Nursing is a challenging and exciting field that offers several different areas of practice. Depending upon a nurse’s education and experience, the opportunities for increased responsibility and autonomy, and higher pay, are numerous. Nurses are considered an essential part of any healthcare team and their expertise and skills are relied upon when offering the best in patient care. Nurses who decide to further their education with a higher degree like a master’s are more likely to be promoted to leadership positions where they can have a positive effect and greater influence on the nursing profession.
So, what can you do with a master’s in nursing? The career opportunities are diverse and numerous. This article will go into some specializations available to nurses with master’s level education.
Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide primary and specialized care to patients. They can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and order diagnostic tests. Nurse practitioners enjoy more autonomy than registered nurses and have the opportunity to progress into executive and leadership roles.
Some common areas roles of nurse practitioners include diagnosing illnesses and injuries and writing prescriptions for medications. Nurse practitioners are also able to order diagnostic tests for patients such as lab work and x-rays. These highly educated professionals can perform medical treatments on patients as well as gather and record personal patient histories. They often work in private clinics where they teach patients about their medical conditions, the resources available to them, and lifestyle changes that should be made to encourage healthy living.
A nurse educator is a well-respected and important position. Nurse educators can work in academic or clinical settings and are responsible for teaching future nurses. Accredited online schools such as Cleveland State University offer flexible options for study for working nurses who want to further their education and careers. The curriculum for nurse educators is challenging and exciting and perfect for those who wish to help patients and improve the future of the nursing profession. This position allows highly educated and passionate professionals to teach and mentor new nurses coming into the field. Nurse educators also teach about healthcare policy, nursing research, and advancements in technologies and treatments.
Nurse administrators manage healthcare facilities and coordinate patient care services. They may be responsible for budgeting, staffing, and ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations as well as providing operational management and strategic leadership to the nurses in their organizations.
The primary responsibilities of a nurse administrator include setting performance goals for their departments and staff by collaborating with boards and committees. These medical professionals also coordinate with staff to develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct performance reviews, and offer advice and support. A nurse administrator may also develop training programs and professional development activities such as seminars or workshops to support staff learning.
Other responsibilities of a nurse administrator include managing and creating budgets for their departments and recruiting and hiring new nurses. They monitor for legal compliance in their organizations and check if regulations are being met. Nurse administrators are also able to advocate for their teams and represent and stand up for fellow nurses.
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
Clinical nurse specialists are advanced practice nurses who specialize in a particular patient population or setting, such as pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. These highly educated and respected medical professionals are trained in areas of pharmacology, physical assessment, and physiology so they can diagnose, treat, and prescribe in their areas of specialty. These clinical nurse specialists provide a safe and cost-effective option that helps alleviate the growing strain on the healthcare system. In some cases, nurse specialists have their own practice and cater to communities that are in need of accessible healthcare. This is especially important for remote regions where facilities may be limited.
A CNS works with advanced clinical expertise and specializes in specific areas of nursing. Some responsibilities include diagnosing acute or chronic illnesses and providing treatments or working with the patient to develop a personalized treatment plan. In some cases, they replace a general practitioner for those who are not able to pay or get access to expensive medical care.
Nurse specialists can diagnose, treat, and follow up with the continuing management of illnesses in patients. They can also provide guidance and mentorship to those nurses working directly with patients at the bedside and effect change in the nursing field.
Nurse researchers design and conduct research studies to improve patient outcomes and advance the field of nursing. They analyze data and conduct studies that can help improve patient care and nursing policy. A nurse researcher will have a high level of education and will have trained extensively in research methods, healthcare delivery systems, and statistics. The role of these professionals is crucial in developing new and improved treatments for patient care as well as coming up with innovative ideas for illness prevention. The findings from research studies are used to develop policies and guidelines for nurses that increase the standard of care and shape healthcare policy.
Nursing is a challenging and rewarding field that offers individuals various opportunities to develop policy and help shape the healthcare system. Nurses with advanced degrees can go on to effect change by becoming nurse educators and researchers and help shape standards of patient care. They can also specialize and treat patients in communities that may not have access to regular healthcare and open their own clinics as nurse practitioners to give full-service care to patients and their families. A nurse with a master’s degree is in a great position to have greater autonomy in their career.