Advanced Nursing Degrees for RNs
After years of toil, you have finally realized your dream of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). On
your two shoulders rests the responsibility of providing direct care to patients in need. You move
from one emergency situation to another, assisting the best brains and hands in the medical field.
To an outsider, your career seems to be on a roll. But the restless spirit inside you wants to do
more and knows you are capable of doing more. So, what now? Are you going to listen to your
soul and work towards advancing your career or are you going to wait for the proverbial storm to
If you want to rise above the ordinary, all you need is a little bit of help and some amount of
planning. There are many advanced nursing degrees which can help you not just advance, but
also diversify your career. Let’s explore some of such nursing programs.
Bachelor’s in Nursing: If you have entered the nursing profession with an Associate’s Degree in
Nursing or a hospital-administered diploma, your first stop should be a Bachelor’s in Nursing
completion. A bachelor’s degree is essential not just for further academic pursuits, but also for
more complex roles within the scope of an RN’s work. A BSN will also expand your job
opportunities, as this degree is a pre-requisite for some nursing positions. While typically a
Bachelor’s in Nursing degree takes about four years to complete, as an RN you may be able to
earn this degree in much less time.
Master’s in Nursing: Getting a Master’s degree in Nursing is essential if you want to become an
advanced practice nurse. Advanced practice nurses work independently or with physicians to
provide primary care to patients. There are four types of advanced practice nurses viz. clinical
nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners. A Master’s degree
in nursing usually takes about two years of coursework, but there may be few accelerated options
available for RNs.
Master’s in Nursing Administration: For RNs who want to advance into management-roles, a
Master’s in Nursing Administration degree is the most appropriate credential. Such programs are
designed to train RNs in not just advanced nursing theory, but also in the non-clinical aspects of
health services such as management principles, healthcare law and policies, healthcare
informatics, healthcare finance, etc. To become a nurse manager, an RN must demonstrate
leadership qualities, communication skills, and capability for strategic thinking and independent
Master’s in Nursing Education: This degree qualifies Registered Nurses to perform in the role
of an educator. As a nurse educator, you’ll have little or no direct contact with patient care.
However, the importance of the role is emphasized in the fact that the professional development
of future nurses resides in your hands . A nurse educator is someone who trains and prepares
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and RNs for practice roles in different healthcare settings. A
nurse educator is also responsible for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating
educational programs for student nurses, assessing their progress, and mentoring them for
So which one of these rewarding career paths will you walk on? Now is the time to break out of
the cozy nest you have built yourself and spread your wings a little!