Graduating from nursing school and passing your state licensing exam is an incredible feat. The challenges that you were able to overcome throughout your degree program and clinical studies will have helped to prepare you for a job in the field of nursing. However, it might very well be that you have yet to decide precisely what the nature of that job will be.
The fact of the matter is that there are many jobs that a nurse can choose to pursue. Some involve direct patient care in a certain specialty while others take you outside of the hospital setting and into other areas of healthcare such as administration. With your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree in hand, any of these options can be a very real possibility for your own career path.
Discerning the exact path that you will take in your nursing career can take some time. It is a good idea to at least spend a year or two working as a registered nurse (RN) in order to gain exposure to the different possibilities that are available to nurses within the overarching field of medicine.
You might find that working as an RN in a hospital setting is exactly your calling in life. With such a positive job outlook in regard to salary, growth and job security, this is certainly an option that is worth considering. If, however, you discover after a time that you would like to explore your other options, it can be helpful to know what some of those options are.
With that in mind, here are six of the top nursing jobs that you can choose to pursue after you have graduated from nursing school.
1. Family Nurse Practitioner
One of the most popular career options for nurses today is that of the family nurse practitioner (FNP). This is a job that is incredibly similar to that of a family care physician that you might have seen when you were a child.
Because of the shortage of physicians that still exists in the modern landscape of medicine, new options for family care have had to be explored. One such option that has gained quite a bit of traction in recent years is that of the FNP. These are nurses who have gone through an extensive amount of training and education in order to be qualified to assume the position of overseeing the general healthcare of patients in the family care setting.
As you might imagine, the path to becoming an FNP is quite a long one. Once you have earned your BSN, you will need to spend a couple of years working as an RN. Then you can apply to a graduate degree program geared towards equipping you with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career as an FNP.
Even though you can expect the process of becoming an FNP to take some time, that does not mean that it needs to be unnecessarily difficult. Nurses looking to pursue this option while continuing to work a full time job can consider earning their degree online. Options like the Texas Womans University’s online Master of Science in Nursing FNP program make earning your degree easier than ever before so that you can embark on your career as a fully qualified FNP. Click here to learn more about Texas Womans University.
2. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
One of the roles in nursing that is held to the highest of standards and given one of the greatest levels of respect from the healthcare community in general is that of the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). The reason that the job of the CRNA is so highly regarded is that it is one of the most difficult jobs than a nurse can choose to do.
This job involves administering anesthesia to patients in different setting across the field of healthcare. A CRNA might work in a surgical setting, for instance, or they might choose to work in the field of dentistry. The technical nature of the job is such that it is an in-demand specialty throughout all areas of medicine.
Furthermore, becoming a CRNA involves an extensive training and educational process that goes far beyond practically any other job in the field of nursing. You will need to earn at least a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree, with some employers only seeking to hire CRNAs with a doctorate degree (DNP). Such nurses are often compensated quite highly as well, making this one of the most desirable options that a nurse can choose to pursue throughout his or her career.
The average salary of a CRNA is around $183,000 per year, making this the highest paying job that a practicing nurse can have. If this sounds like an appealing option, you should be prepared to work hard to prepare for this career. Because of the nature of the job, only the top CRNAs will be able to secure those high-paying positions.
3. Nurse Educator
Many nurses reach a certain point in their career when they feel as though their time and experience would be better spent instructing the next generation of nurses. If you find that you love practicing as a nurse and that you have the heart of a teacher, you might consider gearing your career towards becoming a nurse educator.
Preparing the nurses of tomorrow is an important task. Nurses who have acquired plenty of practical experience and are willing and able to impart the things that they have learned to a class of future nurses would find this job incredibly fulfilling.
Depending on what level you would like to teach at, you might need to go back to school yourself in order to earn an MSN degree in nurse education. Some nurse educators find that they would like to put themselves in a position to impact even more future nurses by pursuing a career as a Dean of Nursing at an educational institution.
