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Financing, Career Options & Salaries

Financing Your Education

The decision to begin your nursing education is a big one. Fortunately there are a number of resources available in the form of scholarships and/or grants. Just as it is important to contact a number of schools regarding educational opportunities being offered at their institution, it is wise to ask for information on financial assistance from a variety of sources. In addition to asking the schools to send you current resources for financial aid at the state and federal level, contact health care facilities and professional associations, as well as community service groups.

There are also publications available at your local bookstores on numerous sources of financial aide. The Florida Nurses Foundation offers a number of scholarships you can apply for once you are enrolled in a nursing program. Click here to obtain information or to apply or call (407) 896-3261.

Career Options

Once you choose a career in nursing the options are almost endless. Nurses can now work at the bedside giving direct care to patients but they may also seek advanced degrees and function as primary care providers as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs). Nurses work in various specialty areas in both of the roles mentioned above. Some examples of specialties are Pediatrics or Orthopedics. Medical Surgical Nurses are generalists who care for patients with a wide variety of illness and injuries on a nursing unit, while critical care nurses care for the more severely injured or acutely ill patients before they are stabilized. Nurses also work as managers of nursing units and other departments as well as administrators in hospitals. Nurse entrepreneurs are nurses who own their own businesses using nursing knowledge and expertise to create their own career paths. Nurses can work in physician's offices and in numerous roles in many different kinds of institutions and businesses such as insurance companies.

There are school nurses and occupational health nurses who work with people in various work environments to ensure health maintenance and prevention of illness and injury. Geriatric nurses may work at the bedside caring for the elderly or as nursing directors in long term care facilities ensuring an optimum quality of life for our aging population. Nurses who go on to achieve Master's and Doctoral degrees teach in colleges and universities and conduct nursing research to discover ways to make nursing better. These are just a few examples of the many opportunities available to those who choose this exciting career.

Salaries

Salaries vary depending on locale. However, the average starting salary for a new nurse in Florida in acute care ranges from an average of about $15.00/hr or $31,200/year. Salaries increase with experience. The salary range of an ARNP can range from $45,000 to over $90,000 generally. Salaries of nurse administrators are comparable to the ARNP salaries.