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What to Think About Before Applying for an Advanced Nursing Program

Nursing is well-known around the world for being a career that is dedicated to helping others, coming with a lot of career satisfaction and personal reward. It is a popular career choice among people who are highly empathetic and want to do something meaningful with their work. Nurses often go into this career wanting to make a difference and be there for other people when they are in a time of need. Along with being very rewarding work, nursing also has a large amount of opportunity for progression and career advancement. Nurses today have more access than ever before to advanced degrees and career progression opportunities thanks to the internet.

If you are considering getting an advanced nursing degree in the future, here are some key things to think about before you apply and enroll.

Your Future Goals

What you want to do with your nursing career in the future will have the biggest impact on your choice of advanced nursing degree. Choosing a nursing role for the future can often seem overwhelming as there are so many opportunities for nurses to consider. Think about what you enjoy the most and what will be most satisfying for you personally. If you enjoy the patient care aspect of nursing the most and don’t want to move away from this, training as a nurse practitioner could be ideal for you. On the other hand, if you prefer managing teams and making big decisions, you might be a good fit for a nurse leadership role. If educating other nurses or contributing to vital nursing research interests you, you could qualify for these types of roles with a doctorate in nursing from Marymount University.

What You Enjoy

If you’re looking to get into a more advanced nursing position, what you enjoy in your career is worth considering when it comes to setting your future goals and ultimately choosing the right advanced degree for you. As a nurse, it’s a good idea to plan to get an advanced degree once you have had the chance to gain experience in a lot of different aspects of nursing, which will help you figure out where your passions lie and what you like the most about your job. Working in the ER is a role that many nurses recommend to others who want to find out more about their likes and dislikes on the job, since it gives you the best chance at working with a wide range of different patients, different injuries and illnesses, and collaborating with different healthcare professionals.

What Degree?

There are several different advanced nursing degree programs available, and finding the right one for you and your future career goals is essential. When going through the process of choosing an advanced degree for the future, there are several different things to keep in mind. Ideally, you might have a specific career goal when it comes to the type of role that you see yourself in; however, this is not always necessary since many advanced nursing degrees such as a master’s degree in nursing will prepare you for a wide range of different roles, and getting the degree could help you learn more about what you are interested in and where you want your career to go. In addition, carefully consider the entry requirements for the advanced degree you are considering. Most will require a BSN as a minimum qualification, and some expect you to have some years of experience as a registered nurse before you apply, especially if you want to get an advanced degree to prepare you for an advanced nursing practice role.

Which Nursing School?

As a registered nurse, you’ve been to nursing school before, so you can use that experience to help guide your choice of nursing school for your advanced degree. Think about what worked well and what didn’t when you got your BSN. Did you like your nursing school? Perhaps you will benefit from getting your advanced degree at a school that you are already familiar with. Or if you’d prefer to go somewhere new, take the time to do your research into the nursing schools available, how they rank, and what qualified nurses with advanced degrees are doing after graduation. It’s a good idea to visit to check out the facilities and speak to faculty before you apply; open days are an ideal way to do this.

Studying Online or On-Campus?

Deciding how to study for your advanced nursing degree is likely to go differently compared to how you decided to study at nursing school for your BSN. By now, you are likely to be in a very different situation; perhaps you are working full-time as a registered nurse and maybe you have commitments that you didn’t have back then that you will need to work around. While traditional on-campus study is always going to be available for advanced nursing degrees, it is becoming less popular as more nurses opt for the more flexible option of getting their qualification online. Online study is less stressful and hectic because you can do most of it from home, and many programs are designed to be flexible and fit around your lifestyle, rather than you forcing your lifestyle to fit around the degree.

Support Available

Finally, the support that is available for certain degree choices is a major factor to keep in mind for some nurses. Your decision to study at a certain nursing school, for example, might be swayed if your current employer currently partners with them to offer assistance with tuition for employees. Other support options such as scholarships and grants might be something that you want to take into account when choosing a school and program if you want to save money and reduce stress as you study to advance your nursing career. It’s a good idea to weigh up all your options after speaking to the relevant people to find a degree that offers access to any support you need along with being a good fit for your future career goals.

An advanced nursing degree can take your career future in many different directions, so it’s important to choose the right one.

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