Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry and have gained even more importance since the pandemic. They’re responsible for patient care, emotional support, patient safety, etc. Due to their key role in patient care, experienced nurses are always highly sought-after.
Consequently, attaining advanced degrees and certifications in this field can be quite rewarding. It can enable you to land better and high-paying jobs, allowing you to excel in your career. As a nurse, you may influence many lives throughout your career. However, by landing bigger roles, you can make a positive impact on a bigger scale.
Degree Programs To Help Boost Your Nursing Career
The healthcare industry is constantly evolving. With new technology and methods, there’s always room for improvement for healthcare professionals. And one of the best ways to do so is by getting advanced degrees. While this will definitely help boost your career, it will also help increase your knowledge and develop and improve the necessary skills you’ll need as a nurse. So, here are some of the best degree programs to consider that help advance your nursing career.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Many healthcare facilities prefer to hire RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The degree helps you polish your patient care and other important nursing skills. Apart from that, a BSN can also help you land better jobs at reputable healthcare facilities.
However, it can be difficult for working nurses to pursue a full-time degree alongside their full-time job. Fortunately, RN-to-BSN degree programs work around your tough working schedule so you can earn a degree without quitting work. Since many reputable institutions offer online undergraduate programs, you can easily find one that makes earning your RN-to-BSN degree convenient. Like other fields, work experience is just as necessary as education to advance your career. So, if you want to study further without compromising on your work experience, an online degree might be perfect for you.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
MSN is a graduate degree that can help you prepare for advanced nursing opportunities. The degree can help you prepare for numerous nursing roles. Apart from that, it can increase your chances of getting better jobs. With an MSN, you can expect to earn around $120,870. However, this is just the starting salary. You can expect to earn much more as you gain more experience.
Here are some career paths you can choose and specialize in after completing your MSN.
Nurse practitioners have better responsibilities and more autonomy than RNs. They provide advanced nursing care and can diagnose and treat health conditions in patients. A nurse practitioner can work in various settings with or without the supervision of a doctor. In some states, nurse practitioners act as the primary care provider and can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications for health issues.
Nursing schools and colleges are always seeking experienced and qualified individuals to help prepare the new generation of nurses. So, if you have a knack for teaching and want to impart your wisdom, you can become a nurse educator after completing your MSN.
Leadership and Administration
Healthcare facilities have a fast-paced and ever-changing environment. They need experienced and skilled individuals to administer all important functions. If you have good leadership skills and don’t want to be involved in direct patient care, you can work in administration. You can manage the nursing department as a Healthcare Manager, Director of Nursing, etc.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
A CRNA is one of the hardest yet highest-paying nursing specializations. A CRNA is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse specializing in administering anesthesia to patients who are going through or recovering from surgery. They work with other medical professionals like dentists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons. As a CRNA, you will be responsible for the following:
- Educating patients about anesthesia
- Administering the right dose
- Checking for any change in vitals
- Identifying any possible risks
However, while this is a lucrative career path, it isn’t easy to pursue. Few programs offer this specialization, due to which they are highly competitive.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
A DNP is the highest level of education you can get for practice-based nursing training and is a doctorate-level degree. However, people often get confused between an MSN and DNP when choosing an advanced degree.
Nurses with a DNP are highly sought after and are necessary for the future of healthcare. Mostly, nurses go for higher leadership roles after completing their DNP. They focus on the business side of healthcare facilities and can also work in non-clinical settings such as government agencies.
On the other hand, you can also take on the role of a primary healthcare provider after getting a DNP with a major in Family Nurse Practitioner. You can use your skills and expertise in family medicine if you are passionate about helping people and working in direct patient care.
Ph.D. in Nursing
A Ph.D. in Nursing is a doctoral degree and the highest level of education for nurses who want to work in education and research instead of leadership roles or patient care.
As a nurse researcher, you will be responsible for the following:
- Identifying areas that require research
- Applying for grants to conduct research
- Collect, analyze, and report scientific data and results
- Overseeing laboratories and training new staff
A Ph.D. nurse educator has similar duties to a nurse educator with an MSN. However, they have more experience and skills. As a nurse educator, you may be responsible for the following:
- Planning the curriculum
- Choosing study materials
- Delivering lectures
- Supervising student work
- Mentoring aspiring nurses
Nursing is a rewarding career. You get to help people and influence lives. As rewarding as it is, it’s also a well-paid career option because competent and skilled nurses are always in demand to help maintain the quality of health services. However, nursing is not limited to patient care only. You can pursue a career that suits your interests. All you need to do is keep learning and choose a degree program to get you one step closer to achieving your goals.
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