Second Career: What Can I Do with a Nursing Degree?

Whether you want to do something different with your nursing degree or you are working in a totally different field, a bachelor of science in nursing provides you with an array of options to choose from. From the potentially lucrative paycheck to the emotional rewards, there is much to commend achieving a nursing degree. Here is a guide to nursing and the different ways you can put a nursing degree to good use.

An Introduction to Nursing

With so many different types of nursing roles, it can get confusing. A registered nurse provides direct care to patients, offers assistance during medical procedures and advises family members. In addition, some registered nurses are also involved in administering medication and can operate medical equipment. When it comes to patient care, nurse assistants, licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses all have a part to play. Although these jobs also involve helping physicians in a medical setting and providing care to patients, the scope of practice in these roles is more restrictive than that of a registered nurse.

Why Should I Become a Registered Nurse?

According to the numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an increasing demand for registered nurses. In fact, within the United States there are approximately 2.7 million registered nurses. With an average median pay of $75,330 per year, it can be a profitable career move. Not to mention that a role in patient care can be incredibly fulfilling. Not only do registered nurses help to improve local communities with patient care, but they can also transform the lives of individuals from all backgrounds with the type of care they offer. Becoming a registered nurse goes beyond the paycheck. By simply going to work, you know you are making a difference to the world and are rewarded emotionally.

Can I Skip the Years of Training?

To get into nursing you need to gain relevant qualifications. The length of time for the educational process varies depending on the nursing classification you want to achieve. To become qualified as a registered nurse, you have several options to choose from. You can either spend four years to achieve a bachelor’s degree or two years to complete an associate degree. Alternatively, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field of study, then you can opt for a distance accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing (ABSN). This is the most practical option if you want to begin a second career as a registered nurse but you do not want to waste the years of study you have already undertaken.

A Second Career as a Registered Nurse

Nursing is a competitive field, which is why you should consider getting a bachelor of science in nursing. With a distance ABSN, you can bank the years of hard work and complete the degree in a short space of time. Some universities offer online bsn programs for non nurses. These online BSN programs give students the advantage of using the credit they have already gained in their previous bachelor’s degree while completing a BSN in as little as 16 months. Furthermore, these programs provide students with the flexibility of learning at home, without the need to attend lectures and seminars physically; all course materials can be found and completed online.

Already a Registered Nurse?

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states that in the United States, approximately 58% of registered nurses work in surgical and general medical hospitals. If you want a change in career but do not necessarily want to swap fields, then a change of setting could be the answer. With a BSN, you have many nursing roles to choose from:

Nutritionist Nurse

A nurse who works in nutrition creates health and wellness programs for organizations, athletes and individuals and they place focus on nutrition and diet. They can help individuals achieve their weight goals and can also advise corporations on fitness and wellbeing.

Public Health Nurse

The role of a public health nurse differs to a traditional nurse role in that it revolves around community care. The role can entail creating and implementing health programs, educating the public about wellness and promoting good health. Essentially, public health nurses are community advocates. Physically they administer vaccines, but also offer local governments advice with regards to community wellbeing and health.

Forensic Nursing

A forensic nurse specializes in providing care for victims of criminal activities that have resulted in health issues. For example, people who have been exploited or have fallen victim to violence. Besides medical assistance, forensic nurses also go to court to give qualified testimony. Through medical care, forensic nurses are able to collect evidence from the victim that can be vital to court cases. With a combination of legal training and clinical care experience, forensic nurses can offer expert advice for legal firms.

Use a BSN to Further Your Career

With a nursing degree, you can further your existing career. A BSN can help you exceed your current job role in administration and can also help you proceed to a leadership or management role. These roles include nurse manager, chief nursing officer, director of nursing and nurse administrator.

Opportunities in Education

For people interested in education, a nursing degree can help you qualify as a nurse educator. With an increasing demand for registered nurses, there is a growing demand for educators to match. A qualified educator can fulfil a role within a clinical setting or a nursing school with a BSN accreditation, but for a higher level education position, you may need a master of science in nursing. Besides educating others, with a BSN you can work as a nursing researcher. This role involves research within specialist areas, such as medicine, pharmaceuticals and nutrition. A nursing researcher is involved in the creation and implementation process for scientific studies with the aim to improve quality.

Lucrative Career Changes

For a change in direction with a lucrative salary to boot, consulting for a pharmaceutical company ticks all the boxes. Large pharma corporations hire specialists with in-depth knowledge in specialist areas for advice and research. A nursing informatics specialist earns an average median salary of $88,740 per year. It is a great role for those who are interested in combining healthcare with information technology. They can help large organizations safeguard their practices with regards to cybersecurity while implementing new technology to support workplace workflow.

In Summary

With a nursing degree, you have a multitude of options available for you to choose from. From becoming a registered nurse in a hospital setting to working in education, there are many second career choices to choose from. Whether you want to branch out in your current field or you are looking to acquire a brand new bachelor of science degree in nursing, the world is your oyster when it comes to a nursing degree.