As a working nurse, furthering your education in nursing can have many benefits for both your career and your personal life. The field of nursing is ever-evolving, and it is important to continuously hone your skills and broaden your knowledge if you want to stay relevant and provide good patient care. Further education can offer you job security and help you stay up to date in healthcare; it could also help you advance in your current job role and get a promotion too.
Nursing is a rewarding career path that is far from monotonous. However, everyone can get bored of the same routine and feel disengaged from their work. Continuing your education can motivate you and help you become a better nurse in your current position. Depending on the type of educational program, further education can even help you expand your horizons, leave your current job role, and pursue a new specialty. Here are a few noteworthy reasons to continue your education in nursing.
#1. Professional Development
The role of a nurse encompasses lifelong learning and continued professional development. A nurse that fails to take in new information can quickly fall behind their peers. Continually learning new things and picking up new information is essential in the field of nursing as it helps nursing professionals remain competent in their job. Nursing programs, on the job learning, and other relevant work experience help reinforce and update existing knowledge. With continued education, nurses gain better clinical practice skills and people skills, such as communication and empathy. In turn, working nurses are able to develop both professionally and personally.
#2. Stay Relevant
Nurses are accountable for good patient outcomes and care delivery, which means they are responsible for continuing their learning beyond the first stage of their nursing education. Nursing is very much a practical role. However, with advances in technology, evolving techniques, and breakthroughs occurring regularly, information is everything. Nurses must be well-informed about new research, technology, and medical breakthroughs to stay relevant in this industry. Ultimately, a well-educated nurse can make a huge difference in patient outcomes.
#3. Learn New Skills
In a continuously changing industry, it is essential to acquire new skills to keep up. Continued education will allow you to build on your existing skillset and add new talents to your repertoire. Not only will you become better at executing tasks in your current job, but you will also be able to lead your peers with confidence.
#4. Further Education Will Help You Make Better Decisions
With a deeper knowledge of nursing and a host of new skills under your belt, you will develop your professional judgment and become better able to make good healthcare decisions. Continued education can help make you wiser in your field. When it comes to work-related issues, it gives you the ability to take in new information and come up with better solutions based on evidence, good reasoning, and learned experience.
#5. Provide Better Community Care
From hospitals and clinics to patients’ homes and community centers, nurses work in a multitude of settings. Some nurses provide care in urban and rural areas and work with individuals who cannot access healthcare. In certain circumstances, nurses provide knowledge and advice to groups of people and teach them about good healthcare practices. Some communities count on the expert knowledge of nurses for preventative care. With further learning, you will develop a fundamental knowledge base and a deeper awareness of community healthcare that can help you create change in a community. Advanced degree programs equip registered nurses with specialist skills that can be used to create, administer, and evaluate health services and programs for community health. Providing better community care and positively impacting the individuals and families in a specific area can be incredibly rewarding for some nurses.
#6. Enhanced Care Delivery
With new methods to deliver care and an advanced skill set, nurses can improve patient care delivery and patient care experience. Advanced education provides nurses with on-the-job experience, which enables them to build on their research and problem-solving skills. In turn, nurses are well-equipped to provide better solutions to healthcare problems. Nurses can dip into a wider knowledge base, gained through nursing programs, to provide a higher quality of care and enhanced patient outcomes. The nursing field revolves around direct patient care, so being able to deliver elevated care to patients is an invaluable quality for a nurse.
#7. Secure Employment
Nurses play an important part in healthcare, with research revealing that medical and healthcare settings benefit from the correct number of nurses. Unfortunately, the nurse-to-patient ratio is not always optimal. To meet healthcare demand in the United States, over one million registered nurses are required by 2030. A lack of trained and qualified nursing professionals means that nursing professionals are in high demand. Continuing your nursing education will ensure you stay highly trained. This will help secure your employment in your current role and fend off qualified competition. An experienced and well-qualified nurse can expect job security and stable employment.
#8. Most Trusted Group of Professionals
Nurses are the most trusted group of professionals in the United States. They are trained to plan and provide comprehensive care to individuals, families, and communities, and in some cases, they share similar responsibilities to physicians. Being part of this trusted group can provide good job satisfaction for nursing professionals.
#9. Nursing Professionals Are in High Demand
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there is a projected shortage of doctors in the United States with an anticipated deficit of 130,000 physicians by 2025. This means that highly qualified nurses are in high demand. Not to mention, the aging population requires preventative care and a variety of healthcare services, and more previously uninsured U.S citizens are now seeking care too. Nurse practitioners are a practical solution for the healthcare industry. The projected doctor deficit combined with the growing need for healthcare and services opens up more opportunities for certified nurse practitioners.
