Nursing is one of the most fulfilling careers out there. As a nurse, you have the chance to provide people with the care they need to improve their health and their lives. It is not as simple as deciding to become a nurse – there are many roles within the industry to choose from.
If you are struggling to decide which area of nursing is right for you and your needs, then read on.
One of the first steps you can take is to look at nursing courses online. By doing this, you will get a better idea of the opportunities that are out there. When browsing, remember to look at both bachelor’s and master’s, especially if you’re planning on going for a more advanced nursing role.
After completing your nursing degree, there are plenty of master’s courses to choose from. If you want to teach nursing, for example, you could go on to do a masters in nurse education online. Look at the curriculum, length of course, and location to make the best decision for yourself.
Assess Your Skills
While it is important to choose a nursing path that you enjoy, you should also consider the skills you already have. After all, if you are naturally gifted in an area, why not take advantage of that?
Different skills are required for each area of nursing. If you are particularly gifted at teaching others, then pursuing your masters in nurse education online after your nursing degree could be the route for you. If you find you work best when you are busy, you should choose a nursing role that involves working in a fast-paced environment, such as an emergency room. By making use of skills you already own, you increase your chance of success.
Consider the Salary
It’s important to understand your money goals when it comes to choosing your career path. If you are content with an average salary, then you don’t have many limitations when it comes to choosing a nursing job. For those who want to earn a more lucrative salary, however, you should look a little deeper into the roles and the kind of salaries they have. Some of the better-paid nursing careers include:
- Nurse Anesthetist – Average salary per year: $181K
If you want to earn a salary that is much higher than average, then a nurse anesthetist is the way to go. It takes a little work to get there, though – after completing your bachelor’s, getting your RN license, and gaining enough experience, you will then need to apply for a CRNA program. All in all, you will be looking at around seven years of education before you can officially call yourself a registered nurse anesthetist.
- General Nurse Practitioner – Average salary per year: $111K
A general nurse practitioner is a highly sought out role. They have more responsibility in their daily roles than registered nurses, such as the ability to diagnose and prescribe medications. If you want the chance to earn six figures as a nurse practitioner, then you must obtain your master’s after completing at least four years of a nursing degree.
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – Average salary per year: $105K
If you are interested in entering a career in mental health, then you could become a psychiatric nurse practitioner and earn far more than the national average salary. Psychiatric nurse practitioners have a lot of responsibility, as they are there to help those suffering from mental illnesses work through their problems.
- Nurse Educator – Average salary per year: $83K
Not every nursing role involves working in hospitals with patients. If you like the idea of spending your career passing on your skills to others while earning a higher-than-average salary, then becoming a nurse educator could be the path for you. By doing a masters in nurse education online after your bachelor’s, you qualify to teach and inspire the next generation of aspiring nurses.
- Certified Nurse Midwife – Average salary per year: $108K
Another lucrative nursing role is a certified nurse-midwife. This is great for those who love the idea of bringing new life into the world and want to work predominantly with women. Just make sure you are extremely comfortable around all kinds of bodily fluids before applying for your midwifery course!
Research Other Nurse Experience
Looking at job descriptions isn’t enough when it comes to understanding what a career is really like. Once you have glanced over what the jobs entail, you should research real-life nursing experiences. This will give you a more personal, in-depth account of what to expect if you enter the role. Plus, on some sites, you can ask direct questions to nurses. If you want to know what it’s like to be a nurse educator before applying for your masters in nurse education online, for example, then you could find a forum and ask what day-to-day life involves.
The Work Environment
You should take into account the kind of work environment you want to be in each day when deciding on a nursing role. There is a huge difference between working in a city hospital and a family clinic, so consider your location and which one would suit your working style best.
If you want to be a nurse but you aren’t fond of busy hospitals, then you could do your masters in FNP or a masters in nurse education online. This way, while you will still provide care, you won’t deal with as many emergencies.
Who You Want to Work with
The people you work with have a massive influence on your happiness. So, if you are someone who prefers to work alone, then you would be better suited to a nurse researcher role. While you would still need to work with other nurses, it wouldn’t be as much as if you were a registered nurse dealing with lots of patients every day.
