The basic qualification for registration as a nurse is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. It is a tremendous achievement, especially after rigorous lessons and practical work in healthcare settings.
Most nurses end their educational journey here and embark on practice. However, advancing your level and taking on greater roles in high-ranking institutions is possible. It all depends on your professional goals and interests.
After earning your BSN, you will discover that it is only the start of a long yet very rewarding journey. If you harbor any ambitions of reaching greater professional levels, you must advance your education.
This gives you the capacity to specialize in your field of choice. Education also empowers you to take up administrative roles, which means you don’t have to be confined to the hospital environment.
Further education options after BSN
Below are some options to pursue after obtaining your BSN degree:
Master of Science in Nursing
It is a logical step to enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program after your BSN. This qualification is an added advantage, especially when you are looking for new job opportunities.
MSN provides a platform for nurses to specialize in their practice after improving their skills. For instance, you can enroll in the Ulndy online MSN-FNP program immediately after you acquire your undergraduate degree.
The course allows you to specialize as a family nurse practitioner who offers primary care for families and individuals across different diseases and demographics.
You may also choose a different path, whether it is Psychiatric-Mental Health or any other specialization. Nurses with MSN degrees can also become educators or serve in leadership positions.
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Doctor of Nursing Practice
This qualification is the highest in the nursing field. Some institutions offer doctoral-level programs with a BSN entry point. For instance, nurses can further their clinical practice nursing education and acquire a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
This arrangement is unique because you can go for the BSN to DNP pathway in several specializations. Here, you will earn a terminal degree as you meet the clinical and educational requirements for a nurse practitioner.
The arrangement also allows student nurses to take fewer courses than those who first acquired their MSN degrees before pursuing DNP. The BSN-DNP option is among the shortest pathways to becoming an advanced practice nurse.
You will spend less time and fewer resources to gain your doctorate in nursing.
PhD in Nursing
The PhD program offers an opportunity for qualified nurses to take up roles in administration, research, and nursing education. As in the DSP arrangement, some universities offer direct admission programs from the BSN entry point to earning a PhD.
You will take fewer courses than if you follow the MSN-PhD route. Direct enrollment from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD is somewhat demanding. You must take high-level foundational and doctoral courses.
Nurses here have five specializations to select from: Population Health, Nursing Education, Leadership, Interdisciplinary Health, and Healthcare Administration. It would be best to examine your goals and passions before choosing a specialization.
Different health roles after gaining a BSN
A BSN and higher qualifications provide greater career opportunities for registered nurses. Remember, working as a nurse in most states does not require a BSN. With a diploma, a nurse can assume various roles in the healthcare industry.
A BSN degree prepares nurses to offer quality patient care, whereas higher qualifications like MSN and PhD empower them to assume leadership roles.
Below are potential career paths and roles for nurses who have completed a BSN and beyond:
A charge nurse is generally a registered or licensed practitioner with very extensive clinical experience.
Their main role is to offer general quality care as they supervise other nurses allocated to a specific ward or entire health facility. A charge nurse ensures that the team under them offers the highest quality patient care.
Their roles extend to managerial responsibilities, including emergency response and adjusting patient assignments. A nurse with a BSN is qualified to offer general care as a charge nurse.
However, you will be deployed in an administrative role if you have acquired MSN, DNP, or PhD degrees.
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
A nurse with a BSN can further their education and specialize as an FNP. Their main role is to offer primary care to patients within a family setup, including adults, children, and other demographics. Training as an FNP enables you to master holistic methods in the entire patient care program.
After completing the course and becoming a fully-fledged FNP, you can take up the role of a physician. The training includes pathophysiology, healthcare policy and politics, pharmacology, nursing concepts, and nursing theory. FNP courses also cover knowledge in diagnosis, physical assessment, and research.
Nurse students require a total of 600 hours of the course to apply classwork to the clinical environment. By the time they leave, they are so experienced they can assume duties immediately.
Public Health Nurse
Public health nursing is a branch of nursing that deals with issues affecting a community as a whole. It is a broad sector that comprises issues like disaster response for affected patients, management of opioid addiction treatment, and public immunization against diseases.
Public health nurses may also be asked to carry out a campaign to promote better healthcare to the community members. A bachelor’s degree in nursing is the minimum qualification for this role.
Some institutions will also expect a nurse to have experience of at least five years of public health work before hiring them. Besides a BSN, you may also want to improve your leverage by earning a Certified in Public Health (CPH) designation from a Public Health institution.
Director of Nursing
Directors of nursing are the link between regular nurses and charge nurses who undertake administrative roles in the healthcare facility. Many years of experience are required to become a director of nurses.
The job qualification is at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher. Some nursing institutions offer additional certification in this course to boost student experience.
The specific roles of directors of nurses include managing inventory, establishing goals and policies of the facility, developing budgets, and hiring nurses based on demand.