Nursing is an exciting and in-demand profession, and it’s easy to see why. Nurses have significant responsibilities, yet the rewards and personal satisfaction are immense. They assist patients during their most challenging and vulnerable times, making them an integral part of the healthcare system.
Every nursing enthusiast knows this, which is why the nursing profession is growing daily. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the US has over 3 million nurses as of 2022. As a nurse, you can work in several entry-level positions with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. However, you may need a more advanced degree to reach your goal of touching lives.
The healthcare industry is advancing, and you may need to improve your knowledge to expand your opportunities for career growth. A nursing leadership degree from a reputable institution such as Baylor University can help nurses advance up the career ladder. The coursework is entirely online, so nurses can continue to work as they further their studies. Baylor University’s nursing leadership degree is CCNE accredited, and no campus visits are required.
This article will discuss several career advancement opportunities you can access within the nursing field and what they can offer you.
Advancing your career helps you improve your knowledge and skills. There’s also the advantage of higher-paying roles. Below, we discuss some of the ways you can advance your career as a nurse:
Table of Contents
Take Management Positions
Nurse managers are nursing professionals who operate in the managerial healthcare sector. They recruit, supervise and train nurses. They also ensure staff follow the rules and regulations. Nurses venturing into managerial roles will need to oversee patient care, coordinate meetings and set work schedules for nurses. They also make decisions regarding budgets, personnel and management.
Nurses aiming to hold management positions in healthcare must be skilled at coordinating resources and meeting aims and objectives. They must also be effective communicators as they don’t only manage nurses on paper; they must also listen to, consider and prioritize their staff.
To become a nurse manager, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is essential and having a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an added advantage. Having these credentials prepares nurses for some of the best management positions, including these listed below.
Director of Nursing
A nursing director evaluates and manages nurses’ affairs in an organization. Their roles can range from implementing new practices to querying nurses about patient health and what is working and not working in healthcare. These professionals work with all staff to ensure adequate information reaches everyone in the organization.
Clinical Nurse Manager
Clinical nurse managers don many hats, all of which are important. They oversee hiring processes in healthcare settings, handle administrative tasks and are often in charge of handling emergencies.
Chief Nursing Officer
Chief nursing officers are top-level executives in healthcare organizations. Nurses may need many years of experience to get to this point, but it’s worth it. The responsibilities of a CNO revolve around providing strategic leadership among nurses — they ensure that the nursing staff’s work aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives. Like other managerial roles, they check budgets, ensure every patient is cared for and ensure staff aren’t burnt out due to high workloads.
A nurse consultant advises on healthcare practice improvement. They observe and evaluate the healthcare facility and nursing practices. They provide feedback on what nurses need to improve, where they need to improve and how to implement this improvement.
Consider Entrepreneurial Ventures
Becoming a nurse entrepreneur is another excellent way to advance a nursing career. The nursing entrepreneur field gives nurses the leverage to combine their nursing and business skills effortlessly. Starting a business as a nurse is a good idea if you don’t want to work in clinical settings. This way, you can be your own boss, work for personal clients and potentially earn more income. These are some of the job roles available to explore as a nursing entrepreneur.
Private hHealthcare Practice
Nurse practitioners have full practice authority in almost half of the states in the US. Running a private practice means operating a solo practice with only one care provider. Many people prefer to visit a private practice because of the privacy, convenience and quality care. You can earn a higher income by caring for these people.
Nurse freelancing isn’t limited to traditional healthcare practices. Nurses can work in a healthcare setting for a specified period. Working as a freelancer gives you the time to work and have fun. You can work part-time in different settings, such as schools and corporate work settings.
Health and Wellness Instructor
Health and wellness instructors work with fitness coaches and nutritionists to help improve patients’ health. They can advise patients on their fitness routine, and lifestyle decisions which can affect their lives and improve their overall wellness. Collaborating closely with a nutritionist, they create personalized plans to address both fitness and dietary needs, ensuring a comprehensive approach to enhancing individuals’ well-being
Explore Research Opportunities
Research nurses improve patient care with their skills. They may not care directly for patients, but they play a crucial role in developing new treatments and advancing new drugs. These nurses conduct various studies to back prior medical knowledge, develop clinical interventions and help patients in the long run. There are several positions within nursing research, including:
Clinical Research Nurse
Clinical research nurses are the unsung heroes behind medical breakthroughs. They’re the brains and hands running clinical trials to test new medical discoveries and determine how safe they are. These professionals dive into all the details, from the nitty-gritty of trial plans to ensuring everything meets government standards.
They also diagnose and treat patients, develop new medicines and ensure every patient in their trials is looked after safely and ethically. It’s a big job making sure new treatments are ready and suitable for the real world.
Research midwives specialize in understanding the care needs of pregnant women. They excel in women-focused research, data collection and analysis, result dissemination and obtaining informed consent.
Nurses can also opt for other research opportunities, including becoming independent nurse researchers, research associates, research managers or lecturers.
The growth of the healthcare industry and the rising demand for skilled nursing professionals are creating numerous career advancement opportunities. Nurses can advance their careers by pursuing advanced degrees or specializing in specific areas of healthcare.
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