Nurses are commonly perceived as only responsible for administering and monitoring patients’ health. However, their job description is quite complex and demanding. They assist in medical procedures and operating medical equipment.
They must collect samples and perform lab work. They are also actively involved in conducting research and developing scientific skills. The scope of work for professional nurses depends on their area of specialization. Hence, one cannot regard nursing as vocational training where they’re trained to care for patients.
Earning a nursing degree opens a plethora of career opportunities for nurses in various fields related to healthcare. This article provides a comprehensive guideline for nursing students on potential career paths after earning a nursing degree.
Earning a Nursing Degree
An undergraduate nursing program at a university that stresses professional and personal development is your first step to becoming a successful nurse in the healthcare industry. From Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to MSN in various disciplines, students have various options.
These courses enhance nurses’ professional competency while providing holistic training to strengthen their analytical and communication skills. Many universities offer on-campus and online nursing programs to accommodate the needs of professional nurses. For example, the La Salle University nursing program offers online nursing programs, including courses such as the foundation of nursing, nutrition, nurse management, pharmacology, physiology, patient education, and many others.
In addition to technical skills, it aims to develop professional and interpersonal skills such as leadership, management, transcultural communication, decision-making, and humanistic values.
A nursing degree with the required skill set opens various career avenues for nurses. Some of the career options which nurses can pursue are listed below:
1. Physician associate:
Physician associates work as assistants to doctors providing support in diagnosis and medical procedures and creating medical plans for patients.
Furthermore, they perform wound care and take samples for conducting a test. In short, physician associates directly deal with patients and provide every possible support they need.
Courses offered during the nursing program, such as the biological basis of illness and injuries and special courses in maternal health, medical therapies, and pharmacy, make a nurse eligible for the position of physician associate.
The average annual salary of a physician associate nurse in the US ranges from $ 32,000 to $ 53,219 depending upon the qualification and experience.
2. Mental health nurse:
A mental health nurse engages with patients having mental health issues and administers their medications. The job also involves developing a good relationship with the patients and helping them overcome stress by providing evidence-based individual therapy. The courses such as individual health and well-being, developing mental health nursing, pathophysiology, and other courses help nurses understand the true nature of the job.
In the US, a mental health nurse has an average annual income of $77,683.
3. Medicinal chemist:
A medicinal chemist possesses scientific skills along with analytical skills. They must conduct various experiments in the lab and then analyze the results. A medicinal chemist helps facilitate drug discovery experiments and create effective medicines for ailments and diseases.
Moreover, they must engage with various stakeholders, generate reports, and deliver presentations. Courses taught during the nursing programs, such as lab science, microbiology, chemistry, and technical writing, help develop the required skillset needed for a medicinal chemist.
The salary of a medicinal chemist nurse lies in the range of $ 22,750 to $ 33,000 per year in the United States.
4. Medical claims analyst:
The job description of a medical claim analyst is to assess medical claims and client reimbursement. They work in the corporate sector with insurance companies to administer the medical claims of the outpatient department (OPD) and inpatient department (IPD).
They have a greater insight into the legalities of clients’ data protection. Courses such as the medical terminology course and the analytical course make a nurse eligible to apply for a position of medical claims analyst.
The average annual salary of a medical analyst in the United States is $ 44,464.
5. Health service manager:
After getting a degree in nursing, nurses can become part of healthcare service management. A health service manager oversees the day-to-day operations of a hospital, conducts analysis, and ensures health and safety practices. A health service manager must have in-depth knowledge of medical terminologies and equipment use.
Moreover, a manager must be a good leader with exceptional organizational and interpersonal skills. A health service manager can take courses in nurse management and leadership, medical terminology, psychology, and health analytics.
A health service manager in the United States earns around $ 25,000 to $ 40,000 annually.
A midwife is responsible for monitoring and examining women during pregnancy. They offer support and consultation in all stages of pregnancy. Furthermore, they assess pregnancy care plans and promote the mother’s well-being. Courses such as special courses in maternal health, managing emotions, and communication skills offered during a nursing program make a nurse eligible to apply for the position of a midwife.
On average, a midwife earns between $ 25,000 and $ 39,000 annually.
After acquiring a degree in nursing and gaining clinical experience, nurses can pursue their careers in teaching. They can develop expertise in a single subject to qualify for higher education lecturer.
Apart from delivering lectures, a high-education lecturer supervises students in conducting research and performing experiments. You can start your career in education by qualifying for the registered nurse exam.
A nurse educator in the United States earns from $ 44,000 to $ 88,000 annually.
Choosing a nursing degree program helps define a nurse’s career path and provides a career kick-start in the healthcare industry. During the nursing program, the diverse course helps acquire knowledge and develop the required skill set to choose from various career options.
Once you earn a nursing degree, you become eligible for various job profiles such as physician associate, medical claim analyst, lecturer, and social worker. In short, a nursing degree is quite promising in offering a successful career path.