The most common nursing degrees are the associate of science in nursing (ASN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and master of science in nursing (MSN). An ASN degree typically takes two years of full-time post-secondary studies, while a BSN requires four years of post-secondary coursework. You need to earn a BSN to qualify for admission to an MSN program, which means earning an MSN degree involves four years of undergraduate studies and two years of graduate studies. Nurses with a BSN or MSN have multiple career options they can consider. It’s possible to work as a registered nurse (RN) with your BSN and a nursing license. MSN degree holders can become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs include family nurse practitioners (FNPs), adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners (AGPCNPs), psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs), nurse-midwives, and nurse anesthetists.
In addition to the traditional career options you can pursue with your nursing degree, you can consider several other career opportunities. Continue reading to learn about three of the unique career fields people with a BSN or MSN can pursue.
1. Become a legal nurse consultant.
A legal nurse consultant is a legal professional who uses their medical expertise to assist attorneys in building legal cases. They may consult on a wide range of legal cases, including criminal, personal injury, work injury, medical malpractice, and birth injury cases. Their level of involvement may vary widely from case to case. They may sit in on client interviews, review medical documents, conduct research, and testify in court. The information they provide attorneys can determine whether to proceed with a lawsuit. Legal nurse consultants must be registered nurses (RNs) and have a valid license. Completing an accredited legal nurse consultant certification program prepares RNs to transition to a legal nurse consultant career. NPs and other APRNs can also opt to move into the legal field.
When a person is in a workplace accident, they may turn to a reputable work injury attorney in Chicago for legal help if their workers’ compensation claim is denied. Personal injury lawyers may represent people who’ve been in workplace accidents or solely focus on workers’ compensation cases. These attorneys offer potential clients a free consultation, which allows them to determine if there any conflicts that could prevent them from offering representation. Once the client hires them, they may contract a legal nurse consultant to review medical documentation. The nurse consultant may testify in court and help attorneys establish whether their clients have incurred a permanent disability or need to retrain for a different occupation due to their injuries. Nurse consultants can also help lawyers ensure insurance companies provide fair compensation for medical bills incurred in an accident.
2. Work in an administrative healthcare or insurance role.
Insurance companies offer insurance policies that cover clients’ medical expenses. Insurance companies may hire nurses to help them develop insurance plans or evaluate claims to determine if they’re approved.
When people are looking for health insurance, they can use a comparison tool to identify potential plans. These tools ask for critical information about the client, including their gender, age, and location. Clients can customize their plan options by determining if they want extra coverage for dental health services, eye therapy, and other medical services not covered in basic insurance plans they can sign up for. Insurance companies and comparison services may hire a nurse to help them develop a comparison tool and determine which questions should be included.
Individuals with a nursing degree can also pursue opportunities as medical and health service managers, including nursing home administrators, health information managers, and clinical managers.
3. Pursue a career in education.
You can move into education if you have a BSN degree or an MSN degree and become a health educator. Health educators focus on public health. They identify common health issues and develop programs to teach people about those health issues. Health educators teach people with health conditions about their diagnosis and how to manage their conditions. They also provide preventative health care education to help people stay healthy. Health educators also help people find health care services they need, gather data, and fight for health care policies that will prevent illness and save lives.
An MSN degree can also lead to opportunities as a post-secondary nursing instructor. Post-secondary nursing instructors teach nursing diploma and undergraduate degree programs. Their duties involve creating lesson plans, teaching classes, evaluating students, and advising students. Post-secondary nursing instructors may work at community colleges, universities, and private colleges.
Earning your MSN degree begins with Googling “nurse degree” to learn about reputable accredited nursing programs. It’s possible to earn a master of science in nursing with two years of full-time study. In addition to the coursework requirements, you must also earn clinical experience to graduate. You can choose a specialty and focus on acquiring the knowledge needed to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP), or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). To qualify for admission to a master’s degree program, you must have already completed your bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of clinical experience.
Earning a nursing degree will equip you with the skills and knowledge required for multiple career options. In addition to traditional nursing roles and opportunities as an APRN, you can also opt to pursue work in the legal field, administrative field, or education.