Home Medical Services How an online degree can further your nursing career

How an online degree can further your nursing career

by Juan D. Vanpelt

A group of women sitting at a table looking at a computer Description automatically generated with low confidence

The nursing profession is wide, requiring varied skills to work in various levels of patient care. Among the best ways to advance your career and build a superior profile is to further your education. It gives you the leverage to apply for a job in bigger institutions. However, it may be hard to get back to school when you are firmly placed in a position.

Fortunately, many institutions today have designed online programs for learners to pursue further education amid their tight schedules at work. You can sacrifice a few hours and attend class as you serve your employer. You can also give up your job altogether if you have enough resources to sustain your online degree because it will empower you to get a better job after graduating.

What it takes to become a nurse

The world may evolve with new technologies, but hospitals and other healthcare centers require nurses at every stage. These professionals are needed for bedside care and hold significant advocacy, education, and leadership roles. As time passes, the population ages, and the number of patients keeps growing. Compassionate people who wish to reduce human suffering enroll in courses to become nurses that can make a difference.

Steps to becoming a nurse

To become a registered nurse, you must first acquire quality education. The law requires that every student graduates from a recognized institution before being licensed. Below is a list of steps to follow to become a nurse.

  • Choose a nursing career path.

Nursing is dynamic with many career directions. The environment you want to work in should guide your choices if you wish to serve in a nursing home, doctor’s office, or ward. You should also determine the role you want to play, including overseeing systems, managing other nurses, and more. You can start as a staff nurse and climb the ladder to a nurse administrator.

  • Earn a degree

A degree is the basic level of education for a nurse who is just beginning. Most degree courses are available online. Students will only be required to conduct clinical requirements from a medical setting in their location. Remember that a nursing diploma falls under the degree program.

  • Get a license

After completing your degree program, you need to be licensed. This process entails taking an exam conducted by a licensing body to ascertain whether you have the requisite skills or knowledge. The license you get is based on your career path and level of education.

  • Become a lifelong learner.

Like any other industry, healthcare is also transforming to address new challenges. Nurses work on the front lines, so they must stay informed of the changes in healthcare. It would be best if you had a lifelong learner’s perspective to take advantage of new roles and opportunities that may come up in the future. Empower yourself by pursuing continuing education courses that usually take two years to complete. Liaise with the nursing boards to understand the requirements. If you decide to specialize in a field, acquire professional certification.

Benefits of furthering nursing education through an online degree

This discussion highlights some benefits of furthering your education to advance your nursing career, as you will see in the list below:

  • Career Advancement

Studying and earning an MSN degree allows you to advance your career and gain a more fulfilling job experience. This milestone comes with better pay. For example, with this degree, you achieve the new status of an advanced nurse practitioner, accompanied by attractive job earnings. Advancing your education builds your confidence and leadership skills. Your new job may involve placement in a senior position where you will exercise your new skills.

  • Increased responsibility

Acquiring an advanced nursing degree comes with additional responsibility. You gain new status above many other ordinary workers who may not have your qualifications. As a trained nurse practitioner with an MSN-NP degree, such as the one from Spring Arbor University, you will acquire and strengthen your skills in handling complex duties. This course is available across most online colleges offering health-related education. Again, more responsibilities are rewarded by higher pay. This situation also introduces you to greater opportunities to practice the skills you acquire from the degree program. Some nursing responsibilities include deployment to other greater institutions where you will interact with fellow senior nurses and build networks.

  • Better schedule

The nursing profession is demanding compared to other careers. It involves emergencies that will take you out of your holiday to report to work. It also involves working on weekends and staying awake during your long shift.

However, when you advance your career through education, you will probably occupy a senior position that prompts you to adopt a more traditional working program. You may become a nursing educator working normal hours a week. Your qualification strips you of other normal duties of a regular nurse, which are often very stressful. An easy schedule allows you to plan your time, enabling you to spend more time with your family and streamline other personal matters.

  • Specialization options

Furthering your nursing education allows you to choose a specialization based on the skills you need for your career. The nursing field is wide, bearing opportunities in various departments such as adult-gerontology, family nursing, infection prevention and control, nursing management, nursing education, and nursing informatics. You can build on your career interest in your learning institution by selecting a specialization that appeals to you. A customized selection helps you chase your passion as well.

On the other hand, junior nurses with basic qualifications are deployed based on what the employer wants. They have no choice but to serve the organization’s interests where they are employed. It becomes difficult for them to be productive because sometimes they are forced into an area they do not like.

  • Boost your skill set.

An undergraduate degree program equips you with some nursing skills, but you can acquire more expertise with an advanced degree. Further education endows you with new skills to boost your profile in the nursing profession. It exposes you to new practices and technology to handle more challenging problems regarding patient care. Furthering your nursing degree can also empower you to take up multiple skill sets based on your organization’s requirements. For instance, you can work in the nursing informatics sector or take the nursing management route based on your career skill set.

  • Expand your network

Nurses who have furthered their education and acquired the MSN online degree stand a better chance of meeting healthcare professionals in the patient care setup. As an undergraduate, you may have encountered various professionals, but a superior degree where you have specialized allows you to meet like-minded professionals.

Your organization will undoubtedly put you in an administrative role where you can attend healthcare and nursing conferences. Here, you will encounter high-ranking professionals, including physicians, executives, and healthcare managers with whom you can build networks. They will enlighten you about various healthcare organizations and environments. Most importantly, they will offer you better job opportunities if there are vacancies in institutions they know.

  • Flexibility

Students furthering their nursing education through online institutions enjoy great flexibility. These programs often have easy schedules that are manageable. You can study while managing your work responsibilities and attending to family matters. Online studies also save you the cost of traveling or paying rent on premises where you would have to live to participate in in-person classes. Studying in the comfort of your home provides an avenue to maintain balanced well-being, fitness, and work. You also save a lot of time because you do not have to commute daily to school.

  • New career opportunities

Like any other professional, nurses also wish to expand their horizons, which is possible through higher education. When you acquire a senior degree like an MSN, you open doors for greater exploration opportunities. Your career path can take a different trajectory where you abandon the traditional responsibilities of working in a hospital environment.

An opportunity could arise if you are hired by a non-profit organization offering worldwide healthcare services. This is a chance to explore the world as you serve people needing medical attention. With your advanced degree, you may land another job aligned with your qualifications and duties. The degree elevates you to suit any part of the world and work in any health-related environment.

In summary, there are many advantages to leveling up your nursing qualification with an online degree, from learning new skills to working in an area with a better schedule. Using an online course allows you to learn in the comfort of your own home and allows for more flexibility than a similar in-person course. It ultimately comes down to your aims for the future and what environment you want to learn within.

You may also like