Further Nursing Education
Whether you have been a Registered Nurse for a few months or a decade, continuing education is already a part of your everyday life. New technologies, techniques and medications are continually being invented and veteran nurses can sometimes feel overwhelmed by them all. Going back to school can help reduce such stress. Anyone who has ever been through an entry level nursing school program at the diploma, associate’s or bachelor’s degree level know that nursing school classmates make great sounding boards and are very useful for venting. Face it. Any specialty of nursing can be very stressful and the built-in group support aspect of nursing school can be quite helpful for those experiencing burn-out or professional overwhelm. Another way continuing your nursing education can help reduce your stress levels is through increased pay. Nurses with more education get paid a higher salary than nurses with less education for the same job. This is true in skilled nursing facilities, homecare, hospitals, clinics, and most healthcare settings.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be in the throes of burn-out, attending nursing school can provide you with the education needed to move into a high-interest specialty. If you feel your day-to-day practice has become stale and long for new opportunities, furthering your nursing education is a good way to build a new career based upon your foundational nursing skills. Clinical specialties such as Certified Nurse Midwifery, Wound Care Nursing, and Oncology Nursing, for example, all require at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree for practice.
In recent years, nurses have fought for and won the opportunity to enjoy clinical practices not possible just a generation or two ago. If you’re willing to attend graduate school at the master’s or doctoral level, you can take advantage of these kinds of opportunities. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, for example, can provide sedation and pain control for surgical patients. Nurses who want to see private patients in a variety of specialties as primary care providers can become Nurse Practitioners. Nurse Practitioners can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions including prescribing medications and other therapies for a variety of conditions in specialties such as oncology, women’s health, gerontology, and psychiatry. With additional training, a Nurse Practitioner can practice in a sub-specialty such as endocrinology, occupational health, or sports medicine.
For those who have grown tired of clinical nursing, there are many ways to continue your education and extend your influence in healthcare. Informatics Nurses combine nursing and technological expertise to improve electronic medication and other health systems. Other non-clinical nursing careers include Nursing Researchers, Nursing Quality Improvement, and Nurse Life Care Planner.
Whether you want to be more effective at your current job, train for a new specialty or use your nursing knowledge in a non-clinical capacity, returning to nursing school is a good investment. If you are considering additional nursing education, co-workers, your nurse manager, and your facility’s education department are all good sources of information.