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Nursing Education: Admission requirements vary in USA

Admission requirements and procedures for study and entry into professions in the US vary from those in home countries of international students.

Basic study for the nursing profession in the U.S. takes place at the undergraduate level. The Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), and a diploma are three entry options to Registered Nursing (RN).

The BSN is a four-year degree program offered by universities and colleges while the ADN degree offered by community and junior colleges is a 2 year degree program. Diploma programs administered in hospitals take 2- 3 years to complete. The undergraduate curriculum focuses on the sciences and principles of nursing practice with coursework in anatomy, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, nutrition, behavioral sciences and the liberal arts, along with supervised experiential training in hospitals and other varied health care settings.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree prepares nurses for leadership, advanced clinical practice specialties and doctoral study. Areas of specialties include Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Administrator, Adult Health Nursing, Primary Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia, and Certified Nurse Mid-Wives among others.

The traditional research Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree prepares nurses for academia or research and the recently initiated Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares nurses to advance their knowledge and competencies and attain leadership positions in clinical practice, administration and translational research.

Joint degrees may include MSN/MBA, MSN/Ed.D, MSN/MHA, MSN/MPH, MSN/JD.

NursingCAS is an online application service for students applying to nursing programs in the U.S. For the list of participating nursing schools and application procedures, please go to
Note: Students are advised to look up individual nursing program websites for academic eligibility, admission requirements and procedures. If the nursing school of your choice is not among those participating in the NursingCAS, then apply directly to the respective school.

Nursing Licensure: Nurses must be licensed through the nursing board of the state where they wish to practice. After completion of an accredited nursing program, students must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Foreign educated nurses who wish to practice in the U.S. must complete the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) certification program, which in most US states is required prior to the NCLEX – RN 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 belong to countries where English is not the native language and the medium of instruction is not English in schools. For details see:

Registered Nurses (RN) may consider opportunities as a general duty nurse, critical care nurse, cardiovascular nurse, ambulatory nurse, home health nurse, ophthalmic nurse, pediatric nurse, public health nurse, women’s health nurse, informatics nurse, occupational health nurse, case management nurse, infection control nurse, school nurse, public health nurse, legal nurse, emergency or trauma nurse, diabetes management nurse, nurse executive, consultant, faculty, researcher or engage in business. Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) could work as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse mid-wives and certified nurse anesthetist.

Organizations affiliated with the study of Nursing:
Some journals related to the study of Nursing:
American Journal of Nursing, Journal of Nursing Administration, Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Journal of Clinical Nursing, Journal of Community Health Nursing, Nursing Research, Journal of Nursing Management, Nursing Ethics, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal , Geriatric Nursing, Journal of Professional Nursing, Journal of Cancer Nursing
Published date : 06 Apr 2012 05:17PM

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