#10. Advanced Career in Healthcare as an APRN
With an increasing shortage of physicians, there is no better time to continue your nursing education to achieve an advanced career in healthcare. APRNs, advanced practice registered nurses, practice in specialist fields. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing state that nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are all classified as APRNs. Advanced practice registered nurses have good job autonomy and possess the power to make healthcare decisions with regards to patient evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. Furthermore, APRNs have the experience, knowledge, and education to negotiate beneficial benefits from their employers. Growing demand for advanced practice nurses means that they are able to ask for favorable salaries, better schedules, retirement contributions, and vacations.
How to Become an APRN
To become an APRN, a registered nurse must achieve an advanced degree in nursing. They must attain a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, then pass a national certification exam and obtain the correct licensure to practice as an APRN. With the right level of education and experience, nursing professionals are able to apply for a variety of advanced positions in nursing.
#11. Get Paid More in Your State
Nurse practitioners are a type of APRN, and there is a particularly high demand for professionals in this field. In certain states, nurse practitioners can practice independently and can provide primary and preventative patient care. In addition to practicing independently, NPs can practice in a wide range of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, patients’ homes, physicians’ offices, educational settings, and community centers. The outlook for this nursing vocation is particularly positive in the state of California, New Jersey, and Texas. California boasts approximately 1,200 employment opportunities annually for qualified NPs, and practitioners can expect to earn an average salary of $145,970 per year in California. New Jersey follows with a median average wage of $130,890, while the state of Texas has a high projected career outlook for nurse practitioners.
How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner?
As with other advanced practice registered nurses, NPs must be educated to MSN or DNP level before gaining relevant experience and obtaining certification and state licensure. You can get a DNP online that’s available to nurses of varying abilities. This helps to prepare registered nurses and help them become excellent family nurse practitioners.
#12. Broaden Your Knowledge in a Specific Field
With a huge range of nursing degree programs to enroll in, working nurses can broaden their knowledge in an array of specialties. From deepening their knowledge in general nursing to delving into unknown territory in a specific field, nurses can attain new knowledge to broaden their horizons and expand their career choices. With in-depth nursing knowledge, professionals can take on more responsibilities, and they have the flexibility to work in new areas. Depending on the specialization of the chosen nursing degree, wider knowledge will give nursing professionals the ability to swap specializations and work in a variety of sectors.
#13. More Patient Care Opportunities
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, in the United States, around 58 percent of registered nurses currently work in surgical and medical hospitals. This means that there are many nurses who work in alternative settings. There is a huge array of patient care careers to explore for nurses who don’t want to provide patient care in a conventional bedside setting.
#14. Alternative Nursing Professions
The deeper knowledge gained in further education can help existing nurses become nurse educators, directors of nursing, and nurse unit managers. Working nurses can also specialize in public health. Public health nurses work with communities and focus on implementing health programs in specific areas. They are responsible for the education and wellbeing of local people in a community. People who enjoy being on the move may enjoy the role of a flight nurse. This role involves providing patient care during travel, which includes checking vitals, administering medication, and looking after their patient’s general health. With continued education, nursing professionals have more job choices to choose from outside of the norm.
With a good set of skills, relevant medical knowledge, and a local language, nursing professionals can provide patient care in different countries. The main requirement is that your existing qualifications and experiences are recognized by the country where you wish to provide care. Medical processes and technology can vary from country to country, but with an advanced level of education, you are better able to perform your duties in a new location.
Furthering your knowledge in nursing with continued education will enable you to meet like-minded professionals in your industry and create new connections. Networking is essential in any profession, andit is no different in nursing. Being part of an educational environment gives you opportunities to network with peers and experienced professionals. With more exposure to qualified professionals and nursing events, you have the opportunity to progress in your career in new ways.
#16. Hone Your Talents
Even if you are completely happy in your current nursing role and you have no aspirations to advance or take a step in another direction, continued education still has many benefits. As mentioned earlier, the role of a nurse naturally involves lifelong learning. For many nursing professionals, continuously learning new things can help keep you motivated and productive in your job. Although continued learning can open up more career opportunities, it can also help you hone your talents and become a better nurse. Furthering your education in nursing helps you keep up with nursing trends and help you stay in touch with current treatments and techniques. Further education will also allow you to discover new areas in the nursing field, which can help you make better-informed healthcare decisions. Nursing professionals have no reason to become bored in their role if they continue their nursing education. Continued learning can also make the role feel far more rewarding while giving you a feeling of progression.
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