Nursing is known for being one of the most fulfilling, caring, and rewarding career options in the world, so it’s no surprise that it is a popular choice of career among caring people who want to make a difference to the lives of others. Whether you are just starting out in your career as a nurse and are looking for nursing programs to take to get you started in the profession before further advancement or are already working in the healthcare industry and want to advance your current career by getting an advanced degree in nursing, there are several options to consider when it comes to taking your nursing career to the next level. Whether you are working in healthcare, currently a nurse or are thinking of a future healthcare career, there are many opportunities available for you to consider including nursing bachelor’s degrees, management and leadership options, advanced nursing practice options, and more. If you are considering an advanced nursing career in the future, here are some of the main things to consider before getting started.
What You Want to Study:
Finding the right degree program for you is essential to advancing your future career in nursing. There are several things to consider when you are going through the process of choosing which advanced degree to study in the future. For example, consider your current qualifications and how they might match up to the entry requirements that are needed for you to enroll in the program. If you are already working as a registered nurse, you will usually be required to gain a bachelor of science in nursing degree if you do not already hold one. Getting a BSN is worthwhile for any registered nurse who does not already hold one since there are many benefits to getting this qualification including increased career opportunities, higher demand, more respect, and a higher impact on the quality of healthcare.
Where to Study:
Another key question that you will need to consider when you are deciding to advance your nursing career is where you are going to get your degree. A lot of the time, colleges, universities, and nursing schools will be partners with various healthcare institutions, hospitals, and clinics so if you are already working in the healthcare industry, your employer might be partnered with a local college or nursing school that you could consider when choosing where to study your degree since there may be more support available from your employer. It’s important to spend some time researching the various nursing schools that are available to you to ensure that they are reputable and that they offer the type of degree program that you are considering.
How to Study:
Another key factor to consider when you are deciding on an advanced nursing degree program and the school to attend to study it is how you want to study. Today, there are several options that are available to choose from when it comes to the study format for your degree. Online degree programs are becoming a more and more popular option for advanced nursing students today since they offer a greater degree of flexibility compared to traditional campus-based degree programs. If you are already working in healthcare or have a full-time career as a nurse, online degree programs can make a huge difference to your success since they offer more flexibility and allow you to fit your education around your career rather than needing to put your career on hold while getting your advanced nursing degree. Some of the main benefits of getting your advanced nursing degree online include:
1. Flexible Study:
In the past, it was often difficult for nurses to advance their career because they would be required to attend on-campus classes or even evening classes around their shifts in order to gain the qualification. Online degree programs allow nurses to study from home on their own time, making it much easier to gain their advanced degree while working since it gives them the freedom and autonomy to decide how they would like to arrange their study schedule.
2. Save Money:
Another option that is leading to more popularity for online degree programs in nursing is that they can be a great way to save money. Not only does studying online for an advanced nursing degree mean that you can save a lot of money on the associated costs of studying for a degree such as commuting to campus or relocating to a different area in order to be closer to the campus that you have chosen to study on, but it can also mean that you can make much more money while studying compared to getting your degree in a traditional format. Nurses who study for advanced degrees online mean that they are able to continue working, which allows them to earn money and therefore save on the opportunity cost of advancing their career as a result.
3. School Reputation:
It’s important to consider the reputation of the school and the program that you’re going to study when you are looking at online FNP programs such as the TWU family nurse practitioner degree program. Spend some time researching the schools that are available and speak to current and past students to find out more about what’s offered and how well the school is at offering online learning. If you are considering online learning, the delivery of the program is one of the most important factors to consider, and bear in mind that some colleges and nursing schools are more experienced than others at providing a comprehensive remote learning experience to students.
What You Enjoy in Your Career:
As a nurse looking for a more advanced career path, one of the main things to consider when choosing what path to take is what you currently enjoy the most about your career. As nurses advance, they will often become more and more specialized, focusing on the areas of the career path that they are the most interested in and passionate about. For you, this could mean choosing a career where you are a specialist nurse in a certain part of the healthcare industry or working as a nurse practitioner where you are providing primary care to patients of all ages, or patients of a specific age or with certain health conditions. You may find that you are passionate about the people management side of nursing and decide to go into management positions like nurse leadership in the future. It’s a good idea to spend some time coming up with a list of the things you like the most about your career if you are not sure which advanced nursing degree is going to be right for you. Wherever your passions lie, there’s sure to be a program that is suitable for you.
Get Support and Advice:
Getting an advanced degree program while working full-time as a nurse can be a lot of work and very challenging for some. Chances are that most nurses are going to need some additional support and advice when embarking on this new chapter of their careers. Getting advice from the start can help make it easier for you to make certain decisions such as choosing where to study or which program you want to study. One of the best places to get advice is from your employer who may be able to provide you with more information on where you can study based on any student support programs that they offer to nurses who are looking to advance or give you further advice on the type of advanced degree program that they may require you to have as an employer if you want to move into a specific role in the future with them.
Along with advice, getting as much support as possible as you start to take an advanced nursing degree program will help to set you up for success. Take any support that’s offered to you by your employer, friends and family so that it’s easier for you to juggle your commitments and study at the same time. Sit down and go over your schedule to look for any areas where you might be able to use a little more support such as having somebody babysit your kids for an extra day in the week so that you have got more time to dedicate to your degree program.
Plan for Working and Studying:
There are several things that you can do to get a solid plan in place to make learning and working at the same time easier for you. Nurses have a busy and often hectic working life, where you might be working long shifts and unsociable hours, so a schedule and plan in place can help you make sure that your needs are met and that you don’t end up becoming overwhelmed or burned out with the workload. First of all, it can be a wise idea to ask your employer if it would be possible to adjust your hours to accommodate your studies. Your employer may be able to schedule you for day shifts, for example, or move you to a department where nurses tend to work business hours rather than unsociable shifts so that you can free up more time to study outside of the workplace. Some other plans that you can put in place to prepare you for the task ahead include:
1. Schedule Studying Around Working:
Consider the days and hours that you are going to be working and find times outside of these that you could dedicate to studying. Consider the things that you might normally do in your spare time and come up with any ideas for things that you may be able to sacrifice or move to a different time so that you have got more time to attend online classes and complete assignments. It’s also worth thinking about the times of day that you tend to be more energetic and focused, making it easier for you to study during these times compared to others.
2. Create a Home Study Space:
Creating a space in your home that is dedicated to studying for your advanced nursing degree can make it easier for you to focus and get in the zone, especially if you are going to be studying after a long day at work or other commitments. Your home study space does not have to be anything special, but you should ideally try to find somewhere in your home that’s away from the spaces in your home where you will usually relax and wind down so that you can keep the two separate, stay focused, avoid distractions, and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
3. Find Local Resources:
Even if you are attending an online nursing degree program where the campus is not local, there may be local resources that you can take advantage of to help you be more successful with your advanced nursing degree. For example, if you have a local campus, you might be able to access the library in some cases to access books and other resources that might help. Or, your local general library might be an ideal place to take your laptop and study or use the provided computers if you are feeling distracted when studying from home.
Building your professional network when studying for an advanced nursing degree program is important. You can do this by networking with your peers online through the channels provided by the schools like online chat rooms and social media groups. It’s also worth joining any professional nursing associations that you are not already a member of and attending conferences and events that they arrange for nurses to get together and network with each other. Your professional network could turn out to be one of the best sources of advice, support, and opportunities in your professional life, along with a great way to make friends.
Getting an advanced nursing degree is one of the best ways to boost your career as a nurse. If you are thinking of pursuing an advanced nursing role, keep these factors in mind before starting.