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Career progression opportunities with an advanced nursing degree

by Juan D. Vanpelt

Career progression opportunities with an advanced nursing degree 2

An advanced degree in nursing can provide motivated and career-oriented nurses with progression opportunities. Not only does an advanced degree offer professional fulfillment, but it can also give an ambitious professional personal fulfillment with more autonomy and responsibility at work. Other benefits of furthering education in nursing include increased earning potential, leadership opportunities, progression into new roles, and more.

Opportunities for career progression with an advanced degree

An advanced degree in nursing is the best way to secure a leadership position in the medical field. Most nurses have a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree will open doors for places that offer more autonomy and the ability to effect real change in the industry. Nurses can pursue manager and director positions or other leadership roles when they advance their education. Becoming a nurse administrator or educator is also possible with a master’s degree, as is becoming a clinical nurse in a specialized area.

Earning a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing can lead to exciting opportunities that offer higher income, increased respect, and more autonomy. The Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education (MSN-NE) program at Cleveland State University provides nurses with the skills and knowledge required to move into more specialist roles. These positions include clinical research nurse, nurse educator, nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant, and many others. The course also allows for flexible online learning, allowing students to work alongside their studies.

Clinical research nurse

Clinical research nurses help with research studies and clinical trials by finding participants, analyzing medical tests, and collecting data for review. These nurses also care for the participants in these research trials and administer medications. They will observe reactions and monitor patients’ vital signs. Clinical research nurses are also responsible for educating participants in areas corresponding to the study.

Nurse educator

Nurse educators work in educational institutions and teach nursing students the fundamentals of the profession. These professionals start as registered nurses and become instructors in the nursing field after many years of experience and further education. Nurse educators teach students at the university level the skills and knowledge they need to become nurses. They instruct students on research, clinical skills, and new technologies and treatments. These professionals also develop testing materials and the curriculums for the courses.

Nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide primary care to patients like a doctor. These professionals can work in different settings, such as hospitals and clinics, or even open their practice. Nurse practitioners must undergo special certification and additional education so they can practice autonomously without the direct supervision of a physician. Many nurse practitioners will open practices in areas lacking medical facilities. As well as treating their patients, they are also responsible for educating patients on healthy lifestyle choices.

Physician’s assistant (PA)

Physician assistants work with general practitioners to provide care in many medical settings. These healthcare professionals can perform many duties that a physician can, much like a nurse practitioner. Physician assistants have more advanced tasks than practitioners, who can diagnose and treat patients, assist in surgical procedures, conduct physical exams, diagnose patients, and prescribe medications. The big difference is that PAs don’t practice independently as a practitioner would.

Nurse consultant

Nurse consultants are registered nurses who evaluate nursing program standards in various medical facilities and offer recommendations for improvements and help in implementation. These medical leaders may work in clinical, legal, or operational consulting. Consultants review policies and standards of nursing in different facilities and work with the staff collaboratively. They also work with legal departments to manage patient cases.

Public health nurse

Public health nurses provide care and education about health issues to their communities. They can offer healthcare much like a registered nurse; some responsibilities include taking vital signs and assessing patients. Primarily, however, they offer education and resources on public health issues. They work in areas such as nursing homes and schools and bring community members together to promote public health.

Registered nurse manager

Registered nurse managers work as administrators in healthcare facilities. They rarely provide direct care to patients but take on administrative duties in the department. Some responsibilities include recruitment, mentoring new nurses, creating work schedules, training nurses on new treatments and techniques, and implementing policy changes. These professionals work with other facility members, such as executives and directors, to establish budgets, treatments, and staffing plans. These respected individuals advise on any improvements that can be made for nursing staff or new policies that could be implemented.

Director of Nursing

A nursing director is part of a facility’s executive team and oversees all nursing operations. Directors are responsible for facilitating communication between their staff and other employees, increasing the department’s productivity, and managing the budgets and salaries of nurses. They also ensure that the medical staff gives the best car and the medical team provides the best carves. Directors usually operate in large medical organizations but can work in any healthcare setting with an executive.

Clinical nurse specialist

Clinical nurse specialists can practice in a wide range of settings. Clinical nurses specialize in a chosen area, such as oncology, pediatrics, rehabilitation, or another branch of medicine. These professionals provide medical care to patients suffering from specific illnesses and educate them about their illness and treatment options. They can create treatment plans, offer advice, consult, or do research depending on their chosen specialization.


An advanced degree can open many doors for nurses and provide personal and professional opportunities that are fulfilling and challenging. From nurse practitioners to clinical nurse specialists, advanced degrees are an excellent way for any nurse to reach their full potential and effect real change in their industry.

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