A nursing career is filled with opportunities, though many people limit its scope and only envision nurses in bedside roles.
But bedside care duties are just one aspect of a nurse’s job. Today nurses are doing much more than that. Their work extends from bedside patient care to administration to academia and running their private clinic.
So, even if a nurse enters nursing with the intent of helping those in need, they will get a lot of growth opportunities along the way.
With time you will have many nursing pathways opening up to you. And if you are bored of working in one area, you can easily change your career trajectory later.
The demand for qualified nurses is witnessing an unprecedented increase. The hospitals are keen to employ capable nurses in their workforce. This means you will find new job opportunities in whichever nursing area you choose.
As a nurse, you have many ways to upgrade your nursing career. Some of those ways to consider are mentioned in the below article.
- Seek higher education
Enhancing your education is a surefire way to upgrade your career. Getting an advanced degree in nursing has many perks.
Higher education means you are laced with the current knowledge and skills needed in the field. You become more capable than others and can be considered more suitable for higher-responsibility roles and critical jobs.
As your responsibilities change, so does your earning potential. A nurse performing critical job duties deserves a higher salary than someone performing elementary-level nursing duties. So, a “doctorate nurse practitioner salary” is undoubtedly higher than a bachelor’s nurse. PayScale says the latter’s salary is approximately $104,000, whereas the former earns $86,500 yearly.
Below are some higher education pathways available to upgrade your career.
- LNP to RN
If you are an LNP (Licensed Nurse Practitioner) and passionate about advancing your career in nursing, you can become a Registered Nurse (RN) and work at renowned hospitals.
To become an RN, you either need to have two year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a BSN degree. Both programs develop from your existing knowledge about nursing.
You learn about more complicated nursing concepts to work in a broader range of nursing areas. Once you have the right degrees, you can appear for a national-level RN licensing exam conducted by Pearson VUE and created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
The benefits of becoming an RN are:
- Your job duties expand
- Earn a better salary
- You can work at more prominent and prestigious workplaces
- Last but not least, as an RN, you have more autonomy to operate than an LNP
- ADN to BSN
ADN is a great degree to start your career as a nurse. It helps you put your foot in the door. Still, it is certainly not enough, especially if you are enthusiastic about your career development and want to climb higher on your career ladder.
For an RN with an Associate Degree in Nursing, upgrading their education with a BSN degree is a smart choice. BSN programs are designed keeping in mind professional RNs wanting to expand their career or transition into new nursing domains. A BSN degree prepares you for more complicated roles and to work in entry-level managerial positions.
A substantial benefit of a BSN degree is that it is already being preferred by many hospitals when hiring new nurses. Research has proved the perks of having BSN-qualified nurses. According to a study, hospitals with more BSN-qualified nurses have better patient outcomes after cardiac arrest.
- BSN to MSN
It is only fair to consider transitioning to other nursing fields after spending considerable time in entry and middle-level positions. You can transition to leadership and administrative positions, master anesthesia, move to nurse education, provide primary care, assume the roles of a physician, and whatnot.
However, high-level career domains require suitable qualifications. You need to have at least an MSN degree. With a Master’s degree, your status as a nurse upgrades, and you become a nurse practitioner—an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), to be precise.
Once a nurse practitioner, you can assist doctors in critical procedures and surgeries, open your private clinic, and become a nurse leader/manager. You can also perform educational roles and prepare new cohorts of nurses by sharing your skills, knowledge, and experience with the up-and-coming nurses.
- MSN to DNP
If you are already an MSN nurse, you can still upgrade your career through higher education by opting for the terminal degree in nursing, called DNP. A doctor of Nursing Practice is the highest qualification in this career, which prepares nurses for research-oriented greatness.
The higher expertise, training, and education gained through a DNP degree prepare you for apex-level jobs. These include running whole organizations, pursuing decision-making and policy development domains, statistical analysis, and employee management.
An MSN degree focuses on enhancing the candidates’ knowledge to perform clinical roles, such as providing support to patients with medical issues. In contrast, a DNP degree focuses on research and evidence-based practices. DNP students are expected to know how healthcare systems are transforming globally and what can be done to adapt to these unprecedented changes.
- Find a mentor
Another way to upgrade your nursing career is to come under the guidance of an expert mentor. Associating yourself with someone with ample nursing experience helps you learn, make better career-related decisions, and avoid mistakes.
Bracketing yourself with a mentor means having someone to go to when there is a problem or when you need advice. During your career, you will encounter plenty of situations when your mentor seems like a blessing.
- Develop your networking
Polishing your networking skills and developing contacts inside and outside the organization is also crucial for upgrading your career. Your references can speak of you in front of prospective employers. You might also get an invitation to professional seminars, conferences, etc., and meet the right kind of people. Your networking skills can play a major role in raising your professional profile and building your confidence.
- Make your ambitions known
Talk to your employer, colleagues, peers, etc., about your ambitions. Tell them what you want to achieve and where you want to see yourself in a few years. This is how you stand out among the crowd. Let your employer know you are interested in a role, however critical it is. If you don’t articulate your vision, no one will know you can perform challenging roles; hence you won’t be considered.
Nursing is a dynamic field experiencing change, the speed of which has increased tremendously. It is the need of the hour that you must continuously work to upgrade your career. Some ways to upgrade your career are mentioned above. These are time-tested ways of climbing higher on the ladder of a nursing career.