Nursing has come a long way from the days of Florence Nightingale. These days the profession needs a lot more than a clean white smock, a thermometer and a good bedside manner. Modern nurses need to have at least two years of basic education just to get licensed. That goes up to four, and maybe more, to get registered. The end result is there’s a serious shortage of nurses throughout the world these days.

In fact, the shortage of degreed nurses is rapidly becoming a critical situation. The Department of Labor projects that the U.S. alone will need 1 million more than there will be available. This is probably why it’s become one of the fastest growing areas of study at online colleges.

With these kinds of cold facts and numbers, it’s easy to see why nursing has become one of the most popular fields for online colleges. In fact, the demand has become so huge both pubic and private institutions are stepping in with a number of programs to fix the situation. If you are interested and need more information on graduate school scholarships, look on the internet.

To counter this, the U.S. government is offering a lot more than just standard Pell grants and similar financial aid. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois introduced the Nurse Training and Retention Act of 2007 on the floor of the Senate. It was a bill to fund comprehensive programs to ensure an adequate supply of nurses. It was referred to committee for study.

In April 2008, in the 110th Congress, H.R. 5924: Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act was introduced as a bill to the House of Representatives by Robert Wexler of Florida. It would amend the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 to lift the numerical limitations for employment based immigrants (and accompanying family members) for nurses and physical therapists until September 30, 2011, subject to a cap. The bill was referred to committees for study in Congress.

If that isn’t enough, private corporations such as Johnson & Johnson have stepped in and are now offering their own financial aid packages. Many private and state-run hospitals also offer assistance for educational advancement if a lower ranked nurse will stay with the institution and go to an online college. To find out more about these opportunities, it’s best to talk to the financial aid officer of the school(s) of your choice.

What’s more important these days is the chance for advancement within the field is growing exponentially. Upon licensing or registering, a nurse can look into such areas as medical billing, set up a practice as a nurse practitioner …there’s even such exotic possibilities like a need for nurses on cruise lines. For more information on single mothers nursing schools, check the web.

Salaries are also growing. As of 2008, the median salary of a nurse is $62,500. A nurse with two years experience, and has graduated from a nursing university makes a minimum of $33,000 while more experienced nurses can go over $100,000 a year. There is also an abundance of financial aid for careers in the medical field.