10 nursing career progression paths and interesting facts about nursing jobs

nursing jobs

The role of nurses has never been more vital than today in keeping the community healthy and safe. The largest industry within healthcare and one of the largest professions overall is nursing. Registered nursing is also one of the highest-paying large occupations. According to Gallup polls, nursing has been rated as the most honest and ethical profession for the past 19 years.

The nursing profession has always been about caring for patients, but with all the issues related to the current healthcare system, a lot of responsibilities fall onto nurses. Nurses rise up to the challenge and help organizations improve healthcare and save money. A lot of responsibility has been shifted to nurses, which requires them to pursue advanced degrees and specialization training.

The compassion, resolve and impact of nurses cannot be emphasized enough. From risking their lives as frontline workers to working extra-long shifts to meet the demands, nurses have been the essential cog of the healthcare system.

However, despite nursing being a noble and well-liked profession, there is a significant shortage of nursing staff in senior positions in hospitals, administration, and others. The nursing profession needs leaders in all the relevant areas of healthcare, starting from a patient’s bedside level to the boardroom.

There are several career paths that a qualified nurse can take up in almost all the important areas of healthcare.

What are possible paths of progression in the nursing profession?

Nursing is a diverse professional field with several potential career paths. Although the duties and requirements of many nursing jobs are comparable, each has distinctive features that can aid in your decision as to which may be best for you and your career objectives.

You can find the best fit by being aware of your options for professional career growth. There are numerous ways to improve your nursing career, and you can choose one of the many available career paths as a nurse to grow.

With substantial job growth anticipated and continuing demand for qualified professionals to fill open positions, nursing is a field ripe with potential. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare sector, whether they are registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), family nurse practitioners (FNPs), or one of the many other nursing professions. According to a 2020 statistic from Statista, there are as many as four times more nurses than physicians in the US.

10 nursing career progression paths

A nursing degree is a course that offers diverse opportunities, workplace responsibilities, and scope for advancement. One of the benefits that people find in the field of nursing is that it offers many career paths.

When the time comes to choose a career in nursing, it is important to consider the different career progressions. Before choosing a nursing career path, the first step is to figure out all the possible options that are available.

Some of the career paths are much more conventional than others, while a few veer off into some unique specializations. Many of these positions require a basic registered nurse (RN) license, while others need specialized training and certification.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses in 2020 was around $75,000. On the other end, specialized nurses or advanced practice nurses (including NPs, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives) earned an average salary of approximately $120,000 per year in 2020.

Nurses’ salaries are on the rise – according to a November 2020 survey by American Nurse Journal, 55% of nurses reported a pay raise in the previous 12 months.

Some of the most common nursing careers include the following.

  1. Bedside nurse

These nurses work in hospitals, and provide care to the patients admitted to the hospital. The nurses are responsible for taking care of the same set of patients throughout their stay, and they also administer tests and medicines and perform patient care.

  1. Clinical research nurse

For a healthcare professional, research is paramount. Trials run in clinics that help in the research and development of new treatments for patients. Nurses in this profession help to manage the care of the patients in clinical trials while following the appropriate guidelines.

For instance, some may help patients by testing their medications, while others may monitor the sick in the hope of learning new information about a certain ailment or disease. Whatever their area of specialization, their work aims to enhance local, regional, national and international health; health care services; and health care outcomes.

  1. Family nurse practitioner

Family nurse practitioner, or FNP, is a type of nurse practitioner with at least a master’s degree in nursing or a PG specialization as an FNP. With a specialized education in family medicine, they can treat patients from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Where do FNPs work? They have multiple options. FNPs can work in primary care offices, outpatient centers, public health clinics, long-term care facilities and even academia.

  1. Nursing educator

To provide education to the next generation of nurses, it is important that there are educators with sufficient knowledge and working experience. Nurses with advanced degrees can move to educator positions in universities. These educators can follow the curriculum and supplement it with their professional experience in the field.

  1. Home care nurse

Some patients are unable to leave home and require care over the long term in their homes. Home care nurses visit patients’ homes and oversee their treatments. Some nurses work with a single patient, while others may work with a group of patients whom they visit throughout the week.

  1. Insurance nurse

Insurance nurses help in health screening assessments for insurance purposes. These tests may be scheduled by the patient’s healthcare provider or by third-party medical professionals who can carry out the assessment.

  1. Nursing home nurse

Nursing home residents require specialized treatment that can range from assistance in daily activities and other strict treatment protocols and medicines. A career in the nursing home will allow the nursing practitioner to form bonds with the patients. As the patients’ requirements vary significantly, the responsibilities of a nurse are quite significant and varied.

  1. Physician’s office nurse

Doctors in private clinics require nursing assistance with daily procedures and operations. Most of the staff in the physician’s office work on an appointment basis, and the staff recommend patients to specialists if required. These offices also follow regular working hours, unlike hospitals or private care facilities.

  1. School nurse

For a person who likes working with children, nursing careers in schools are a good option. As school nurses, they have regular working hours, and they administer care to school students. They also provide care and medication to students who require assistance during school hours.

  1. Surgical nurse

A nurse in a surgical role requires specialized training. Surgical nursing staff regularly assist in operating rooms and perform multiple roles to ensure that the medical staff are appropriately taking care of the patient. Nurses in surgical rooms are responsible for preparing the operating rooms, assisting in procedures, and cleaning the room post-operation.

