Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Walt Whitman and Mary Seacole all have something in common. These considerate, altruistic individuals and many more like them all shared a passion for helping others. It takes a truly unique personality and generous nature to care about the welfare of others and dedicate your life to that passion. For those big-hearted individuals, a nursing degree may be the perfect opportunity to fulfill that desire.
What is a Nursing Degree
When considering your nursing career path, you must first consider the degree you are willing to and capable of earning. There are a few different nursing degrees, each with its requirements and potential careers. Each degree demands different educational courses and varying lengths of required scholastic commitment.
Associate’s Nursing Degree
An Associate’s Degree in Nursing requires a two-year degree from an accredited community college or vocational school. This is the minimum requirement to enter the nursing field as a Registered Nurse. Although you will be able to find entry-level nursing jobs, these days many employers require a bachelor’s degree for many of their nursing positions.
Bachelor’s Nursing Degree
Typically a four-year degree, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can be earned at a large selection of colleges and universities all across the country. Your education development will include more than just reading textbooks and traditional classroom learning; it will also incorporate hands-on training called clinical. Students seeking their BSN degree will be required to complete a specific number of hours performing clinical. This gives students an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with real patients in an actual clinical setting.
Master’s of Science Nursing Degree
If you have achieved your BSN and desire more education and accreditation in the nursing field, you should pursue a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. More elevated nursing positions, for example, an advanced practice nurse (APN or APRN), will require a MSN degree. If you are interested in a certain medical specialty or type of nursing, there are specialized master’s degree options such as pediatric acute care, nurse midwifery, older adult primary care and forensic nursing. To become a nurse practitioner (NP) or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), a specialized master’s degree is required. A MSN degree will usually involve an additional one to two years of coursework and training, which can often be done in unison with your current nursing position.
Doctorate Nursing Degree
To attain the highest degree in the fascinating field of nursing, you must achieve a doctorate in nursing, which can be accomplished in a couple ways. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice doctorate that focuses on improving systems of care, interpreting and applying nursing research and the most clinical aspects of nursing. If you wish to be more involved in the research end of nursing, you can strive for a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) degree, which focuses mainly on medical research. This will give you an opportunity to contribute to the most innovative and exciting advancements in the medical industry.
Although financial rewards should be a consideration when committing to employment in the nursing world, it is far more important for you to choose a career that suits your personality and passion. There are many different specialties to choose from, so be sure to do your research and get the degree required for the occupation of your choice. Traditionally nursing jobs are thought to be in hospitals or physician’s clinics. However, there are far more options than the typical hospital environment for those dedicated to helping others.
Certified Dialysis Nurse
As one of the nation’s fastest growing nursing specialties, there continues to be a high demand for certified dialysis nurses. The specialized nurses aid those people who have to rely on a dialysis machine to machine due to poor performing kidneys. Because of the increased demand and minimum supply, certified dialysis nurses can expect a relatively substantial starting salary. Another benefit to this occupation is that dialysis clinics are open standard business hours giving certified dialysis nurses a more traditional work schedule than hospital nurses. An RN license and additional training in dialysis and nephrology is required to become a certified dialysis nurse.
One of the highest paid occupations in the nursing field is a nurse anesthetist. These highly specialized nurses administer and maintain anesthesia medications. They work closely with surgeons, dentists and anesthesiologists to ensure patients are safe and comfortable while under anesthesia. An experienced nurse anesthetist can expect to receive a salary of over one hundred thousand dollars a year. Not only does this occupation require an RN license, but you must also be certified by the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
Critical Care Transport Nurse
Challenging and very rewarding, a critical care transport nurse must have extensive knowledge in order to think quickly and act appropriately in ever-changing situations. The main responsibility of a critical care transport is to provide direct patient attention as a person is being transported, such as moving a patient from one nursing facility to another or assisting in the back of an ambulance on the way to hospitals. Individuals who are dedicated to helping others, but also have an adventurous streak will receive the greatest amount of joy from a position like this. Compensation for this occupation will depend on your credentials and experience.
Regardless of the specific path you choose, if you have true dedication and a genuine commitment to helping others, your nursing career is sure to be satisfying and successful.