How to Get Started with a Career in Nursing
The nurse shortage, increasing demand, the need to decentralize healthcare, and the rise in telehealth all mean unique and expanding opportunities for nurses at all levels. Registered nurses alone are expected to see a 9% job growth by 2030, while advanced practice registered nurse roles are expected to grow by 45% by 2030.
There has never been a better time to get started with your nursing career, but it will take time to see your goals reached. The best thing you can do today is start planning, which you can do right now by understanding the steps it will take.
1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
While there are nursing assistant roles out there, you cannot work your way into becoming an RN. You will always need a degree. At the moment, you can technically still earn an associate’s degree in nursing, but this is becoming increasingly less ideal for a variety of reasons. Many states are trying to phase out the ADN entirely, and on a personal, professional note, you cannot progress further with an ADN. At one point or another, you will need to earn a BSN, so if you want to kickstart your career fast, you will want to look at earning the BSN first.
You can even fast-track that BSN if you have a non-nursing degree by transferring relevant credits. Alternatively, you can take an intensive BSN that helps you graduate faster if you dedicate yourself full-time to the program.
2. Get More Out of Your RN Work Experience
Before you earn your MSN, you will need to work for a few years as an RN. Use that time to not only get used to the role but also to understand more about what you want out of your nursing career. The reality is always going to be different than what you expected, so don’t worry if you realize the nursing career goals you had for yourself have changed. The important part is that you find out what interests you, what patients you want to work with, and what roles will allow you to focus on what you love most about nursing.
3. Earn a Master of Science in Nursing
To become an APRN, you will need, at minimum, an MSN. By giving yourself that time as an RN to understand what you want out of nursing, you should be able to choose the best MSN program for your goals. If you change your mind later on in your career, however, know you can earn a post-graduate certificate to change career tracks from there. Texas Woman’s University online nursing programs, for example, allow you to become a family nurse practitioner either with a full MSN or by focusing only on the additional credits for current APRNs in the post-graduate certificate.
4. Furthering Your Career from There
Though there is no further qualification for nurses, you can further your education and your career. You could earn a doctorate, for example. You could earn a DNP, a PhD, or an EdD. The right one for you will depend on your goals. If you want to become a nurse educator, for example, you will often either need a PhD or an EdD.