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Patient Dedication: 4 Nurses Who Helped Change the World

Anyone admitted to the hospital quickly learns that doctors might get all the glory, but it is really nurses who do most of the heavy lifting. Great nurses don't just check your vitals and carry out your treatment plan -- they provide comfort in what can be a scary, confusing time. And that is only the beginning. In fact, with the right balance of training and dedication, nurses can (and have) changed the world. Here are just four nurses who have done just that.

1. Clara Barton

"I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them." So said Clara Barton, one of the most famous (and undoubtedly most fearless) nurses in history. Barton launched her career treating soldiers in the field during the Civil War, and in 1881, founded the American Red Cross. A true humanitarian, Barton is as well known for her role in the advancement of women's rights as for the advancement of her profession.

2. Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale is often considered the mother of the modern nursing profession, so much so that to this day new nurses must take the Nightingale Pledge. Nightingale is best known for her nursing and sanitation reform efforts and her prominence as a teacher: in 1860, she founded the world's first secular school of nursing.

3. Sue Averill, RN

Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale may have defined the history of nursing, but nurses like Sue Averill are shaping its future. Averill launched her ER nursing career in 1979, but following a devastating 1985 earthquake in Mexico, quickly dedicated herself to humanitarian efforts. She has worked with groups like The Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders, providing nursing services to those in need in Asia, Africa, Latin America and beyond. In 2007, Averill teamed up with fellow RN Staci Kelley to found One Nurse at a Time, a Seattle-based non-profit designed to encourage and support nurses who want to volunteer abroad. In 2010, Averill was nominated for Nurse of the Year in Community Service by NurseWeek Magazine and the March of Dimes.

4. Sandra Walters, RN

Registered Nurse Sandra Walters proves that disaster-stricken or third world countries are not the only ones in need of a little compassion and humanitarianism; sometimes RNs can have the largest impact here at home. In 2006, Walters founded the Andre center for Breast Cancer Education and Navigation, a non-profit designed to help underserved breast cancer patients navigate a sometimes complicated health care system. Walters also provides patients -- most of whom are uninsured -- with no-cost education and support services. The center even helps raise funds for patients in dire need of housing, food or transportation.

Saving the world pays off

Nursing has its benefits, and not just for ailing patients. Sure, becoming a nurse will top up your karma card in a truly positive way, but it can also provide you with job (and financial) security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for registered nurses is projected to grow by 22 percent, 2008-2018. Earnings aren't too shabby either: the BLS notes that the median salary for RNs in 2010 was $64,690, though the top 10 percent earned in excess of $95,130. Of course, the right training is a must, and online registered nurse programs are a great start. Those already working in the field who want to improve their career stock even more can invest in online RN to BSN degrees or (for the super motivated) online RN to MSN programs. Research programs carefully, whichever route you choose, to ensure you find one that suits both your goals and learning style.


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  • Recognized in the first Best for Vets: Business Schools list in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
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  • Offers IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • Recognized in the first Best for Vets: Business Schools list in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
  • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
  • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
  • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
  • Offers IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • Good for Working Adults
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  • Within 6 months of graduation, over 90% of new graduates land jobs in their fields of study.
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  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC/NCA).
  • Within 6 months of graduation, over 90% of new graduates land jobs in their fields of study.
  • Offers an $18k College Completer Scholarship for transferring students who meet requirements.
  • All professors hold advanced degrees, many with MBAs and PhDs.
  • Classes start every 8 weeks, and curriculum is updated regularly with input from industry leaders.
  • More than 85% of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.
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Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

