Choosing the right career path is an important element in finding happiness and meaning in your life. When you’re working on a full-time basis, you’ll spend the majority of your time at your workplace, so it’s essential that you’re doing something you enjoy!
However, it can be tricky to fully understand what a specific career path involves until you’re on it. While internships and work experience programs can help students to gain a deeper understanding of what particular roles involve, comprehensive research is still required if you want to ensure you’re making the right career choices.
Working in the healthcare sector can be one of the most rewarding career options of all. By playing a direct role in providing care to people when they need it most, medical personnel are critical to society. Of course, there are a wide variety of career paths within the medical industry. From surgeons and therapists to managers and directors; the healthcare sector offers varied career paths and specialties.
One of the most popular career options in medicine is nursing. Giving you the opportunity to work directly with patients and provide the essential care they need, becoming a nurse enables you to combine medical knowledge with an empathetic approach to deliver compassionate and effective care.
What Are the Duties of a Nurse?
If you’re considering a career in nursing, you’ll want to know exactly what the day-to-day demands of the role include. Although your responsibilities will vary depending on your specific role, the general duties of a nurse include:
- Administering medication to patients
- Assessing and diagnosing patients
- Referring patients to other medical professionals
- Providing accurate information and guidance to patients
- Adhering to care plans
- Monitoring and recording observations
- Prescribing appropriate treatments
- Assisting in surgery and operating theaters
- Managing your own caseload
As you can see, nurses take on a considerable amount of responsibility. Typically, the level of responsibility increases as your career progresses. Gaining experience will enable you to hone your skills and undertake additional duties, but further training will often be required too.
To ensure patient safety, medical professionals have strictly ascribed roles and limitations. A Registered Nurse may administer medication in accordance with an established care plan, but they wouldn’t necessarily be permitted to assist in theater, for example.
Different Types of Nursing
In the U.S., there are numerous different types of nursing roles. The most common include:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Clinical Nurse Leader
- Nurse Practitioner
- Nurse Case Manager
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Critical Care Registered Nurse
- Surgical Registered Nurse
- Nurse Educator
While CNA and LPN positions do require some certification, much of your experience is gained in a workplace setting. As entry-level positions, they can be an ideal way to explore the day-to-day world of nursing and determine whether it’s the right career path for you.
Becoming a Registered Nurse is one of the most popular ways to enter the profession. As RNs take on more responsibility than CNAs or LPNs, there is a wider variety of job roles available. Indeed, the on-going need for Registered Nurses means that experienced and proficient RNs can find employment in almost any location in America.
To be eligible to work as an RN, candidates must complete either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (AND) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Although either qualification can form the basis of a career as an RN, it is arguably easier to obtain employment as an RN if you have a BSN. As many medical providers and facilities prefer their RNs to have a BSN, this is the most popular route into the industry.
Planning Your Nursing Career
After gaining experience as a qualified Registered Nurse, you may want to progress further. While many people enjoy a lengthy and fulfilling career as an RN, there are other options available. To undertake more senior roles, you will need to successfully obtain additional qualifications.
The most useful and advantageous advanced qualifications for nurses include:
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- MSN – Family Nursing Practitioner (MSN-FNP)
- Post-Master’s FNP Certificate
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Master of Healthcare Management
Although many Registered Nurses want to pursue further study, taking time off to enroll in full-time courses isn’t always a viable option. By choosing Carson-Newman University, however, candidates can complete their advanced nursing qualifications via online learning. As a reputable and prestigious educational institution, graduates of Carson-Newman University enjoy high rates of employment, particularly in senior roles. Furthermore, the personalized learning opportunities that are available ensure students can forge their own unique career path based on their experience, interests, and specialties.
What Can You Earn as a Nurse?
While a high salary isn’t the most important aspect of a job role, your earning capacity does have a major impact on your career choices. In addition to a range of other benefits, a career in nursing can offer a high level of remuneration. In an entry-level position as an LPN, you can earn an average of $44,000 per annum. As a Registered Nurse, however, the annual average salary increases to around $66,000.
As you might expect, a nurse’s salary increases in line with his or her experience and specific job role. Nurses who obtain a Master of Science in Nursing and go on to work in specialist roles earn an average of $70,000 to $80,000 per year, while Nurse Practitioners earn an average of $97,000 annually. With specialists such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists earning over $150,000 on average, there is plenty of scope to increase your earning capacity.
Although the increasing salary associated with career progression is one reason to enroll in further study, there are other reasons to pursue an advanced career in nursing. By obtaining an MSN or FNP, Registered Nurses can take on a range of additional responsibilities and even managerial positions. This added dimension can enhance your career path and ensure your day-to-day role provides a dynamic, rewarding and challenging environment in which to reach your potential.