Career prospects in the nursing industry: how to progress and develop

Career prospects in the nursing industry: how to progress and develop


The nursing industry offers exciting career prospects with high job security. Many individuals plan their careers as soon as they enter the workforce to keep moving forward and reach their career goals. The good news is that various healthcare opportunities offer workers satisfying work environments and stable, long-term prospects. 

Depending on your interests and experience, you can choose a specialty or transition into a nursing career. For one, you could consider exploring online accelerated BSN programs if you’re new to healthcare. Baylor University’s program allows you to complete your studies in just one year’s time at a top 10 accredited nursing college.

Finding out about your options is the first step to advancing your career or even transitioning into nursing. That said, you may wonder about the different career options in nursing. In this article, we’ll explore some ways that you can progress in nursing. Moreover, once you’re on the nursing track, we’ll discuss how to advance in the field.

Becoming a registered nurse (RN)

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that nursing will grow by 6% through 2031. As most people know, a registered nurse (RN) is the most common position in the field. In many ways, it’s the core occupation within the sector, as other roles are built upon the foundation of the RN. As an RN, you can expect to care for patients in various healthcare settings. For instance, you could care for them at hospitals, long-term care facilities or clinics. 

Your duties include administering medications, completing medical charts, and assisting physicians and other health professionals in their work. You can begin pursuing this path by completing a nursing program at a well-known online program. Once you complete the program, you will take a licensing exam to receive your RN credentials. It’s also possible to make a lateral shift into nursing if you have a different background and work experience. However, it’s essential to contact your university program for guidance.

Advance your education

Eventually, many nurses decide to advance their careers and education. For example, they look to pursue a specialty to earn a higher salary – or they choose to look for opportunities in leadership or administrative roles. You can take advantage of online programs that allow you to continue working while earning a degree. So, you have numerous options, whether you would like to focus on pediatrics, critical care, oncology, or another area. Let’s explore some of them.

Becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)

One way to advance your career and earn a higher salary is to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). This designation is given to those with a master’s degree who complete additional certification requirements. Most APRNs can prescribe medications and provide healthcare services autonomously, depending on state regulations. The most common APRN roles include nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners specialize in providing primary care and work in various clinical settings. Nurse anesthetists oversee patients undergoing surgery and administer anesthesia.

Becoming a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

As we know, health and wellness are top of mind for millions of people. Moreover, there’s a greater need for healthcare professionals. So, in time, you could become an RN with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This degree is the highest level of nursing education and allows you to conduct advanced research and practice. Individuals with a DNP typically work in leadership roles such as nursing administration, clinical strategy and nursing education. Most DNP programs require three to five years of additional study.

Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Another excellent career opportunity is to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). To become a nurse anesthetist, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree. You then have to attain a master’s degree in nursing. After completing your education, you’ll also have to pass a state exam. In most states, nurse anesthetists must work under the supervision of a physician. Becoming a CRNA has obvious benefits for your salary and earning potential.

Change roles: go from nursing to management or leadership positions

As you advance in your career, you may want to consider transitioning out of direct patient care and into managerial or leadership roles. In fact, many nurses decide to make this shift after about a decade of work experience. Depending on your experience, you can increase your earning potential and take advantage of this opportunity. For instance, you may decide to pursue an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree in business and administration.

Nursing leadership positions, such as chief nursing officer (CNO) or vice president of nursing (VPN), typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. Nursing management positions usually require professionals to go beyond a bachelor’s degree. As a result, most executive and management positions often require a master’s degree. It’s important to know that advancing to leadership involves time and preparation. However, the rewards are great and could provide an outstanding career beyond patient care.

Network and develop new skills

To advance in your nursing career, you should consider broadening your knowledge base and developing new skills. For example, you may wish to pursue an additional degree in a related field or take advantage of continuing education opportunities. Also, you can join professional organizations. In doing so, you’ll attend conferences to network with and engage new colleagues. Moreover, you may consider adding varying skills to your experience.

For instance, many nurses pursue learning as a medical coder, which sometimes gives them an edge in the job market. Some fields require certification to demonstrate expertise and proficiency in a specific area. So, it’s a good idea to explore the different certification programs available to you and decide which may be best for your interests and career goals. If you have worked in nursing for a few years, you may wonder about the different career options available. The positions described in this article offer you new challenges and opportunities for your career. 

Nursing paths and new opportunities

As you can see, nursing is a field with various career paths to choose from, depending on your interests. Moreover, each offers opportunities for advancement and promotion. So, if you want to advance your education and become an APRN, CRNA or DNP, you’ll increase your earning potential. Also, you’ll find new opportunities for a rewarding career.

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