The Next Step: Navigating Nursing Career Progression

nursing career

So you’re qualified as an accredited RN. What’s next?

The advantages of advancing your nursing career even further are abundant. From team leadership to upper management and even C-suite positions, the possibilities for career progression in nursing are almost endless.
But what are the benefits of progressing your nursing career? And just as importantly, how do you get your nursing career where you want it to go?

Stay with us as we walk you through navigating your nursing career progression. 

How Do I Advance My Career as a Nurse? 

Stepping up into leadership positions as a nurse takes ambition, drive, and dedication. It means being committed to your journey, and challenging yourself professionally. You’ll also need to prove yourself. Advancing your nursing career is not for the non-committal, and requires you to cultivate competence in the areas of communication, collaboration, and teamwork, as well as the ability to stay calm and composed under pressure. 

But it’s more than just developing your personal skills. Pursuing an advanced nursing career path also requires attaining higher qualifications – like master’s courses and specialization degrees, for instance. Specializing in a certain area of nursing will also take you further in your career. Nursing practitioners with advanced specialization degrees have access to better career outcomes, higher salaries, and ultimately, more opportunities for career progression. 

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Elevated Career Outcomes for Ambitious Nursing Professionals 

If you’re an ambitious nursing professional, you may not be satisfied with practicing as a general registered nurse. That is not to say that general RNs are not highly valued. Due to a heavy nursing shortage that is steadily increasing, the professional skillset of an RN is a highly valued commodity in the US

Despite this, your aspirations may go beyond general nursing. If this is the case, you may be called to become an advanced nursing practitioner (APRN) and specialize in a specific area of nursing. Some of the specialty career choices for advanced nurses include: 

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Cosmetic Nurse Practitioner
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Military Nurse Practitioner
  • Forensic Nurse Practitioner
  • School Nurse Practitioner 
  • Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC)

But irrespective of which specialty APRN career you choose to pursue, you’ll need to follow a higher education pathway to fulfill these aspirations. If your goal is to specialize in mental health nursing, for instance, your educational pathway will require you to complete studies in psychology and human behavior. 

APRNs specializing in addiction nursing need to familiarize themselves with concepts of substance misuse and abuse. Family nurse practitioners need to be well-versed in treating patients of all ages, from infants to adults, while geriatric nurses specialize in caring for the elderly.

The Benefits of Progressing Your Nursing Career 

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The benefits of advancing your nursing career are abundant. For some, the main driver is the opportunity to learn, grow, and progress their skills. For others, the career prospects that come with kicking professional goals are another motivator. For many nurses, one of the main advantages is the ability to increase their earning potential. 

Are you keen to earn more as a nurse? The FNP salary you can expect to earn if you qualify as a family nurse practitioner, for example, is considerably more generous than that of a general RN. Similarly, if you qualify as an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, a neonatal nurse, or a specialist oncology nurse, a higher salary and earning potential could be within your reach.

As discussed today, there are many benefits to progressing your career as a nurse. Some of these advantages include better job opportunities, the potential to earn a higher salary, and the professional growth you will attain throughout your journey. 

But navigating nursing career progression isn’t always easy, and requires a great deal of dedication on your part. Committing to further studies is an integral part of this, as is narrowing down to a certain area of specialization or APRN specialty. 

The good news? As an APRN, you can expect to earn more than your general RN counterparts. As well as this, your opportunities for career progression will multiply. 

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