Nursing is indeed a very lucrative career. When the public thinks of nurses, they think of Registered Nurses. As anyone in healthcare can attest, that is just the start of your career. There are so many opportunities and options for nurses, particularly those that earned their MSN. Telehealth and shortages in many different areas of health have meant that the APRN role has expanded. And that the number of opportunities waiting for you is growing.
You can have a thriving career as an RN. If you want more control, higher pay, and a greater number of opportunities. Then you will want to push for your MSN. Or even a doctorate and use this guide to plan your new career.
The Four Main Types of APRNs
The next level beyond the RN qualification is the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. There are more APRNs today than there ever were before in history, and yet there are still not enough. Why? APRNs are being used first and foremost to fill the gap that a shortage of physicians are leaving behind.
For most APRNs and those with MSN degrees, you will transition your career into one of these four categories:
The largest bulk of APRNs are nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners typically specialize in caring for a certain demographic or directly with patients. You may work with adults or children, for example. Alternatively, you may work in mental health or exclusively with women.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Clinical Nurse Specialists focus more on the treatment or disease itself. They will work in oncology or other specific departments and work to improve treatment plans and even care standards.
One of the oldest roles in the world is that of the midwife. Though it may seem like an outdated position. Study after study has shown that midwives decrease mother fatalities and improve mother-baby outcomes. Nurse midwives have also seen a big resurgence in the US and are highly popular in countries like the UK.
The highest-paid nursing position is that of the Certified Nurse Anesthetist. They earn typically over $150,000 per year. They work in various locations and can be found in surgery rooms all the way to dentist offices providing anesthesia to patients.
Next Step in Your Nursing Career: Where You Can Work With An MSN
You will want to know where you want to work, what area of medicine or care you want to focus on, and even who you want to work with. Knowing the answer to these questions can make it easy when choosing the right program for your goals.
Though not extensive, this list shows just how varied your career as an APRN or MSN-holding nurse can be:
Working In A Specialization
Working as a specialist is a great way to earn a higher wage and focus on either the area of medicine and treatment that you find most interesting or, alternatively, the demographic you want to help the most. You can specialize in oncology, for example, and help cancer patients, or alternatively, you can specialize in child healthcare.
Working In Leadership
Every field has leaders, and nursing is no different. Unlike other sectors, however, you need more than just managerial experience to get started. You will need to bridge the gap in your knowledge before you can get started. Being a nurse leader and not just a team leader means having experience beyond the scope of healthcare alone.
That is why there are so many excellent education options, like this nurse leadership master’s degree. This degree works to help you connect the world of nursing to the ever-evolving health care system and technologies that it uses today. One of the biggest shifts in the coming years? The adoption of telehealth.
You need more than the ability to care for and create care treatment plans for patients in order to be a leader that directs the future of nursing in this new reality where telehealth has become the norm. An online MSN in Nursing and Health Systems Leadership is just one of the avenues available for nurses today to help prepare them for a new career in leadership.
Working In Education
Typically you will need a doctorate in order to work as an educator, but with new degree options, you may be able to earn an MSN degree and get started as an educator in nursing. Working as an educator is incredibly rewarding and can be the perfect fit for those looking to slow down their career or transition out of primary care. You will be making a massive difference as a nurse educator while enjoying a better work/life balance that you might have experienced before.
Working In Policy-Making
When you work in politics! Policy-making, or even in certain leadership roles. If you have the potential to improve working conditions. This is another great opportunity for those who want to get out of primary care. Would still want to make difference for other nurses and patients.
Working In Research
Nurses are needed to care for patients currently enrolled in studies. They may be studying to see if a new drug works for a certain condition or the effectiveness of a new or experimental treatment option. At the heart of these studies are patients, and caring for those patients are nurses.
Other Unique Career Opportunities For APRNs
The unique opportunities available to APRNs depend on the state they are working in. In some states, FNPs can open and manage their own clinic autonomously. They cannot prescribe medicine without a physician signing off on it in other states. In each role, what you can do will vary in terms of privileges and responsibilities and even wage.
Don’t just consider what opportunities are available directly within the health sector. There are so many exciting options for those who go into the private sector. You are, after all, someone who specializes in healthcare. So long as there is a budget for your work and a need for what you can offer, there is a job opening available.
You could work in the health tent at big festivals. You can work as the on-site nurse in schools or on research expeditions or be the personal nurse of private clients.
There are so many unique opportunities out there. They can, however, be difficult to find. That is why you need to keep your ear to the ground for opportunities and jump on them when something that sounds amazing comes your way.
Going Beyond The MSN
Very few nurses have a doctorate degree or a second MSN specialization. Earning this higher level of education will immediately make you stand out further than your peers. You may earn a higher wage and may even position yourself as the better candidate if the role is more rare, for example, a new specialist role or leadership role.
You could earn a:
- Post-Graduate Certificate
Whether you should earn a doctorate degree is very personal. There is some talk of increasing the minimum education requirement for APRNs to DNPs, but this is just talking. What earning a doctorate will do for you is it will make you eligible to work as a nurse educator and, most importantly, will help you stand out as one of the top professionals in your field wherever you go.
You can even earn a DNP and your MSN all at once nowadays, thanks to integrated degree options. This is how you can get all remaining education goals out of the way and get started an exciting new career.
Why It Is Important To Stay Up To Date With Your Options
Priorities change. That is the simple fact of it all. One day you might be happy to continue to work in a primary care setting. And the next, you may want to work in another sector or even remotely.
Work should never overshadow our personal lives, and when you continue to stay up to date with your options as a nurse.
Your career should always support your life. If you have a kid and want a more consistent schedule to provide a more stable environment for your child, you need to know how you can do just that.
If you are getting older and want to take a step away from primary care into a more relaxed setting, then you need to know how you can accomplish that goal.
With so many different roles in nursing, especially with telehealth on the rise and the eNLC expanding. It is a travesty to not stay up to date with what you could do tomorrow. Never feel trapped in your career. Feel liberated. Be ready to adapt your career to suit your work/life needs. And you will feel so much more fulfilled each and every day.