If you’re a nurse looking to advance professionally, obtaining an MSN degree will take you even further. MSN students who focus their studies on the clinical practice of nursing can study to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), or a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). These jobs are in high demand with great earning potential and room for professional growth. And with the growth of online education, students interested in pursuing their degree online have more options than ever.
- Nurse Practitioners (NP) work in tandem with primary care physicians and are responsible for providing preventive and holistic care. Some HPs are even allowed to treat patients for certain diseases when supervised by a doctor, although their authority to write prescriptions varies by state. NPs can choose to specialize and acquire certification in family medicine, pediatric care (acute, critical, chronic, oncologic and general care), neonatology, gerontology, women’s health, psychiatry and mental health, acute care, adult health, oncology, emergency medicine, occupational health, and pain management.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) specialize in the administration of anesthesia and require certification from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) straddle the fields of nursing and administration to work closely with patients and their families, and with hospital administration to provide the best and most efficient care for patients. You could become a nurse administrator, a nurse case manager or a nurse researcher.
- Certified Nurse Mid-Wife (CNM) specialize in advance nursing and midwifery and work in tandem with OBGYNs to promote prenatal health, assist in or perform deliveries, and provide postnatal care.
These professions require you to hold an MSN degree. So once you’ve gained a few years of experience in nursing after earning your Bachelor’s degree and completing your RN certification, choose an online school that offers a graduate program in nursing, and decide on your specialized field of work. Some RNs also choose to leave the clinical setting and become nurse educators. With additional education, they become professors and teachers in nursing schools and colleges. For more information on the salary and employment trends for both clinical and non-clinical RNs, visit our guide on nursing professions and the credentialing criteria.
Tips to get ahead in the nursing field faster and with less effort:
- Know what you’re interested in and which kind of nursing you prefer.
- Specialize in one particular field of nursing so you gain expert skills and credentials.
- Continue to learn, both on the job and off it. Online degrees help you boost your academic qualifications and help you meet pre-requisites to climb higher up the professional ladder
- Know what you want out of life and choose your nursing sub-field/specialty accordingly – if you have kids to look after, you might want a job that provides flexible work hours; if you’re a career woman and want to get ahead professionally, then do what it takes to get ahead in the field – longer work hours, additional qualifications, and good work ethics; and if you’re in nursing just so you can work in a certain specialty like pediatrics or obstetrics, then choose the right degrees that will allow you to fulfill your dreams.