Top 7 Career Options to Pursue With a Nursing Degree

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there has been a huge surge in student enrollment in nursing programs within the United States. Entry-level baccalaureate, master’s degree and doctoral nursing programs have been particularly popular. With a higher level of education under their belt, new doors and more opportunities are open to nursing graduates. Here are a few great career choices for people with a nursing degree in terms of employment and growth outlook, earning potential and job satisfaction.

Registered Nurse

There are many different positions in the field of nursing and becoming a registered nurse (RN) is often the first job role that springs to mind. Registered nurses provide direct patient care and can assist doctors during medical procedures. Duties include administering medication and providing advice to family members. Some registered nurses can operate medical equipment too. Registered nurses must complete an accredited program, this could be an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses can expect an average annual salary of $75,330. In addition to this, the employment prospects for registered nurses are high too. There are around 2.7 million registered nurses in the United States, and there is still a growing demand.

School Nurse

A role in patient care is rewarding in itself and registered nurses can go home happy knowing that they are making a difference to the life of others. People who enjoy working with children may particularly enjoy a role within a school setting. School nurses work with kids on a daily basis to provide emotional, physical, mental and social care. Although statistics show that school nurses get paid less than other registered nurses, they benefit from a better work-life balance and so their job satisfaction rate is higher. School nurses work similar hours to other school staff members, which means they get to enjoy a consistent work schedule. They have evenings and weekends free, and they have long school holidays to enjoy too.

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Nurse Manager

The nurse manager position is ideal for those who want to make an impact on the lives of others but do not want to work directly with patients. Nurse managers, also known as nurse administrators, are in charge of the nursing operations in a healthcare and medical setting. They help streamline everyday processes to ensure patients receive high quality services and great healthcare. They may also oversee recruitment, finance and budget and inventory. Nurse managers are also in charge of training and development for nurses, performance reviews, and they also act as a mediator between their nursing team and other health professionals in the organization. To become a nurse manager, individuals usually need to be experienced in the field of nursing and have a master’s degree in a relevant subject.

Nurse Informatics Analysts

Another role that doesn’t involve direct patient care is a nurse informatics analyst. The general responsibilities of a nurse informatics analyst include healthcare data management for healthcare professionals and patients. These nursing professionals can work in an array of settings from healthcare facilities and hospitals to universities and consulting companies. Nurse informatics analysts can also work for specialist organizations who develop information systems. In addition to a relevant bachelor’s degree, acquiring a master’s degree in healthcare informatics, or other relevant subject, can help candidates stand out. According to Payscale, nurse informatics analysts can expect an average salary of $81,973 per year. This high rate of pay is down to the specialist nature of this position, and these nursing professionals can enjoy a positive employment outlook.

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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

According to this survey, the highest paying nursing role goes to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) with an annual median salary of $166,969. As the top paid professionals in nursing, this specialism is a highly skilled profession. Nurse anesthetists are responsible for administering anesthesia, providing anesthesia related care to patients, monitoring patient’s health and vitals and helping medical professionals prepare an anesthetic plan. CRNAs can work in an array of healthcare and medical settings, such as clinics, hospitals, outpatient centers and pain management centers. Prospective CRNAs should have a master’s degree in nursing. They also need relevant experience and a state license to practice.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners (NPs) often share similar responsibilities to doctors and (depending on where they practice) can work independently. They can work as primary care providers and their duties can include examining, diagnosing and managing different types of patients in a diverse range of settings. As with CRNAs, NPs must also be educated to an MSN level at least, and they should also possess the right license for the state they want to practice in.

Nurse Practitioner Specialisms

The income of an NP varies depending on where they practice, but the average annual salary is $110,030. Besides the high rate of pay and the elevated level of responsibility, NPs can choose to specialize in areas such as pediatric, oncology, acute care and women’s health. In particular, family nurse practitioners and gerontological nurse practitioners are popular professions due to the high demand for these types of professionals.

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Nurse Educator

Most nurse educators must be educated to a graduate level at the very least, with most choosing to attain doctoral degrees such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (PhD). This position is a combination of clinical nursing experience and education, and nurse educators have specialist knowledge which they impart to nursing students. Everyday duties can include designing lesson plans, teaching and evaluating students, and being their initial point of call during their education. Some nurse educators choose to focus on their own area of specialism, while others teach general nursing and biology. Nurse educators often act as mentors to people as they transition from education to a work setting. When it comes to the healthcare industry, nurse educators play a significant role in the development and training of future nursing professionals.

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