Having made it through the agony of nursing school and passed your exams, you are a certified nurse, ready to work! Congratulations! You may be wondering now how to go about getting a job and what exactly you should do now. Luckily for you, there are lots of career paths that you can choose; it’s simply a matter of doing a bit of research into what’s available and figuring out what your personal passions are. With so many options available, you’ll certainly be able to find the right path for you. Here are the 6 most promising paths we’ve found.
- Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)
Often referred to as Nurse Practitioners, these nurses have earned licensure/certification after following through with advanced education and extra training. This career path is great for those nurses looking to have a bit of autonomy and freedom in their job. An ARNP will generally have a specialism such as midwifery or pediatrics and will have advanced knowledge on a variety of nursing topics.
- Certified Nurse Specialist
If you’d prefer to know a lot about one specific field of practice, this pathway is for you. Fields like oncology, trauma, or occupational health are areas that require a certified nurse specialist in hospitals. If you’re interested in becoming a specialist, you will have to work on your continuing education and pass several national exams. Once you are initially certified, you’ll have to maintain that certification with regular training and perhaps more certifications. This is an excellent choice for those nurses looking for a salary boost or even a promotion – the more certified and specialized you are, the more valuable you become to your facility.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Like the previous career options, becoming a CRNA requires further education and certification, but it is extremely rewarding. An anesthetist works closely with surgery teams and provides anesthesia to patients going in. There is a massive need for Nurse Anesthetists and that need is growing more and more each year.
- Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant is a certified nurse that offers help and expertise in a legal setting. For example, many court cases rely heavily on the testimony of someone in the healthcare field to offer explanations or information to help the case come to a conclusion. Many lawyers and law firms hire their own nurse consultants to work at the firm as a specialist. If you’re growing a bit tired of practicing nursing in a hospital setting but still have a passion for the knowledge and skills you have acquired, this could be a good option for you. You’ll still be helping people, but you’ll have more regular hours and a consistent schedule.
- Military Nursing
Being a military nurse takes an extra level of fortitude that isn’t needed in regular nursing. One option to get onto this career path is by joining the military in whatever branch you choose: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc. You will then be trained in military-specific medicine. Another option is to sign up as a civilian nurse that works in veteran or military hospitals and clinics. If you have a love for the American troops and wish to offer your services as needed, this career path could be the right choice for you. Of course, there are certain sacrifices required in military nursing since you may be deployed for several months or even years away from home. However, if you love to travel and love learning about new places and cultures, this could be right up your alley.
- Nurse Educator
We know that there is a current shortage of nurses all around the globe. One of the major reasons for that is because there aren’t enough nurse educators, either. In fact, upwards of 65,000 potential nursing students are turned away from nursing schools each year simply because there aren’t enough faculty available to teach classes. This, in turn, means that there are fewer nurses that turn to education after practicing for a while, resulting in a nasty cycle of nursing deficit.
Nurse educators will usually need to pursue a master’s degree in nursing, and a doctorate goes even further. If you have a love for nursing but would also like to share that passion with others, education is a great field to get into. You’ll still get to work in a clinical sense occasionally, and you’ll have the absolute privilege of training the future of nursing.
There are a lot of things you can do as a nurse. With so many wonderful career options, it can be difficult to decide where you want to go. We suggest getting in some practice after nursing school at a hospital or clinic. Take the time to assess what attracts you most about nursing and what you don’t particularly enjoy. From there, you should be able to identify a career path that will suit your interests and professional goals.