Roles to Consider with an Advanced Nursing Degree

Nursing is a highly important and necessary career where professionals need to have the correct education. Whether you want to pursue a nursing career in your future or are already working as a registered nurse and are considering your options for career progression and advancement, there are countless options available for nurses with an advanced degree such as an MSN. Nurses who want to move up the career ladder can choose to work in a certain specialty area of nursing or move into more advanced and leadership roles, including nurse practitioner positions. With an increasing number of online nursing degree programs now available for registered nurses who want to take their careers to the next level, it has become more accessible than ever for nurses to achieve the main goals that they have for their career. After earning an advanced nursing degree, some of the most common career roles to consider include:

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioner roles are one of the most popular among nurses with an advanced degree. The role is currently experiencing a huge amount of demand throughout the healthcare industry, with nurse practitioners being increasingly hired to fill the gap that has been left by a shortage of primary care doctors. To become a nurse practitioner, you will need to earn a BSN and then an MSN degree. Find accelerated BSN programs available at Baylor University Online to get started. Once graduated, you can find MSN programs with a focus on working as a nurse practitioner or get a postgraduate NP certificate before taking an exam that will license you to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse in your state. 

Specialty Nurse

Nurses have lots of options when it comes to choosing a specialty area where they might like to work. Whatever you enjoy the most about your job, there is likely to be an area of specialty that you can get into to focus more heavily on this throughout your career. Pediatric, neonatal, oncology, trauma, acute care, cardiology, operating room, and women’s health are just some popular areas for nurses to specialize in. Some will require you to have a BSN and a relevant certificate to allow you to practice in this area, while others such as neonatal or operating room nursing are more highly specialized and require nurses to possess a master’s degree or higher. 

Nurse Management and Leadership

Another advanced area of nursing to consider getting into after getting your master’s degree is nurse management or leadership. Today, the healthcare industry needs strong professionals who can lead teams and make sure that patient care is managed well. If you enjoy working with people, delegating tasks, leading teams and making decisions, this role could be an ideal fit for you. Nurse leaders and managers are often put in charge of managing teams of registered nurses and other healthcare professionals in a range of healthcare settings including hospital departments, outpatient clinics and more. 

Nurse Education

An advanced nursing degree such as an MSN will also allow you to pursue a career in nurse education. Today, nurse educators are in high demand across the country as a shortage of these professionals is one of the main contributing factors behind the shortage of nurses in healthcare. With more education professionals to teach the next generation of nurses, the US will be able to fill the available roles more quickly and begin to reduce the shortage. It is estimated that there are around one thousand nurse educator vacancies currently at various nursing schools and colleges throughout the US. In nurse education, you will be working with student nurses in both classroom and clinical settings to provide mentorship and teaching. 

Choosing the Right Advanced Nursing Degree Program

The advanced nursing degree program that you choose will depend on a number of factors such as your current education and experience, where you want to study, whether you would prefer to study online or on campus, and anything else that is important to you. Some key factors to consider when choosing the right advanced degree program for you include:

  • Degree Type

There are several options to consider when it comes to getting your advanced degree online, so it’s important to make sure that you check all the various details of the degree program before deciding where to study and which type of degree is better for you. When it comes to online programs, for example, these are often a better option for nurses since they can easily be fit around working, but some are more flexible than others. 

  • Future Goals

Any future goals that you have for your work are likely to influence your choice of advanced nursing degree program. If you have a clear goal when it comes to the role that you want to get into or a nursing specialty area that you want to pursue, this is likely to play a part when it comes to choosing the right advanced degree. This is because many degree programs will focus on a certain area more than others, while others are designed specifically to help you find work in a certain role. 

  • Employer Support

Your employer may also have an impact on the advanced degree program that you choose to study. If you are currently working as an employer for a hospital or other healthcare setting that is partnered with or works closely with a college or nursing school, there may be more reasons to choose that school over others including increased tuition support. 

  • Nursing School

Finally, it’s important to get to know the nursing schools that you are considering applying to study at before you choose the right one for you. Consider various different factors regarding the nursing school including their experience and length of time established, nursing school faculty, student prospects, student support and more. If you are going to study for your advanced nursing degree online, it’s important to ensure that you are studying at a school that has a good reputation for distance learning. 

Nurses with an advanced degree such as an MSN can take their careers even further into a wide variety of advanced clinical and non-clinical roles.

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