I went back to school. I cannot say that it was easy, but I would encourage anyone who has been considering advancing their nursing education to just do it. It can be done.
While doing my Masterâ€™s full-time, I continued to work as a nurse full-time. This seemed daunting until I met a nurse on the unit next to ours who was pregnant on top of all of these responsibilities!
It does not take perfect time management skills. It just takes shaking off perfectionism. A lot of nursing degrees is done online, and for that part of my courses, I was the first to respond (mostly so I did not have to spend time reading other classmatesâ€™ answers and then second guessing myself).
What was my motivation to go back to nursing school? One time I saw a flyer in the conference room at work looking for nurses to edit a chapter in a textbook. I was very excited and applied; however, I was informed that I needed a Masterâ€™s degree. I thought, well, I would also like the opportunity to teach one day. (I like nursing students because they are so keen to learn skills).
For others, a Baccalaureate is a good idea. The nursing job postings where I work do advertise â€œBSN preferredâ€. I have noticed that some bedside nurses with Associate degrees are opting to become certified in their specialty instead. I am sure that passing a National exam adds to their competency and credibility. Nevertheless, they still might find themselves limited in the future.
Bedside nursing does have many benefits. Often there is better pay; you can show up for your shift with little preparation; wear scrubs; work your hours in less days; have other people to help you; and see patients progress faster. It is also a very physical job.
A friend of mine, who is a conscientious and compassionate nurse, recently applied to a nursing degree program because she wants to work in a community clinic. This is another option, out of many, for nurses.
In my opinion, it would be a shame if a career change presented itself to you and you were unable to take it because of your present qualifications. If you can find the time in your busy schedule I would highly encourage all nurses to continue advancing their nursing education.
By Karen Lacis
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