Nursing might be one of the first jobs that come to mind when you think about career options where you can make an impact on others. Nurses are absolutely essential to the healthcare system as we know it today and are often the main professionals responsible for providing patients with high standards of care. Nurses advocate for their patients and ensure that everybody is treated fairly, with compassion, empathy, and respect no matter what. Choosing a career as a nurse is very highly rewarding, and with a range of excellent career progression and advancement opportunities that nurses can pursue once they have an advanced degree qualification. Some of the most popular roles for nurses with advanced training and qualifications include:
Currently, nurse practitioners are some of the most in-demand health professionals in the industry. After gaining an advanced degree such as a masters degree in nursing, you can go on to take nurse practitioner training programs that are designed to prepare you for this role. Nurse practitioners will either work with the general population as a family nurse practitioner or choose another specialist area such as pediatric nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and more. Nurse practitioners have full practice authority in many states, which provides them with more responsibility and autonomy compared to registered nurses. In this role, nurse practitioners can run their own practices, provide official diagnoses to patients, and prescribe medication and treatments to patients without the need for a physician to sign off on their decisions.
Working as a nurse midwife is a specialist advanced nursing career that will require you to get an advanced degree like an MSN or DNP midwifery, which is available at Baylor University. Nurse midwifery is a very rewarding career choice for nurses who like the idea of working with moms and babies and helping to bring new life into the world. They support new moms throughout pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and during the post-partum stage offering healthcare, advice, and access to resources.
Right now, you are probably aware that the US is facing a shortage of nurses – this might even be something that you have experienced first-hand if you are currently working as a registered nurse. While there are several reasons behind this shortage in nursing including the aging population leading to more patients than there are nurses to care for along with older nurses retiring out of the profession, the main reason why the nursing shortage is not getting any better is that a lack of nurse educators has led to a struggle to put more nurses in the profession. There are thousands of people every year who apply to train to become nurses, but sadly, not all of them can be accepted as there are simply not enough educators to teach them. Working as a nurse educator is an ideal choice for experienced nurses with an advanced qualification, as it’s a slower-paced role where you can continue to make a difference through your students.
Nurse Management and Leadership
Every healthcare and nursing team requires somebody to lead them and ensure that the patient care provided meets required standards and is managed well. When you have an advanced degree in nursing, a leadership and management role might be an ideal choice for you if you enjoy working with people and taking on responsibilities. Nurse management and leadership is a good choice of career for nurses who want to move away from the bedside in their career and into a more administrative or office-based role.
Some Things to Consider When Choosing an Advanced Nursing Degree
When it comes to getting an advanced nursing degree such as an MSN or DNP, it’s important to remember that they are not all created equally. Some degree programs are designed to help you get into specific nursing specialty careers while others are focused on more general advanced training and can help you move in a variety of career directions. Before you decide on the right advanced degree program for you, there are various factors to consider. Some of the main things to think about include:
How to Study
Today, there are more online programs available than ever before for nurses who are interested in improving their career prospects. Studying online can be an ideal choice for you if you want to advance in your nursing career but are not able to take time away from your full-time nursing job to attend classes on-campus. Unlike in the past, nurses can now study from the comfort of their own homes with flexible learning schedules that they can fit to their needs rather than the other way around. Along with being less stressful as a result of this, it can also lead to more cost savings while getting an advanced nursing degree.
It’s worth having a conversation with your employer if you are interested in getting an advanced nursing degree and want to study for this while you are working full-time as a nurse. Many healthcare employers today recognize the value of having more highly-trained nurses on their workforce and have many strategies in place to offer support for you while you are studying and working at the same time.
Fees and Funding
Finally, while an advanced degree in nursing can be a great investment in your future, it’s important to consider the cost of getting an advanced qualification to further your career. Depending on your employer, you may be able to access tuition support programs where you will be able to get funding from your employer as long as you agree to continue working for them for a certain amount of time after you graduate. There are also student loans, scholarships, and other financial aid options available for advanced nursing degree students.
Nursing is a career with plenty of opportunities on offer. When you get an advanced degree in nursing, this can open up more interesting and lucrative career options in a range of different healthcare areas.