Nursing is a rewarding field, best suited to those with the desire to help others. Qualified nurses are incredibly in-demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are expected to increase much faster than average, with an estimated 438,100 positions to be added nationwide by 2026. While this career can be a challenging one, it can also be incredibly rewarding, with a myriad of opportunities for professionals to broaden their skills and increase their income.
Careers in Nursing with a BSN Degree
Many people don’t realize the diversity of jobs available with the field of nursing. Nor do they realize how earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can open doors in their careers. Below are just a few of the many exciting options available for BSN graduates.
Flight nurses care for patients who must be airlifted from remote or dangerous locations. They work in situations where speedy patient evacuation by aircraft is necessary, such as during hospital-to-hospital transport, search and rescue, or during fire emergencies. They are also commonly found in military settings. These professionals are truly specialists, requiring certification in basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), and advanced trauma.
Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) Nurse
Those who work as neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses specialize in looking after babies with serious medical conditions. These infants often suffer from chronic illnesses, birth defects, or are born premature. NICU nurses are part of a team of medical professionals that offer round-the-clock care. These nurses may be responsible for assessing and evaluating patient care, performing assessments, tracking vitals, and other related duties. They also play a critical role in supporting a patient’s family members.
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Nurse anesthetists specialize in pain management. Often working alongside anesthesiologists, they are charged with administering medication to patients and monitoring for complications. Their patients may include surgery patients, mothers in labor, individuals who suffer from chronic pain, or trauma survivors. They may also treat individuals in outpatient settings, such as those undergoing dental work.
Nurse anesthetists can work in hospitals, pain clinics, trauma centers, surgical centers, dental clinics, and more. Working as a nurse anesthetist requires at least a BSN degree, though pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing may be beneficial.
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Nursing Career Options with an MSN Degree
While a BSN degree can offer a huge boost to your nursing career, an MSN degree can take your professional responsibilities—as well as your salary—to the next level.
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Clinical nurse specialists are nurses who have an advanced understanding of a certain area of practice within the field. Examples might include pediatrics, hospice care, gerontology, cardiology, or emergency medicine. Because of the degree of training required to enter this position, a CNS is often considered a leader within their field.
A CNS is responsible for management and improvement of nursing care and patient satisfaction. They work with other medical professionals to assess care standards and improve systems. They also provide medical service to patients.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Although nurse practitioners are considered nurses, they perform many of the same duties as licensed physicians. These professionals are able to diagnose diseases, prescribe medicines, perform tests, and initiate plans for treatment. A nurse practitioner will often take a more holistic approach towards a patient’s health, helping to improve patient lifestyle instead of simply treating illnesses. Nurse practitioners can specialize in several areas, such as family health, psychiatry, oncology, or pediatrics.
In addition to earning an MSN, nurse practitioners must participate in medical training, which may include an internship or residency.
Nurse educators teach students about the field of nursing and take the time to prepare them for their careers. Usually employed by colleges, universities, or hospitals with education programs, nurse educators must be both medically knowledgeable and enjoy working with students. Those in this role may teach generally, or specialize in areas such as geriatrics, pediatrics, or informatics. They may also develop training materials for hospitals and clinics. These might include manuals, training guides, procedures, systems, and other educational resources.
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For those with a passion for medicine who want to focus on patient care, nursing is a great career option. As a high-opportunity field that is both diverse and in-demand, it provides an exciting and secure pathway for professional advancement.