Registered nurses (RNs) have a very promising job outlook. Across the country, there will be nearly 3.4 million registered nurses employed by the year 2026. The greatest job prospects, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), will go to nurses with a higher-level degree, such as a Bachelor’s of Nursing.
Today, the standard requirement for registered nurses is an associate degree. This is what will qualify a nurse for licensure and jobs in clinical care. However, more and more employers are seeking RNs with advanced nursing degrees. A Bachelor’s of Nursing (BSN) in particular is increasing in demand. The Institute of Medicine is aiming at an 80% BSN workforce by 2020. Connecticut is doing the same. And across the nation, 77% of healthcare employers express a strong preference for hiring BSN graduates.
The penchant for BSN-educated nurses is what may have brought you here today. You may be considering going back to school for your BSN degree, or even your Master’s in Nursing degree, to advance your current RN role. The question is, is it going to be worth it for you? Do the advanced nursing career outcomes align with your own professional goals? Which advanced nursing careers are even available to BSN and MSN graduates?
As a career-focused nursing school in Connecticut, with RN-to-BSN and MSN courses offered entirely online, Goodwin College understands the impact that an advanced nursing degree can have on your career. Every day, we help registered nurses carve their path towards leadership roles in the field, and build their nursing resumes to qualify for dream (yet also in reach), advanced nursing careers.
It’s important to note that an “advanced nursing career” can mean something different for everyone. For some, it might mean a specialized role as a Pediatric Nurse or OB/GYN Nurse, with an expanded scope of practice. For others, it may mean a managerial or leadership position, such as the Director or Administrator of a nursing department. Below, we outline some popular advanced nursing career options available to registered nurses with a BSN or higher.
- Military Nurse – If you dream of joining the Army, the Navy, or even the Airforce, you will be required to obtain your Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
- OB/GYN Nurse – Is women’s health an interest area for you? Obstetrics and Gynecology Nurses are considered Advanced Practice Nurses, and therefore require at least a BSN degree.
- Nurse Educator – Do you consider teaching your calling? If you have a passion for education, and for educating others, you may consider teaching the next generation of nurses. You can become a Nurse Educator with a BSN in some states, though an MSN degree is often preferred.
- Flight Nurse – If you dream of flying around the world, and don’t blink an eye at airplanes, becoming a Flight Nurse may be the advanced role for you. Flight Nurses focus on emergency medicine in the sky, and must hold a BSN degree.
- Psychiatric Nurse – The mental health field is a complex one, full of unpredictability and often many unknowns. That is part of what makes the job so interesting. If you are interested in nursing as well as psychiatry and psychology, this BSN-level nursing career may be for you.
- Nurse Manager – Dream of managing a nursing department? Becoming a Nurse Manager will enable you to handle the daily operations of a Nursing department or group, and to oversee its staff. Due to the nature of the role, Nurse Management generally requires a Master’s in Nursing.
- Nurse Administrator – Similar to Nurse Managers, Nurse Administrators are leaders in the field of nursing. They are executive-level nurses who oversee not just a department, but often multiple departments and medical staff. They carry out administrative responsibilities such as budgeting and compliance, and also serve as a go-to leader for a large nursing staff. An MSN is required for this advanced nursing role.
- School Nurse – If you enjoy working with children and desire a more regular work schedule, a School Nurse position may be for you. School Nurses usually need a minimum of a BSN.
- Clinical Nurse Leader – A somewhat new title in the field of nursing, Clinical Nurse Leaders
- Surgical Nurse – Much like the name implies, Surgical Nurses assist with both minor and major surgical procedures. Some Surgical Nurses can advance with a BSN, though many who wish to specialize in surgery will need to obtain a graduate nursing degree.
If you have already have an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and wish to advance up the career ladder, furthering your education is an important next step. From hospitals to private practices, medical laboratories to research centers, employers all over are looking to hire nurses with an advanced education locked down. Some require it. While ADN-educated nurses qualify for many of the same roles as BSN graduates, studies have shown that BSN nurses often provide higher-quality of patient care and ensure lower patient mortality rates. And as a result, employers are taking notice.
As the National Association of School Nurses states, “Baccalaureate nursing education develops competencies in leadership, critical thinking, quality improvement, and systems thinking. It provides graduates with nursing theory and clinical experience and cultivates their ability to translate research into evidence-based nursing practice. Baccalaureate prepared nurses also address and analyze current and emerging healthcare issues, including the need for health policy and healthcare financing.”
Why wait to advance into a successful nursing position? Your first thought might be, because it takes time and money to go back to school. You may be thinking that as a working nurse, you don’t have time to earn a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Fortunately, there are BSN and MSN programs available for already-working nurses. These programs are offered online, and part-time, for those who require more flexibility in their class schedule. The RN-to-BSN program at Goodwin College, for example, can be completed in just 16 months part-time, entirely online, while your MSN degree can be completed in 20-months part-time. This means you no longer have to your career aspirations on hold. Your advanced nursing dream-job is right within your reach.
Contact Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 to learn more about our advanced nursing programs in Connecticut. Or, visit us online to request more information today.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.