How to Progress Your Nursing Career

Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers available. It isn’t just nurses saying that, either. Nurses are one of the most trusted professionals, according to Americans, and their importance and admiration have only increased during 2020. That being said, your nursing career won’t be able to support you as you want it to if you don’t push for higher qualifications. You can truly customize your career as a nurse.

You can work in an area of medicine you are passionate about. You can enjoy the work/life balance that suits you. You can do so much, and there are many online nursing programs out there to teach you and provide you with the tools that you need to succeed. It doesn’t matter if you are at the start of your nursing career and working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or you are already an APRN looking for tips on how to make the next step, this guide will help all nurses progress their career towards their individual goals.

The Linear Portion of Your Nursing Career 

The best part about nursing is that, until you are ready to become an APRN, you do have a fairly straightforward career path ahead of you. The online nursing programs that you work towards are simple, don’t require you to make any big decisions yet, and until the BSN, are fairly fast to complete.

  • Certified Nursing Assistant

The start of a nurse’s career could be the Certified Nursing Assistant. The course only takes a few weeks, and after the exam, you can begin to work as a CNA. As the pay is often minimal, it’s a good idea to work towards becoming an LNP as soon as possible.

  • Licensed Nurse Practitioner

Licensed Nurse Practitioners also only need a short course, this one taking a few months to complete, and then a state exam. It gives you the ability to take on more tasks than checking stats and cleaning out bedpans and also opens up you to a pay rise.

  • Registered Nurse 

Registered Nurses make up the bulk of healthcare, and they are what people think of most often when they hear the term “nurse”. That being said, there are actually two different types of RNs, though their roles are the same. This is because there are two routes available to you to become an RN. You can complete these online nursing programs while working as well, and then become an RN and earn well over $50,000 per year.

The first option available to you is the Associate Degree in Nursing. This option is faster, but it limits your ability to progress further as a nurse. ADN RNs also typically earn less than BSN nurses, but the reason behind that goes beyond just the degree that you have. Studies have shown that RNs with BSNs help reduce the risk of death. A 10% increase of BSN RNs on staff will typically cause a 4% decrease in the risk of death amongst patients, or in other words, 9 people out of 1000 that would have died, are saved.

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Choosing Your Future as a Nurse 

If you have an ADN, then you must go back and complete your BSN before you can progress your career. That is why it is always recommended just to get your BSN online nursing programs from the start. However, you can always enroll in a program to go from an ADN RN to BSN degree. After all, once you have your BSN, you can then choose your future. APRNs are specialized and can work almost anywhere, both in healthcare settings and beyond. They are at the top of their field, and their pay scale reflects that. Top-level nurses can earn as much as some doctors, and their expertise is critical to healthcare.

  • A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

To become an APRN you must earn an MSN. There are many different types of online nursing programs, however, which is why it is a good idea to spend a few years as an RN just figuring out what type of APRN you want to become.

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Nursing Specializations 

There are four main types of specializations in nursing:

1 Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are the most popular type of nurse, as they are the ones with roles very similar to many doctors. Some are even capable of diagnosing, calling for tests, and prescribing medication. They work in a variety of settings and are trained to care for a specific demographic (age or gender, typically).

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2 Clinical Nurse Specialist

Clinical Nurse Specialist is an umbrella specialization. They will focus on a specific area of medicine. Oncology, pediatrics, and beyond – these nurses will work alongside doctors in a variety of care settings.

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3 Nurse Midwife 

Midwives are becoming increasingly popular, despite their decline in popularity in the past. Expecting parents have simply come back around to how nice it is to have dedicated midwife care for their new baby throughout each trimester. Midwives provide more one-to-one care and can feel very personal.

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4 Nurse Anesthetist 

Nurse anesthetists make the most money out of any other profession. They provide the anesthesia to patients in surgery, both in operating rooms and in more casual settings like the dentist’s office. They earn, on average over $180,000 per year, though those at the top of their field can earn far more than that.

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5 Nurse Educator

Nurse educators take all their nursing expertise and transfer their skills to an educating environment. They work to teach the next generation of RNs and APRNs and are one of the most important figures in reducing the nursing shortage. There are more potential students than there are educators who can teach them, so by becoming a nurse educator with a specialized MSN or a DNP, you can help the entire country’s healthcare industry.

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6 Nurse Administrator

Nurse administrators are critical but often undervalued. Thankfully their pay is not. They are one of the best-paid nurses available, so you can move away from direct patient care and still do your part to help others.

