One of the fantastic things about nursing is that you’ll never find yourself stuck in a rut. There are always opportunities to learn new things and develop new skills – in fact, ongoing nursing education is mandatory in some states. You’ll have lots of chances to learn on the job and if you work in a big clinic or hospital, you’ll likely be offered access to short specialist courses. If you want to take a course that will advance your career to the next level, however, you’ll need to think on a different scale.
Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
If you’re a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), advancing to RN status will give you the chance to take on a much more interesting and varied role, with responsibility for taking medical histories, setting out care plans, performing diagnostic tents and more. There are two ways to go about it. Either you can enter a specialist LPN to BSN program and proceed from there, or you can study in a college for an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing, then take the NCLEX exam to qualify to practice in your state.
Become an APRN
Becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) means you could become a midwife, anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse practitioner, and work independently if you wish. You’ll normally need to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing before proceeding to a master’s degree, though a few institutions will let you do this if you have a good associate degree. After that, you’ll need to take a national exam appropriate to the area in which you want to specialize.
Take a doctoral nursing degree
Either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree can give you access to a PhD nursing program. Online education is available to achieve the necessary qualification at Wilkes University that will give you the option of moving into clinical research or health administration and working at the very top level. Online education is available to achieve the necessary qualification at Wilkes University. You will need to find the right faculty member to supervise you and you’ll need to be much more self-directed than in other areas of education, deciding on the area you want to focus on and how you want to approach doing your research.
Find the right focus
Each of these levels of nursing opens up different possibilities for focusing on the areas that most appeal to you. If you’re not sure where you want to focus, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers Professional Nursing Certifications through individual exams which you can study for in your own time or with the support of your employer. These qualify you to do specialized work appropriate to your existing level, which can help you decide what really works for you before you invest time and resources in long term study.
Learning new skills keeps nursing interesting and will help you make the most of your potential. By advancing your education, you can significantly increase your income at a time when nurses at all levels are in high demand, and you can also improve your ability to take care of patients.