Nurses are an essential component behind the efficient and effective running of a healthcare center. They are the most reliable hospital staff who ensure patients’ outcomes with their relentless determination and hard work towards treating the patient holistically. Nurses have extensive knowledge and understanding of the medicinal world and can be excellent educators plus advocates for their patients. Suppose you, as an individual, have an empathetic streak towards those in distress and wish to alleviate the pain of patients admitted to the hospital. In that case, you should consider nursing as a profession.
It is regarded as one of the most prestigious professions. It demands substantial education, making it one of the highest-paying careers. Nurses with good education can get better job satisfaction and more opportunities to provide better healthcare to patients. With a solid academic background, they acquire the skills and abilities necessary for giving patients the best comfort and experience during their visit or stay at the hospital. Five essential nursing degrees can help you climb up the ladder and reach the job that will help you achieve self-actualization. Let’s have a look at them, one by one:
- Non-Degree Programs (CNA and LPN/LVN)
There are two types of non-degree programs which interested students pursue to acquire entry-level nursing jobs. A certified nurse assistant (CNA) certificate, a diploma, is offered at vocational schools and requires a minimum of 75 credit hours with at least 16 hours of clinical supervision. It is an excellent option for future nurses who want to gain experience further advancing in different nursing programs to become registered nurses. Your educational expertise through this certificate would further prove helpful in your transition from RN to BSN Degree. After getting this certification, you can offer services at hospitals, community homes, retirement, and elderly facilities. The other type of non-degree diploma is a licensed practical nurse (LPN) certificate provided at community colleges or hospitals. As per your chosen criteria, the length of this program could vary from seven months to two years, and it offers more comprehensive knowledge than CNA. The law allows LPNs to supervise CNAs at hospitals, making them more advanced in many states.
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN for RN)
An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the fundamental prerequisite of qualifying as a registered nurse (RN) and committing to work in critical patient care or working with physicians. Many community colleges and four-year institutes offer this degree program online and on-site. As an RN, you will assist physicians during medical operations and surgeries and run or analyze diagnoses for them. You can supervise non-degree diploma holders like CNA and LPNs, review patient files, and educate them on self-care along with dressing their wounds, etc. It is becoming necessary for ADNs to further their education by following a bachelor’s program. However, it is a good choice for high-school graduates with a long-term plan for nursing or CNAs and LPNs who want to take up RN positions. The skills and knowledge that you will gain from this degree will help you offer civil or military agencies, nursing facilities, physician offices, schools, and health insurance companies, among many other healthcare centers.
- Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A bachelor’s in the science of nursing (BSN) is a four-year degree program for RNs who want to qualify for better jobs and management roles. They become more advanced in analytical skills and hence, more competent to take up supervisory tasks that guarantee higher pay. In this program, you will have a chance to learn in detail about chemistry, anatomy, and biology. And how they relate to everyday hospital operations like patient care, lab tests, medical procedures, and surgeries. Some medical students go for specialized BSNs, which allow them to pursue education in a specific field such as pediatrics and psychiatry, acute care, infectious illnesses, etc. As a registered nurse with a BSN degree, you will be able to take up more specialized jobs and improve your clinical experience. You can work as a forensic nurse, a legal nurse consultant, a nurse administrator, a home-health nurse, a case manager, a school nurse, and public health nurse. It is usually a four-year-long degree program, but an LPN or RN License might help with exceptions or shorter BSN programs.
- Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN)
A master’s in the science of nursing (MSN) is a graduate program for nurses who want to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). This program focuses more on healthcare management, policy-making, research, and leadership. In this degree, you will have to comprehensively study concentrated topics, which are more advanced and modified than generic nursing degrees like BSN or ADN. It’s an excellent alternative for RNs and BSNs. They wish to grow in their clinical experiences and expand their career opportunities. It usually takes two years to complete an MSN program, but if you’re going for it without BSN credentials, then it might take about three years. After an MSN degree, you will be able to take up advanced jobs like nurse practitioners (NP), responsible for diagnosing and treating patients. Other job offers include clinical nurse specialists (CSN) who are a part of a specific disease or patient treatment setting. And a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) who takes care of mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Other than this, you can become a nurse educator (NE), certified nurse anesthetist (CNA), and nurse leader.
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
A doctorate of nursing practice is a form of higher and advanced nursing education. It will help you attain the knowledge to become a university professor, researcher, and role with a double master’s. Some BSN holders also qualify for programs that simultaneously gain MSN and doctoral degrees. To enter into a DNP program, you need clinical experience and nursing education to qualify. It typically takes two years to complete a doctoral degree. Still, it could take more time in virtual or part-time education, depending on your education mode. There will be various career opportunities for those who go for DNP. These are some of the highest paying executive positions in a healthcare organization, usually focused on advanced managerial and leadership roles. Some doctoral degrees include Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (Ph.D.) and or Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS), which are more research and academic-related than clinical practices.
In conclusion, nursing degrees are some of the top education offers for aspiring medical students during these times. Especially after the events of COVID-19, there has been an emergence of unidentified diseases and viruses, leading to a shortage of medical workforce. And hence, the more advanced and educated nurses we have, the better it would be to improve and develop the healthcare sector.