Many nurses study to further their career on their own time, struggling with costs, work, and family. They work hard under a flock of pressures, driven by their desire to serve. Once they get there, they find there is always more to learn. An Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree is not enough. A higher level of education is needed, and that means more expense, work, and sacrifice. Can you do it? Why should you?
Continuing education is a way of life.
Life in a professional career requires continuing education just to remain current. If you want to be in control of your career and employment, you need a strategy in place to continue your professional education. In addition, there are an increasing number of nursing disciplines that require Master’s degrees:
- Nurse Practitioners (NPs) support doctor’s by taking on an increasing number of primary and specialty tasks. Within the physician’s directions, they can examine, diagnose, and prescribe remedies.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) are authorized to minister direct patient care and consult in areas like mental and geriatric care.
- Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) provide gynecological exams and prenatal care.
- Certified Nursing Anesthetists (CRNAs) are trained to administer anesthesia to obstetric or surgical procedures. .
Change your career path.
- You can move into nursing or hospital administration with an advanced degree that favors the business aspect of healthcare. The growth in managed care, senior care, and hospital management opportunities increases the demand for educated professionals.
- You can teach in a college or university setting, training nurses and future health-care personnel.
- You can earn a significantly higher salary than registered or practical nurses.
- Advanced education in healthcare specialties affects patient mortality. There is an unclear and undefined connection between continuing education and improvement in mortality and morbidity statistics.
- Nurses returning to school report the experience as transforming. This is an experience shared by many adults returning to school – a feeling of self-satisfaction, of changing perspectives, and of sharing a larger perspective.
- Although the demand for qualified nurses continues to increase, there is a parallel push to raise education expectations. Only 50% of RNs have baccalaureate degrees, and only 13.2% have graduate degrees. The Healthcare Media Council reports pressures to require 80% of nurses to have bachelor’s degrees and twice as many doctorate degrees by 2020.
Nursing remains a career and life path with many rewards and opportunities. But, you do not have to be in practice long before your realize it will be a lifelong commitment to growth through education. It is no longer a bed-side profession. It requires increasingly complex knowledge in symptomatology, pharmacology, and technology. Advanced education opens more doors, increases income, and recognizes your worth. Now that you can complete a masters in nursing online, you have life-work balance convenience not available in the past. Some online programs allow you to complete the degree in two years or less, and many employers will subsidize or underwrite the cost to keep you on staff. Look into your options soon!
Dee enjoys freelance writing/blogging in her spare time and also does some ghost writing as well.
Image Credits (according to their order of appearance):
Czech nursing students – image by Vlastimil (originally posted to Flickr as Studentky) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Nurses studying – image By University of Salford (University of Salford Press Office) via Flickr shared under CC BY 2.0 license.
Nursing class group photo – image By timefornurses (OnCall team) via Flickr shared under CC BY-ND 2.0 license.