What is Nursing
Nursing is one of the few professions in which the career opportunities are outnumbered only by the personal rewards. It combines the challenges of fast-paced technology and science with the desire to help care for others.
Every day, nurses use their skill and knowledge to care for people. They are present at the most critical times in a person’s life—at birth and death, in times of happiness and grief. They also help patients through the everyday struggle of staying healthy. Nurses use all of the scientific technology that is available to modern practitioners, but they also use their hands and their hearts to touch the lives of their patients.
Nursing is a career with a positive future—open to both men and women. It is a career in which you can touch the lives of thousands of people every year.
Career Opportunities in Nursing
Nursing is the nation’s largest health care profession. Nurses are the primary providers of hospital patient care, with three of five nurses working in the hospital setting. The demand for nurses is already great and is expected to continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Good jobs and good salaries are almost guaranteed.
Few careers offer as much flexibility and diversity as nursing. Nurses choose from a variety of positions in any part of the world—practicing in hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, research centers, industrial and corporate wellness centers, nursing homes, hospices, and private homes. Because patients need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nurses can find full- or part-time positions with hours to fit their personal needs.
Job security and good salaries are not the only reasons to become a nurse. Nurses are healers, caregivers, counselors, teachers, and friends who serve other people. The satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in another person’s life is the greatest reward in nursing.
Salary Trends in Nursing
Entry-level nurses are being offered salaries as high as $37,000 to $45,000, depending on the region of the country. Areas of high demand may lead employers to offer other benefits such as sign-on bonuses. Salaries for nurses with advanced degrees range from $60,000 to $160,000, depending on the area of specialization.
High School Preparation
Students interested in nursing are encouraged to learn about the profession through volunteer work, shadowing opportunities, and/or research. High school students should have a strong background in chemistry, biology and other lab science courses. Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses should take the national AP exam.
How to Major in Nursing
Admission into the Nursing major is highly selective, based on the number of available clinical positions. The College of Nursing must limit enrollment in clinical nursing courses in order to ensure access to adequate clinical facilities and to maintain required faculty-to-students ratios. There are two opportunities to apply for the nursing major.
Incoming freshman applicants must indicate the major code for the College of Nursing when applying through the UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Application and scholarship deadlines are determined each year by the UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students admitted into the College of Nursing in the first year are selected on academic achievement at the high school level, test scores on the ACT and/or SAT, and interest in and commitment to nursing. Students are eligible to continue in the major as long as they meet specified requirements.
Change of Major and Transfer students may apply for an open position in the upper-division nursing courses. This process typically takes place in January of the sophomore year. Selection of applicants is competitive (based primarily on academic achievement in college coursework), and the opportunity to transfer into the major is not assured. Therefore, students are advised to continue to progress in their current major while completing prerequisite courses and/or apply to more than one nursing program. Students who want to pursue the nursing major are encouraged to meet with an academic advisor in the College of Nursing.
The College of Nursing also offers an RN to BSN program for Registered Nurses (licensed in Tennessee or one of the compact states) who hold associate degrees or diplomas in nursing.
Requirements for Nursing
In order to obtain a BSN degree, students are required to successfully complete eight semesters of full-time study for a total of 123 semester hours. The program is designed to accommodate high school graduates, transfer students and registered nurses with associate degrees or diplomas in nursing.
Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships
The undergraduate program combines the unique resources of the UT campus with those of the University of Tennessee Medical Center and many other outstanding hospitals and health care agencies where clinical skills are developed. The College also encourages students to gain externship experience during the summer between the junior and senior years.
Highlights of Nursing
Nursing students have clinical experience in at least two of their courses each semester of the junior and senior years. Clinical courses include an emphasis on health promotion, health maintenance and restoration, and a strong family and community orientation. Graduates of the program are prepared to
- assume beginning leadership positions in nursing in a variety of settings;
- work collaboratively with other health professionals;
- function as socially conscious and contributing citizens; and
- pursue advanced education on either a formal or informal basis.
Our graduates consistently achieve pass rates on the NCLEX licensure exam that exceed state and national averages, and our alumni are successful in all areas of nursing and in graduate education.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year. Students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language or take courses within their majors.
Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. Because of the structured sequence of the upper-division course work in nursing, most nursing majors choose to study abroad in a summer term or during the first two years.
The College of Nursing offers international medical service trips for a group of juniors, seniors, and graduate students each year. The students and faculty join area nurses, physicians and dentists in providing health care to citizens of remote and under-served areas. These intense clinical experiences provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves into new cultures while developing and sharpening their clinical skills. The international experience includes providing primary health care to under-served populations, introduction to tropical medicine, assessing community health needs and providing health care education. In recent years, trips have been arranged in Costa Rica, Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.
For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.
Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
Academic Plan and Milestones
Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.
To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, go to http://catalog.utk.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=14&poid=5213.
For More Information
Student Services Office
College of Nursing, Room 203
1200 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4180
The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.