Nurses continue to be the pillars of our healthcare system. Earning a degree in this field could be an attractive career option. As the nursing shortage continues to impact many geographical locations, career options in this field could be available where you live. In addition, nursing is a rewarding career. It allows you to work with people and help improve their lives in a way few other professionals do.
If you think nursing might be the right career for you, the next question to ask is what type of degree you need. There are different types of nursing degrees.
Advantages of a Nursing Degree
You could work in healthcare without becoming a nurse. There are some strategic advantages to choosing this career option, though. For one, you could get your nursing education in stages, allowing you to hold a job in the field while you continue your studies.
Also, nursing could allow you to work in a variety of locations and environments. Nurses work in:
- Private practices
- Medical specialty offices
- Long-term care facilities
- Memory-care facilities
- Rehabilitation centers
- Drug treatment programs
- Public health
Some nurses travel from place to place and fill in where needed, an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to see the country before settling down or retiring. Finally, nursing is a rewarding career choice. It allows you to help others and impact their lives.
Types of Nursing Degrees
Variety is also a definite advantage to working as a nurse and you have many different nursing degree options when it comes to choosing a path.
Licensed Practical Nurse
The shortest degree option is licensed practical nurse or LPN. It is often a launching point for nurses who want more control over how much education they get. You could earn your degree in as little as a year, depending on the nursing school. That means you could be working as a nurse relatively quickly.
If you want to continue your education, you could work in the field while you take additional classes. There are often bridge programs that will allow you to complete many courses online. For example, you could take a bridge program, graduate with an associate degree, and advance to RN while working as an LPN.
What Do LPNs Do?
LPNs work directly with patients, taking vital signs and histories and providing general nursing care. Sometimes, they may supervise a team of certified nurse aides or medical assistants. They tend to have supervisory roles in long-term care facilities, for example.
LPNs have their choice of working environments. They work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, and nursing facilities.
Starting salaries for LPNs are generally lower because it requires less education. However, starting at this level may allow you to find a job that will pay for you to continue your education. LPNs can also advance their careers with certificate programs that add to their skill sets. For instance, they might get certified to start IVs or work in pediatrics.
The next step up from an LPN is a registered nurse or RN. RNs work with patients, but their jobs tend to be more clinical. They go to school to get a two-year degree, one year longer than an LPN. However, they have more supervisory opportunities and higher starting salaries in return for that one year.
What Do RNs Do?
They work in many of the same environments as the LPN but are not seen in private practices as much. You would likely encounter an RN in a setting that requires longer-term care, such as a hospital, surgical center, or nursing facility. They also work in public health and education.
Their duties will depend on where they work. They could do basic nursing care, medical histories, and vital signs. It is a more clinical role, so they might also perform procedures such as starting IVs, testing, drawing blood, and educating patients.
BSN stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, indicating the nurse has a four-year degree. Many RNs take an online bridge program to complete their bachelor’s degree to advance their careers. The additional education would open more job opportunities for them and lead to potentially higher pay.
What Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Do?
BSN-prepared nurses are found in traditional nursing environments working as RNs, and they would perform the same duties. However, they might also hold management positions, work as educators, or in public health.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a BSN-prepared nurse who obtains additional training in a specific field. That might mean getting a master’s degree or an advanced nurse credential. For instance, a BSN–prepared nurse might take a graduate program in business administration in healthcare or specialize in a nursing field like infection control or gerontology. There are various master’s degree programs that could make you more competitive in the workplace.
What Do CNSs Do?
A clinical nurse specialist can have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) but is not a nurse practitioner. That is a more clinical role that requires a specific educational path. Their exact duties would depend on their employer, but they would generally work in an acute care ward or management.
A nurse practitioner (NP) has advanced clinical training in nursing. This healthcare professional will graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). They work as diagnosticians, anesthesiologists, and healthcare providers, much like a physician’s assistant. Often, nurse practitioners can prescribe medication, create treatment plans, and specialize in fields such as gerontology, mental health, or infection prevention and control.
What Do NPs Do?
NPs can run a private nursing practice, but in many states, they must work under the supervision of a medical doctor. You will find them in urgent care clinics, surgical centers, and hospitals. They may make rounds at local nursing care facilities rehab programs. They do not usually perform basic nursing care, though, as they have more advanced practice.
American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University
The American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University provides flexible programs for nurses looking to advance their career options. For over 15 years, we have provided nurses with online solutions for education. In addition, we partner with more than 200 healthcare providers in the country to ensure nurses have ways to pursue educational opportunities even while they work.
We offer students a personalized educational experience with comprehensive one-on-one support and online study options. Our facility includes educators at the top of their field, so they have the skills and expertise to fully support your efforts.
Nurses who choose American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University have a chance to expand their knowledge through nursing degree programs, a health management specialization, and digital certificates.
Find out more about how you could advance your healthcare career with a degree program at American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Post University. Check out our website today to learn more.
Thank you for reading! To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.