Exciting Educational Choices for RNs with Big Career Goals
Not only do today’s nurses have a phenomenal choice of traditional and online degree programs, they also have many opportunities to advance and apply their skills at the bedside and beyond.
For some nurses, the natural first step is to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Many hospitals are moving to make the BSN degree the minimum qualification to be hired as an RN. However, if every RN will soon be required to have a BSN that minimizes any competitive advantage you might gain in the meanwhile.
This is one of the reasons why newly popular RN-to-MSN programs are gaining momentum as a way for nurses to elevate their professional status and career options without jumping through hoops to get there. It is a must to be able move into a higher-paying role as a clinical nurse leader or to study for your post-masters certification in a specialty practice such as informatics, anesthesiology, midwifery, research, teaching, or administration.
For most nurses, receiving their MSN provides a sufficient level of education to accomplish their career goals, particularly when coupled with specialized certifications. Being able to go straight from RN-to-MSN is certainly preferable to the traditional route of completing a BSN degree before being able to enter a master’s.
Advanced nursing degrees provide an avenue for nurses who recognize opportunities for improving patient care and wish to play a leadership role in their facility or health care system. There is a growing trend of opportunity for nurse practitioners who are interested in joining a group of family practice NPs or opening their own practice in an area that suffers from a shortage of physicians.
While only a handful of nurses take their careers to the highest level of accomplishment, there are several doctoral programs available. Nurses can earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) as way to climb to the highest level of hospital leadership or to move away from the hospital setting into academia. Alternatively, a PhD is best-suited for research-driven clinicians who want to advance to the pinnacle of scientific discovery.
There is no reason to settle for the status quo if you have bigger dreams for your career. Online degree programs make it much easier to juggle work, school, and family. The programs are often accelerated with year-round study and multiple start dates, further facilitating your educational goals.