An advanced nursing degree program can to help you become the best nurse you can be. Our eight-part blog series walks an adult learner thought the process of going back to school.
Planning Your Career Path
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for nurses will expand by 16 percent between 2014 and 2024. Yet in addition to this enviable job security, nurses are also fortunate to have such broad options when it comes to choosing a career path within nursing. There are currently over 100 recognized nursing specialties, and many of them are eligible for voluntary certification through a professional organization.
No matter what type of personality you have, you can find a nursing specialization that aligns with your interests, career goals, and income requirements. You can stay close to the bedside or choose a job with little to no patient contact. You can work in either a hospital or a community setting. You can seek out a career that combines nursing science with another professional area of interest, like law, education, or computer science. You can move into middle management or the executive suite, and you can even own your own business as a nurse entrepreneur.
Even nurses who want to work in direct patient care are choosing to specialize, by developing strong clinical expertise around a specific type of medical condition or patient population—and perhaps gaining certification in an area like geriatrics, dialysis, genetics, public health, oncology, or trauma, just to name a few.
This growing emphasis on specialization stems from an expanding knowledge base and the ever-increasing complexity of healthcare today. Nurses who choose to specialize find it comes with many benefits, including increased respect and recognition, greater job security, and enhanced career satisfaction.
Your RN license and a few years of clinical experience will form the foundation you need to branch off in any direction. Yet, nurses who have their eye on a particular nursing specialty will need a plethora of new knowledge, as well as skills in strategizing, problem-solving, and forming collaborative relationships. This is where education comes in to play, as your passport to the career of your dreams.
A BSN can give you a broader perspective of healthcare systems and policies in a way that will allow you to “connect the dots” between clinical practice and the overall business of healthcare. An MSN can prepare you for a highly specialized area of nursing like case management, informatics, organizational leadership, or infection control. And a DNP can put you at the top of your field.
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