Most experts agree that finding the right nursing career is a fairly subjective and individual process. In fact, most say that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to go about landing in the perfect job. And this applies to the educational process as well. The important idea to keep in mind is in finding a job that is right for you.
This article will explore some proven methods of finding a long-term career solution that suits your personal and professional goals.
Make a Decision And Go For It
As with anything in life, one of the most important ideas is to make a decision and then act upon it. Medical career experts agree that the most successful nurses and other practitioners have gotten down to the hard work of creating a life once they decide they want to do it. The purpose of an advanced education is to prepare you to practice better -- no matter what you are doing. So, the quicker you get down to the daily tasks required to achieve your goal, the quicker you reach them.
Setting the course is the first goal. And this requires clarification of what those goals are, which, in turn helps you determine an educational and career choice. Which areas of nursing do you like, and which do you not like? Which settings do you like? A busy urban hospital or a rural medical setting? Do you like hands-on patient care or do you want to work in a more collaborative environment. Do you like administrative duties? And most important, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Got the answers? Good. Now do some research on programs where you live. What's available? What matches your interests, and which programs seem most aligned with your goals? You should research the various programs available in your area and determine if they meet your educational aspirations. Do you want to practice advanced nursing (APRN)? This route will take you through an MSN program, which places increased importance on informatics education and administration. And you will have additional educational opportunities through a nursing doctoral degree such as the PhD, DNS or DNSc.
Following the APRN path, you will have access to several role options. You could become a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife or nurse anesthetist. Students can follow any of these paths through master's degree or a DNP. Nurses who are interested in working with women have a well-defined path, which involves getting a master's or DNP as a certified nurse midwife or certified anesthetist.
If you are trying to decide between a CNS or NP role in your career, you will want to determine what type of role you want to play in patient care. Clinical nurse specialists may do direct patient care, but they typically act as a nurse for other nurses in a complementary role. They are primarily focused on influencing the outcomes of patient treatment options and setting an administrative course for recovery. So while they may see individual patients within their area of specialization, they are also working with other nurses, evaluating programs and setting up areas of expertise.
Some Must-Have Educational Requirements
Beyond the bachelors, the first step in graduate-level education is the master's degree. These programs, along with the doctoral programs, prepare nurses in either advanced nursing practice or as APRNs. In recent years, the doctorate has become the increasing path of choice, with increases of close to 30 percent in the number of students entering these programs. The PhD is a research-focused degree, and nurses with these degrees have the flexibility of working in educational and research arenas.
Whichever advanced educational path you choose, it is important to keep in mind that the choices are myriad. And you'll want to investigate your own desires when it comes to day-to-day interaction with nurses, staff and patients.
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