You can begin working in several positions as a nursing professional with just a bachelor’s degree if you have the appropriate state licensure. However, at some point during your career you may choose to return to school. Earning an advanced nursing degree can help you pursue high-level positions within your health care organization by learning crucial leadership skills and specialized knowledge in the nursing field.
One of the most sought-after nursing positions within a hospital is the nurse executive. Nurse executives are administrators and managers who collaborate with other nursing professionals to ensure the hospital runs smoothly and patients receive high-quality care. Some of their specific tasks include the following:
- Developing and managing the hospital’s budget
- Creating healthcare policies
- Designing and managing standards of patient care
- Connecting professionals to continuing education resources
- Ensuring that each department is aligned with the hospital's overall mission
Typically, an advanced degree is required to pursue a career as a nurse executive. Larger organizations may require a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. This degree focuses on helping nurses learn how to improve patient outcomes with an expert understanding of patient care.
Nursing Care Coordinator
Earning an advanced nursing degree such as a master’s degree may pave the way toward becoming a nursing care coordinator. Care coordinators are responsible for ensuring that patients receive the right type of care to promote favorable patient outcomes in a way that also manages a reasonable cost of care.
Nursing care coordinators collaborate with other health care professionals such as physicians, respiratory therapists, cardiac rehabilitators and hospice care teams. Their mission is to ensure a seamless continuity of care as the patient transitions between environments. For example, patients may be transferred to other hospitals or to long-term care facilities. Alternatively, they may be discharged so they can complete their recovery at home. The care coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the patient receives all the care and support they need while keeping health care costs low and preventing hospital readmissions.
There is a shortage in qualified registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S., which is expected to continue for several years. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the country will need to add more than 370,000 nursing jobs by the year 2028 to make up for the shortage.1 If you choose to focus your advanced studies on nursing education, you could help bridge the gap by training the next generation of qualified nurses.
A Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Education degree could allow you to pursue a career as an academic or clinical educator. In this role, you might work at an institute of higher education. Or, you may work directly within healthcare systems, providing continuing education and professional development to active nursing professionals.
Health informatics involves applying information technology (IT) principles to the organization and analysis of health data and records. Nursing informaticists research and develop evidence-based practices that can improve patient outcomes. If you enjoy working with data to develop practical solutions and improve procedures, you may benefit from a Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program. You can expect to study topics such as relational database management software, biostatistics and clinical workflow analysis.
Public Health Nursing
An advanced nursing degree may allow you to promote the wellness of entire communities. Public health nursing is the practice of identifying and assessing health issues that affect various groups and populations. It also involves analyzing emerging treatments and developing public health programs designed to promote the wellness of the population.
If you choose to earn your Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Public Health Nursing degree, you may pursue positions at county health departments, national health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or global entities such as the World Health Organization. You can expect to become familiar with topics such as translational research, organizational leadership, population-based interventions and the principles of epidemiology.
You can acquire advanced skills and in-depth nursing knowledge when you complete a graduate-level nursing degree at Grand Canyon University. The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers a range of advanced degree options including our Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Nursing Education and Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Public Health Nursing degree programs.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.