Stepping out of nursing school as a newly graduated, registered nurse can be an exciting and often emotional experience. After years of studying, living on a tight budget, and racking up hours of work experience, you have finally made it into the world of full-time nursing. But, your journey as a nurse doesn’t have to stop here, and for many successful nurses, it’s a journey that never stops. So, now that you’ve graduated from nursing school, you might be thinking about the potential next steps you will make. We’ve listed a few of our top suggestions here.
#1. Get Your Master’s Degree
Although nurses are in higher demand than ever before in the U.S., getting your master’s degree in nursing can help you to take your career to the next level as quickly as possible. Master’s degrees in nursing will usually take around 1-2 years to complete, although you may be able to graduate earlier or later with a flexible online program. A master’s degree in nursing will make it easier for you to find better-paid nursing jobs with higher responsibility, and you’ll be in a better position for career progression and future study too. And, it’s easier than ever to achieve one whilst you are working as a nurse. Your employer may be able to help with funding further education for you, or there are several online or part-time programs that allow you the flexibility that you need to keep up with your career.
#2. Find Your Area of Specialization
Nursing covers a very broad range, with a wide selection of careers available all falling under the nursing umbrella. So, it’s often essential to focus your efforts on one area of specialization, for example, becoming a family nurse practitioner, or maybe working as a nurse anesthetist. If you’re unsure about the area of nursing that you’d like to get into, then spend some time working as a nurse first. Try to get as much experience as you can in varying departments so that you have a better feel for the roles that you click with and enjoy the most. Then, find a study program that works well for you, such as this family nursing program online.
#3. Try Teaching
If you are passionate about nursing and want to make a difference to the next generation of nurses and those to come, teaching nursing students could be the perfect career path for you. Many registered nurses go on to study for a master’s and a doctorate in nursing whilst working full-time thanks to online, remote, and part-time study options that are available for almost all nursing programs today. With the U.S. currently experiencing a severe nursing shortage that’s only expected to get worse due to the aging population, good professors to teach nursing in schools and colleges across the country have never been more greatly needed.
#4. Look Into Management Options:
If you have strong leadership skills and enjoy leading a team, then pursuing a management career in nursing could be a great choice for you. Senior nurses are required in every area of healthcare to lead teams of nurses, delegate tasks, mentor students and ensure that all patients are receiving the highest standards of care. Whilst there are several study options that you may want to consider in order to boost your chances of landing a managerial position, bear in mind that this isn’t always necessary – many senior nurses work their way up the ranks as they gain experience on the job.
#5. Try Something Different
If you have completed your nursing degree and have realized that working hands-on with patients isn’t for you, there’s no need to worry as your work so far has not been in vain. With a nursing degree, you will have gained a lot of knowledge and experience that can be put into practice in a range of industries, for example, in laboratory jobs or perhaps in non-clinical settings. You might also want to consider jobs working with patients in a different setting, for example, as a therapist. So, why not explore various master’s degree options in the different subject areas that you are interested in working in to see if anything suits you better.
After graduating from nursing school, you have a wealth of opportunities available to you! Whether you decide to study further, focus on a specific area of nursing or qualify to teach nursing to others, these are just some ideas for after you qualify.