If you think that this is a path that you would like to consider for yourself, you might need to earn a DNP or a PhD in nurse education in order to qualify for such positions. The ability to help bring about better patient outcomes in the healthcare setting by properly educating the next generation of nurses is a respectful endeavor that is certainly worth the pursuit.
4. Certified Nurse Midwife
There are many nursing jobs that are experiencing a large amount of growth these days. One such role is that of the certified nurse midwife (CNM). This is a unique job in nursing in that the CNM is responsible for overseeing the healthcare of expectant mothers throughout pregnancy and during the labor and delivery process.
Furthermore, CNMs are also responsible for handling the healthcare of mothers and infants in the weeks following delivery. This requires any nurse looking to become a CNM to acquire a vast amount of skills and knowledge pertaining to pregnancy and the earliest days of a child’s life.
The reason that this nursing job is experiencing so much growth at the moment and is expected to see even more growth in the years to come is that CNMs tend to offer a more holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth. More and more expectant mothers are finding themselves looking to follow such an approach to their pregnancy journey, and promising patient outcomes support this choice.
There are also times when an expectant mother wishes to have a combination of care from both a nurse midwife and an OB-GYN. In such cases, the CNM must work in conjunction with a physician as part of the overall healthcare team.
Because of the nature of this job, you can expect to at least need to earn an MSN in order to qualify as a CNM. Once you have earned the proper level of education, you can then apply to be certified as a nurse midwife by the national board.
5. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
While there are many jobs that allow a nurse to specialize in a certain area of physical medicine, there is also the concept of mental health care to consider. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are a vital component of the healthcare system and provide much needed care to patients suffering from various mental health conditions.
The psychiatric nurse practitioner will administer healthcare to mental health patients who are seeking treatment for their condition. This is a challenging role that will undoubtedly involve a degree of emotion when delivering necessary care period. However, it is one in which you can make a true difference in the lives of your patients.
Because the field of mental health is one that is constantly developing and evolving, the psychiatric nurse practitioner must be ready and willing to adopt a personal practice of continual education. Staying apprised of all developments in the field of mental health is absolutely necessary if you are going to be able to administer the very best care to your mental health patients.
Positions as a psychiatric nurse practitioner are generally very well paid and can allow you to work in a variety of settings. The job outlook for such rolls is also very promising as the demand for better mental health care for patients continues to grow.
In order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you will need to earn a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing after you have completed your BSN. With the right training and education behind you, you can qualify as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and make a true positive difference in the lives of mental health patients.
6. Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
A neonatal nurse practitioner is a type of nurse that works specifically with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Many infants who are born prematurely are in need of specialized care during the early days of their lives. Such care is administered by a neonatal nurse practitioner.
Other patients that are overseen by neonatal nurse practitioners are infants who are born with certain conditions. Administering such care requires you to have a great deal of education and training under your belt as well as the right personality for the job.
There are many things that make a career as a neonatal nurse practitioner unique. For starters, overseeing the healthcare of your tiny patients is only part of the job that you will be doing. It is also necessary to be able to adequately educate the parents of your patients about the healthcare that their child is being given.
You might also find that certain cases require care even after the patient has been discharged. The neonatal nurse practitioner must ensure that those who will be caring for the infant know exactly what they need to in order to help the young patient to thrive and grow.
If you wish to become a neonatal nurse practitioner, you can technically do so with a BSN and some additional training. This training will be conducted by a specialist who already has knowledge and experience working with infants in the NICU setting. That being said, many employers these days prefer to hire neonatal nurse practitioners who have also earned an MSN in neonatal care.
With a positive job outlook, an average salary of $65,000 per year, and a degree of job security, this nursing role is one that many find to be an enticing and fulfilling career option.
Aside from the jobs listed here, there are a number of excellent career options that any nurse with the right qualifications can choose to pursue. From working directly with patients in the healthcare setting to influencing policy and affecting change in healthcare practice at the highest levels, nurses are able to contribute to better patient outcomes across the field of medicine.
With the right education and experience behind you, you can pursue any one of these rewarding careers in nursing. Take the time to discern precisely where your skills and talents would be best used so that you can plot out a path for your future career.