Nurses can start out with an entry-level training program and progress through PhD level if so desired. An associate's degree is a two-year registered nurse (RN) program that focuses primarily on the skills that nurses will require when they go out to the field and treat patients. The next level is a four-year degree program that awards a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). This is obviously in more time-consuming and committed way of going but the extra education is an invaluable. This type of program offers a wider range of learning experiences, in a complete array of healthcare that in both practice and in theory makes is incredibly flexible nurses a godsend. This is exactly the reason that so many registered nurses choose to continue on to receive a BSN.
The growing trend across some of the more prestigious health care institutes is to require that the nurse has a BSN. The next level is a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. This is ideal for the nurse that has a great deal of experience in the field and like to do even more, for example, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse administrators. A Ph.D. or doctorates level and nurse can pretty much to whatever is needed short of being a physician themselves.