a variety of careers in nursing on the basis of academic preparation, scope of practice, training, licensure, patient contact, management/administrative responsibilities, and lifestyle.
  • Examine nursing skills common to all nursing professions and explore skill sets that are specific to a nursing specialty or discipline.
  • Calculate dosage given age, gender, anthropometric data and specific medication.
  • Examine the history of the nursing profession and its contributions to health care through time.
  • Evaluate case studies for scientific content and issues of ethics, privacy, and legal limitations to practice.

State: National, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Health Science
Course Length: Semester