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Creating Your Own Path Forward 

The great thing about nursing is that you can complete online nursing programs in your dream. You can become a business owner, work in movies, and so much more. Nursing is one of the most flexible roles in the world, as every industry needs healthcare specialists on hand.

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Nurse Leadership Roles 

If you want to move away from hands-on healthcare, one of the best options is in a leadership position. The Chief of Nursing Officer (CNO) is the most important person in the hospital, as they work to improve the quality of care for patients, and the level of support necessary for nurses.

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Start Your Own Practice 

Some nurses can even start their own practice. Family Nurse Practitioners can start their own clinic and become their own boss while providing exceptional care to the families in their community.

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Move Outside of the Hospital 

There are so many possibilities for highly qualified nurses, especially nurse practitioners. A highly qualified nurse who has the highest online nursing programs under their belt is one that can take their skills almost anywhere.

1 Sports

There is a whole medical team both on and off the pitch, field, or rink. Medical experts are essential to support professional athletes, and they are found at almost every single level. As a highly qualified nurse, you can work alongside your favorite team and work to keep them fit, both in rehabilitative and in preventative roles. It’s a great way to combine passions, especially if you have an interest in sports medicine as well as nursing qualifications.

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2 Entertainment

It isn’t just sports that require on-site medical staff. Almost every type of entertainment program has a medical crew on standby. Movie production, for example, needs those with MSN online nursing programs nearby in case the actors, stuntpeople, or anyone else on the crew gets hurt. By having that on-site medical crew, they can often keep their insurance rates down, and work to protect the health of everyone on-site better. Those who have completed online nursing programs and have the necessary experience can move from the hospital and instead work on movie and tv sets, at live entertainment events, and more. When celebrities and stunts are involved, a medical crew is on standby just in case emergency help is needed. You could be one of them.

Entertainment is all about the big and the bold, and because of that, there will always be open positions. You can work for a circus troupe, for a play production, and so much more. There are specialized job boards that advertise for positions, so you don’t have to look hard to find a great opportunity if you have the necessary online nursing programs under your belt.

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3 School Nurse

Work in an education setting, and you can help the next generation, while still enjoying the wonderful world of a school schedule. Later mornings, early evenings, and summers, Christmas, and Easter break off! You will be working in elementary or primary schools, in middle schools, high schools, private schools, all the way to universities. Ideally, the online nurse programs you will choose will allow you to qualify as a Family Nurse Practitioner or FNP-APRN, as this is the most rounded nursing position and ideal for education settings.

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4 Personal Healthcare 

If you are more interested in providing fewer patients with better care, you can work privately with the right online nursing programs. Take on personal clients either on a short-term or long-term basis. Nurse-Midwives often take this option for their career, as it allows them to get involved with their patients and provide 1-on-1 healthcare that can be hard to provide in hospitals or in clinics.

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5 Research 

Nurses are also necessary for research settings. They will be key to providing health care and services when dealing with human trials and are also key players in more theoretical research phases. If you want to be part of the next generation of medicine, working in research is a great choice. Like other options outside of the hospital, you will enjoy a much more comfortable work/life balance.

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6 Education

Nurse educators aren’t just a great job choice; becoming one will actually help the state of nursing and the overall quality of healthcare the most. There is no shortage of qualified students, but there is a massive shortage of qualified nurse educators.

Nurse educators require more than just the basic online nursing programs on their resume. They also need a degree in nursing education, sometimes a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP). This extra additional learning and education, however, will pay off massively. Due to the shortage, you can easily find a great job role at a nearby university or college where you live. You could even be part of developing better nursing courses for online learning. Nurse educators help healthcare the most by preparing the next generation of RNs and APRNs. They are one of the most important figures in the effort to improve healthcare and counteract the shortage of nurses.

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How to Progress Your Nursing Career Online 

You can do all this and continue to work with online nursing programs. Online nursing programs are designed to be finished by working professionals and have a variety of features that make it easy to do. From no mandatory login times to 7-1-7 course schedule (seven weeks per course, one-week breaks), all the way to only requiring students to take on just one course at a time. These are what will help you succeed, so follow these steps when you are ready to take on online nursing programs yourself:

  • Polish Your Resume and Application
  • Apply and Enroll
  • Build Up Healthier Routines
  • Create the Ultimate WFH Set-Up
  • Network

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Routine is your best friend if you can build up the ultimate work/study routine before you are enrolled in your online nursing programs. It is how you will easily transition from a working professional to a working professional completing their online degree. Do this, and you’ll progress your nursing career with ease.

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