If you like the idea of working predominantly with other nurses rather than patients, then you could do your masters in nurse education online. If you would prefer to work with women, then a career as a nurse-midwife would suit you.
You should look into the types of people you will work with when considering a nursing role and make sure it’s people who you will be happy to be around for the entirety of your career.
The Education Required
You can’t just walk into a hospital and hand in your resume; to become a nurse, you must first complete a certain amount of education. The exact requirements vary depending on each role, so you should look into what qualifications are needed for the careers you are looking at.
If you dislike the idea of spending eight years in education before working your dream role, then you should have a look at nursing careers that only require a bachelor’s. However, if you are fond of education, then there are plenty of advanced nursing roles that require a master’s degree. There are plenty of online degrees if you cannot attend school physically. For example, if you want to teach, you can get your masters in nurse education online.
Attend Open Days
If you are unsure of which nursing course you want to do, then spend some time attending university open days. Open days give you a chance to explore the campus, browse courses, and spend some time talking to professors about the available courses. You will leave with a better idea about the nursing courses on offer and which ones you would like to do.
Choosing your degree course is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, so you must spend enough time getting to know each university and the nursing courses that they offer.
Some people struggle to attend university for a variety of reasons, including not being able to fit it around their busy work schedule. If this applies to you, then consider browsing online nursing courses instead. There are plenty of options out there, so whether you want to do an FNP masters or a masters in nurse education online, you are sure to find the course for you.
Speak to Other Nurses
Speaking with people in the nursing industry is one of the best ways to understand what the role entails. If you have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who works in nursing, ask them about their job and what it is like for a more detailed account than the ones you can find online. Even if they are in a role that doesn’t personally appeal to you, they will still know more about the other nursing careers more than people who don’t work in healthcare.
If you don’t know anyone who works in nursing, then volunteering in a hospital will soon surround you with the right kind of people. Not only will you get the chance to speak to nurses, but you will also gain experience in the field you wish to work in.
How You Are with Kids
Some people are naturally excellent with children, while others not so much. While you can generally avoid children in day-to-day life, certain nursing careers do not allow for this. So, if you’re not a kid person, then this should influence what kind of nursing role you choose.
Some of the roles that involve children include family nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives. Only choose these careers if you are good with children and genuinely fond of them. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time around them in these careers!
Where You Live
The location you live in should influence what kind of nursing role you pursue. If you live in a big city center with a large population, then there will be many nursing jobs available. For those who live in small towns, the options won’t be quite as broad. Think ahead to when you are applying for jobs and ensure that the role you are striving for will be available by the time you graduate.
Of course, if you discover a dream nursing role that isn’t prominent in your area, you could always decide to relocate. After all, your career takes up a large part of your life!
Your Other Responsibilities
The chances are, if you are considering a career in nursing, then that will end up your number one responsibility. If you are working now, though, and will struggle to fit in full-time education, then you should consider that when looking at careers and courses.
Fortunately, there are now plenty of options when it comes to finding an online degree. If you want to become a nurse educator, you can do your masters in nurse education online. You will still need to find the time for the placement, but the majority of your studies can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Get Some Nursing Experience
You won’t truly know which area of nursing you want to be in until you experience what it is like to be a nurse. Pretty much all nurses start the same – getting their registered nurse license – so you should start there before making any life-altering decisions.
Once you are a registered nurse, you can decide from there where you want to go in your nursing career. You never know; you might just decide you want to stay as a registered nurse! Giving yourself real-life experience is the easiest way of figuring out what you are destined for, so don’t waste too much time before jumping in.
Envision Your Future
To decide on the best career for you, you need to understand yourself and your goals. To do this, you must take some time to yourself and envision your future. Where do you see yourself? You might even be surprised by what you picture! It might not give you a clear answer at first, but allowing yourself to understand how you see your life will push you in the right direction. A career lasts almost a lifetime, so you must pick one that you will be genuinely happy in, whether that’s by doing a masters in education online or sticking as a registered nurse.
Whatever area of nursing you find yourself in, you can be sure in the knowledge that you are contributing something wonderful to the world by helping those in need.