Nursing goals for career advancement

When you are working towards career progression in the nursing profession, there are many ways that you can achieve your goals. Education is a crucial component in every nursing career path, ranging from certificate specialization programs to advanced nursing degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, more than 65% of RNs have a degree in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), while only 1.4% have an advanced degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Irrespective of the degree completed, about 90% of the nurses secure a job offer within three to four months of course completion.

The first step in a nurse’s career is to picture the ideal position before determining the qualifications and skills required for that position. However, as a nurse progresses in their career, the nursing goals will alter in response to novel situations and challenging work environments. Because few careers are linear in their progression, nurses must be ready to accept opportunities when they emerge that take them in a different direction than they had planned.

So, it is important to keep an open mind when it comes to opportunities in the field. As careers advance and circumstances change, nurses will find themselves having to redefine success.

Additionally, they will have to keep studying their line of work and acquiring practical new abilities through degree courses and certifications. These are some of the important milestones in the path to achieving nursing objectives.

The advent of technology has also transformed nursing as big data has made care personalized and more efficient. Robotics, advancement in technology, and telecommunication has transformed the nursing profession along with the whole healthcare industry. This inclusion of technology into nursing has made it an essential requirement for nurses to be tech-savvy.

To keep advancing in the nursing profession, nurses need to constantly update their education and skills. Nursing is about much more than simply caring for the sick, as apparent by the variety of available nursing professions. There is almost an endless list of specializations, ranging from psychiatry, gerontology and pediatrics to obstetrics and many more. This list of specialties is constantly growing with advancements in healthcare. There is a multitude of opportunities for nurses to explore much more beyond traditional healthcare besides a patient.

Nursing will include a whole variety of responsibilities, technology, gadgets, skill improvement, and different work settings. However, when it comes to all the different advancements and varied professional careers, nurses have to figure out the way to find the best path.

Earn an advanced degree certification in nursing

You can work with a diploma or associate degree in the field, but most nurses prefer to complete a bachelor’s degree before joining the nursing profession. It is beneficial to opt for higher education as it increases your prospects of getting a better role, and it can also help you in earning a higher salary.

Obtaining an advanced nursing certification  

You can also advance in your career by earning relevant certifications. Specialized certifications such as surgical nursing certification can help you learn new skills and show that you are qualified for an advanced position.

Choose a specialization 

You can advance in the nursing profession by specializing in a certain field. As a nurse, you can hone your abilities to improve your performance when you specialize in a particular area. It will not only make you more competent for higher roles in that area but also open up new career prospects.

Pursuing leadership roles in nursing

Nurses not only play a role in providing care to the patients, but they are also responsible for mentoring and educating new nurses. Their participation and influence in creating local and federal health policies are also significant. For someone looking to advance in the nursing profession, these are two of the most crucial goals. Understanding the requirements for the role and all of the responsibilities and tasks of the position is the first step in being ready to apply for a leadership post in nursing.

As a nursing leader, one can help in mitigating the effects of the present shortage of nursing staff, address the gaps in the quality of healthcare received by patients, and find out ways to automate healthcare processes to improve efficiency and efficacy.

Why is advanced education becoming important in nursing?

Completing an RN program used to be sufficient as a nurse, but it is not enough anymore. The primary reason behind this is that medicine is always becoming more specialized and complex. Nurses require education that goes beyond RN training in order to have the knowledge base to keep up with new medical technology and utilize electronic medical records. It is also important for patient care as technology can help make the treatment more effective, efficient and culturally appropriate. The best way to obtain such education is to pursue a bachelor’s degree or any advanced degree certification for a specialization.

With an advanced degree, you get a higher level of nursing skills and professional experience that you can incorporate while moving up in your career. A higher degree or specialization can help you move into a leadership role, such as leading a team of nurses or becoming a board member of the health administration of an organization.

A degree such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) will greatly benefit your career progression as it will make you stand apart from your peers and make you eligible for a higher salary.

The landscape of nursing degree education

With the COVID-19 pandemic, just like the rest of the world, the education landscape also changed significantly. There was much more remote learning from 2020 to 2021, which made a few things easier but brought along a different set of challenges.

Post-pandemic, it was reported that a mix of in-person and distance learning could be academically more beneficial to nursing students.

Getting a degree or certification isn’t difficult and it has never been easier thanks to online educational programs. Rather than leaving or disrupting your job, you can advance your skills while keeping up with your regular work commitments. You can choose your course schedule and select the pace at which you want to complete the certification. All this has made learning much more convenient for working nurses.

Final thoughts

Advancing your career in nursing can help ensure that your professional and personal goals are fulfilled. With all the options available in choosing career paths and specializations, there is a whole world of opportunities in nursing.

One of the cornerstones of the global healthcare industry is the nursing sector. Given the increased demand for nurses at all levels, along with nursing educators, this is the right time to explore career prospects in the nursing sector.

The current nursing shortage also makes it a lucrative and fulfilling career choice. According to the American Nurses Association, 1.1 million nurses are needed by 2022 to meet the current shortage in the nursing sector. The rapid increase in the global population of people aged 65 and above is one of the main reasons for the shortage. So, if you are thinking about whether nursing is a suitable profession or not, rest assured that it is one of the most ethical and honest professions in the world. It is not just an altruistic caregiving profession, but it also pays well, has several challenging opportunities, and has a huge potential for professional advancement.

Previous articleUnlock the Power of Security Weapons to Enhance Business Security
Next articleUseful Tips for Acquiring Quality Used Vehicle