The opportunities for a RN or registered nurse are growing each day, and those who continue their education after gaining their RN license quickly learn that there is no end to their career possibilities. It is important to understand that continuing a nursing education entails an array of education, including secondary degrees, additional certifications, and specialized trainings and coursework. Though we will discuss in greater detail, continuing your nursing education and/or credentialing opens the door to a management or leadership position, the ability to change specialties, and even start your own business.
Seeking a masters or doctoral degree is one on the more traditional ways to continue your nursing education. Gaining a masters degree gives you the option of higher level nursing occupations, such as nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Not to mention the ability to obtain supervisory and leadership roles. A masterís degree program goes beyond medicine and looks at the other factors that effect healthcare, like social, economic, financial, and cultural factors. These programs teach leadership and resource management, allowing nurses who obtain a masterís degree to have careers in healthcare management and administration. A doctoral degree can possibly open the door to management and administration. Doctoral degrees allow nurses to pursue research opportunities and the abilities to teach at colleges and universities. These nurses can also be found as consultants on health systems and policies.
Another way to continue your nursing education is to obtain certification in one or more nursing specialties. Within the field of nursing, there is a long list of specializations that a nurse can choose to pursue. While some fall within the traditional idea of nursing, such as pediatric nursing, others are considered more alternative career choices such as genetic nursing. The majority of these specializations do in fact have their own certification programs. The greatest benefit of continuing your nursing education through gaining additional certifications allows you to change your specialty throughout your nursing career. You can choose to stay on the cutting edge of new and emerging specialties. You could also make yourself a more attractive candidate for various healthcare organizations.
Though it may not come with the added credentialing of a degree or certification program, there is also the ability for a nurse to further his or her education by additional trainings, seminars, and other CEU courses. In the field of nursing there are numerous opportunities for additional training. The type of training that a nurse chooses to take can be determined by particular interests within the field. There is a need to stay on top of new changes within the healthcare industry, how to get a better understanding of patients, and even new advancements in medical technology and treatments. Continuing education units or CEUís are often required in some specialties after a specific certification has been achieved.
These may be different ways to continue your nursing education, but the actual benefit of continuing this education mirrors the benefits of going into the nursing field itself. One of the key benefits is flexibility. Having additional education in a specific or general area of nursing provides you with the flexibility of changing career paths to suite your changing life. For example, as many nurseís children are becoming school aged, they begin looking at career paths and schedules that allow them to work during the early part of the day, allowing them to be home when their children arrive home from school. Others decide to look into a more executive or administrative role as their career progresses.
Continuing your nursing education also gives you control over your future. By gaining added credentials you can ensure that you will always be in demand. You should position yourself to allow your nursing career to transition, just as you do various stages of your life. For instance, a nurse in her 30ís may feel like the daily routine of a RN would be a bit taxing physically for her in her 40ís. She could decide to obtain her masterís degree and transition into a consulting or administrative role. Furthering your nursing education doesnít just give you the power to secure an enviable position within a healthcare organization. It could also give you the power to enter both the academic and business sides of the healthcare field. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit you can even become your own boss. Home healthcare and nurse case management are two booming businesses that with the proper certification can be started fairly easily.
Continuing your education in any field is beneficial, but few fields can offer the benefits of continuing a nursing education. Possibly the best and most practical benefit of all is that you can easily continue your nursing education while working full time. With a career in nursing, a bright future is in your hands, all you have to do is decide which path to take.
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Ryan Anderson is a freelance writer who writes about the nursing profession, often writing about specific items used in nursing such as nursing scrubs.
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