Nursing is one of the best, most fulfilling careers you can choose. It also has many advancement options that are well paid, well respected, and give you the opportunity to make a huge difference. Knowing what you can do with your career is the single best way to make the right decisions along the way. Unlike other career paths, to advance as a nurse, you must earn further qualifications and certify for those specific roles. This doesn’t mean you can’t switch to a new path later on, but it will take a lot of time, effort, and money to do so. It is best for your efforts to be certain of where you want your nursing career to go from the outset.
There are many excellent roles to choose from, meaning that you can not only choose the topic that you enjoy to pursue a career in but that you can also work towards the work/life balance that suits you best. From working at a hospital directly with patients to working in education, to being a Head or Executive-level nurse, there are plenty of options to explore and set as your dream:
1. Nurse Midwife
Nurse midwifery is becoming increasingly popular again around the world, with more nurses looking to become a nurse midwife. In the United States, this can be done simply with an online degree from a multitude of institutions, though in the UK, you must register and train with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The exact requirements will differ from country to country, though, do know that sometimes it is possible to train to become a midwife directly. In other cases, you will need to specialize later on, at least after you have become an RN.
2. Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse anesthetists are very well paid positions, with their roles being instrumental in dentist offices all the way to surgery rooms. Becoming a nurse anesthetist again depends on where you are located. In America, you must earn your BSN, and then an MSN that has a specialization in the subject. In the UK, you need to go through the NMC and complete the necessary training and education.
They tend to be the best-paid nurses, with some wages in the United States of America outshining even some physicians.
3. Nurse Executive
There are many executive-level nursing positions that will allow you to make a huge difference to the lives of patients and nurses themselves. Head Nurse, Chief of Nursing, and Director of Nursing are just a few to work towards. Unlike other positions, you could, technically, work your way up to become an executive-level nurse on your own, but there is a lot that you will not know in terms of how to lead or manage nurses from a managerial point of view. Thankfully, there are DNP degrees to help. The DNP leadership programs online are high-quality and are designed to teach and train you in all that you need, from resource attainment and allocation to strategic economic and financial concepts.
4. Nurse Educator
Nurse educators are an ideal role for those who want to slow down and perhaps even step back and away from healthcare. Their work is critically important, too, so despite the fact that you are no longer tending to patients, you are doing more than enough to make a huge impact on the future of nursing. You will be working, after all, to train the next generation of nurses. The quality of education you provide will directly impact the lives of many nurses and indirectly work to improve the care of patients throughout the country.
5. Nurse Researcher
Nurses are needed throughout the research sector. They are needed to care for patients and even administer some treatments (such as injections). You will be there to keep patients calm and to make sure that their health is secure while doctors and researchers work to improve medicine and treatments for a variety of illnesses and conditions. Your work will directly improve the lives of so many, and as you are working in a research situation rather than a hospital, you can often enjoy a more consistent work/life balance.
6. Clinical Nurse Specialist
There are many different kinds of clinical nurse specialists. What you will be doing in this role is specializing in a certain topic or area of medicine. You will then work on a consultation basis and aim to improve standards of care and support for patients and nurses alike in your field. This option is ideal for those who have felt burnt out working directly with patients and gives you the opportunity to help more people at once.
7. Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners are the ones who work directly with patients, and as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, you will be taking and directing care for many patients in your department. You typically specialize either in a certain area of medicine or in a group demographic. One of the most common and popular APRNs is the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), which works to help those from ages 0 – 100. You may also specialize in gerontology and in other fields that will allow you to care for specific age groups better.
8. On-Site Nurse
You can work as a nurse almost everywhere. On the side of a football pitch, on a movie set, on a scientific expedition – if there is danger and risk of bodily harm to others, then a nurse is necessary. As these nurse roles are not as in-demand as any option in healthcare, the competition for them can be fierce. In these types of industries, a lot of it is about who you know as much as it is about your skillset, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you time to get a job in this kind of role. Instead, use your previous efforts to start building up a network in those fields. With the right ambition, you can go anywhere.
This is just a small selection of some of the amazing careers you could enter. Take the time to find the one that suits you best.