Explore a Career in Nursing

Have you ever thought about becoming a nurse?

A nurse might have cared for you when you got sick or injured at school, or when you went to an appointment in a clinic or hospital. Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in our state as well as in the nation. The women and men who are registered nurses work in many different settings and serve all communities.

There is a high need for nurses who represent all ethnic groups and other underrepresented populations. Registered nurses practice in a variety of settings, including:

Community Health CentersResearch labsHome health
Long-term-care/assisted living facilitiesColleges and universitiesOffices
The militaryJails and prisonsBusiness



Click here to read about various roles in nursing. 

Nurses have to be:

  • Quick learners
  • Problem solvers
  • Organized
  • Able to work well independently as well as a member of a team;
  • Good at math and science;
  • Good communicators;
  • At ease with technology;
  • Able to relate well to the feelings and thoughts of others.

Nurses’ work is exciting and rewarding. Nurses care for a person throughout his or her life: they’re there when babies are born; they care for people when they are ill, and they take care of people as they get older. Nurses spend the most time with patients and really get to know them, compared to other health professionals.

Nurses respond to emergencies. They perform physical exams and take people’s health histories; teach people how to stay healthy and avoid getting sick; give medications and take care of wounds; they get information about patients and make quick, important decisions about what needs to happen. They work alone or with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians and therapists.

By becoming a nurse, you’ll get opportunities to make a difference every day!


Learning to be a nurse

After you graduate from high school, you will have a few paths to becoming a registered nurse. As you search for a program that is the best for you, make sure it is on the Nursing Commission’s list of approved Washington State nursing programs.

Pre-licensure BSN programs. You can go to a university for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.  Like the BSN graduates, students who complete an associate’s degree in nursing at a community or technical college can take the NCLEX-RN, earning them a nursing license.  Obtaining a Bachelor’s in nursing is important because the additional education provides more preparation to care for an increasingly complex patient population. Having a BSN also provides more career opportunities.

LPN programs. You can also start a nursing career by becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) first. LPNs usually earn their degree at a community or technical college, pass the NCLEX-PN exam, and work under the supervision of an RN or physician. Earning an LPN takes less time than an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.  Many LPNs return to school to become Registered Nurses.

Associate Degree programs. You can also start your education at an associate degree program at a community or technical college, and go on to anRN-BSN program to obtain your bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Nurses’ education teaches them about the health and illness and how the body and mind work. They also learn how to manage other members of the health care team, such as nursing or medical assistants.

Registered Nurses in Washington State make an average of $67,000 a year, so it’s a field that will give you a great, stable future, and your salary will go up with more education and experience.