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  • The program culminates in a Master of Science degree, delivered online by Georgetown University’s nationally ranked School of Nursing & Health Studies External link.
  • The school was founded in 1903, dedicated to its mission, “to improve the health and well-being of all people.”
  • The program is a blend of highly interactive online class sessions, social connections between peers and faculty, and real-world clinical experiences.
  • Programs include health systems administration, international health, and more.
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  • The program culminates in a Master of Science degree, delivered online by Georgetown University’s nationally ranked School of Nursing & Health Studies External link.
  • The school was founded in 1903, dedicated to its mission, “to improve the health and well-being of all people.”
  • The program is a blend of highly interactive online class sessions, social connections between peers and faculty, and real-world clinical experiences.
  • Programs include health systems administration, international health, and more.
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  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine.
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
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  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning.
  • Online MBA program ranked 6th in the USA by CEO magazine.
  • In a university-sponsored survey, 4 out of 5 alumni reported being satisfied with their experience.
  • #1 Online School for military veterans according to Military Times.
  • 75,000+ graduates across all industries offer extensive networking opportunities.
  • My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.) lets students watch, view, read, or hear content.
  • Smartphone app available for on-the-go learning.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
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  • Ranked #11 in the 2014 Best Graduate Schools in Social Work by U.S. News & World Report.
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  • The first elite researching university to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
  • Has 1,600 field internship opportunities that give students real-world experience.
  • Through its 47 endowed scholarships, it has awared $200,000 to Ph.D students over the course of four years.
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  • Ranked #11 in the 2014 Best Graduate Schools in Social Work by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Offers more specialization opportunities than any other social work program, with 10 concentrations and sub-concentrations and 8 dual-degree programs.
  • The first elite researching university to offer a Master of Social Work degree online.
  • Has 1,600 field internship opportunities that give students real-world experience.
  • Through its 47 endowed scholarships, it has awared $200,000 to Ph.D students over the course of four years.
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  • Ranked #18 Best Education Schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
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  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
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  • Ranked #18 Best Education Schools by U.S. News and World Report in 2014.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
  • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
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  • Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.
  • Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.
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  • Through an agreement with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, its Yellow Ribbon Program provides tuition contributions to eligible students at a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Offers career-focused, degree programs to over 70,000 students at over 140 ITT Technical Institutes in 38 states.
  • Classes are offered year-round, typically in the daytime and evening. Online courses can be accessed anywhere, 24 hours a day. 
  • Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. 
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  • Through an agreement with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, its Yellow Ribbon Program provides tuition contributions to eligible students at a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Offers career-focused, degree programs to over 70,000 students at over 140 ITT Technical Institutes in 38 states.
  • Classes are offered year-round, typically in the daytime and evening. Online courses can be accessed anywhere, 24 hours a day. 
  • Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. 
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  • Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
  • Approved by all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Tuition Assistance (TA), and for benefits payments by the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits (VA).
  • Reviews applicants’ military and professional training for possible transfer credits, and honors credit earned through successful completion of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses.
  • Participates in GoArmyEd, Marine Corps Academic Explorer, The Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (CCAF), and many other virtual gateways.
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  • Founded in 1951 by World War II veteran Donald Grantham to provide affordable, higher education for service members and their families.
  • Approved by all branches of the United States Armed Forces for Tuition Assistance (TA), and for benefits payments by the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits (VA).
  • Reviews applicants’ military and professional training for possible transfer credits, and honors credit earned through successful completion of Defense Acquisition University (DAU) courses.
  • Participates in GoArmyEd, Marine Corps Academic Explorer, The Air University Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative (CCAF), and many other virtual gateways.
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • In a 2013 survey, 83% of students said they would recommend the university to others.
  • Most degree-seeking online and campus-based students are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Average class sizes is 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Founded in 1937 in Davenport, Iowa as the American Institute of Commerce (AIC).
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  • Ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1892 by the Free Methodist Church with the intent to provide a distinctive, Christ-centered college education for men and women. 
  • Its location in Greenville, Illinois, gives students opportunities for outreach, fun, hands-on-learning, and civic engagement.
  • Offers over 50 undergraduate majors as well as adult and graduate programs available online or at partnership locations.
     
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  • Ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1892 by the Free Methodist Church with the intent to provide a distinctive, Christ-centered college education for men and women. 
  • Its location in Greenville, Illinois, gives students opportunities for outreach, fun, hands-on-learning, and civic engagement.
  • Offers over 50 undergraduate majors as well as adult and graduate programs available online or at partnership locations.
     
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  • Ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1892 by the Free Methodist Church with the intent to provide a distinctive, Christ-centered college education for men and women. 
  • Its location in Greenville, Illinois, gives students opportunities for outreach, fun, hands-on-learning, and civic engagement.
  • Offers over 50 undergraduate majors as well as adult and graduate programs available online or at partnership locations.
     
Show more [+]
  • Ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1892 by the Free Methodist Church with the intent to provide a distinctive, Christ-centered college education for men and women. 
  • Its location in Greenville, Illinois, gives students opportunities for outreach, fun, hands-on-learning, and civic engagement.
  • Offers over 50 undergraduate majors as well as adult and graduate programs available online or at partnership locations.
     
Show more [+]
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