Is RN Continuing Education Right for You? 5 Alternatives
It doesn’t matter whether you are deciding to go back to nursing school for a Master’s degree in nursing science, to become a nurse practitioner, or to obtain your Bachelor’s degree in nursing – it is a personal decision to make. There are many factors to consider when you are contemplating RN continuing education, including:
- Your financial picture
- Your family situation
- How much experience you have or feel you need
Are you sure that RN continuing education is the right move for you in your life and nursing career? While it’s unlikely that you would be able to find answers to all of your questions on the subject within one article, we will do our best to present critical questions to consider before you decide to go back to nursing school.
1. Don’t let the Frustration of a Current Job be the Motivating Reason to Go Back to Nursing School
This can be tricky because the long hours and heavy work of the bedside can push people to change their working environment and practicing ability. It’s not a bad reason to go back to school, but it shouldn’t be the only reason. Be aware of how you’re feeling and if you’re simply trying to escape (if that’s the case, try travel nursing jobs, it’s an excellent outlet!)
Another misconception within the nursing field is that a bachelor’s degree is needed if you want to advance your career. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a registered nurse with an Associate’s Degree – I can tell you personally that I have enjoyed many exciting and lucrative careers as a nurse, including working in the IT field as a clinical analyst, traveling to other states to work as a travel nurse, and working in high-paced environments on critical and intensive care units.
2. Consider Where Does Your Interest Really Lies and Pursue it!
Try not to allow frustration to lead you to your next nursing career choice. Instead, let curiosity be your guide when it comes to choosing the next step in your nursing path. What excites you? What are you interested in? Maybe you have a passion for working with kids. If so, pediatric nursing just might be your calling. Plenty of nurses are also fascinated by science and complexities in the surgical nursing sphere. Not to mention the fact that surgical nurses often work ideal hours without weekend requirements.
As long as you are a licensed registered nurse able to work within the state you reside, you are able to put in for new positions and start specializing your nursing career. Keep in mind that there is a nursing shortage and don’t let your degree stop you from applying for your dream position. You never know what doors will open if you knock.
3. Pick Up Local Per Diem Nursing Jobs
If you’re looking for a change of pace in the nursing field, it pays to shop around. In fact, if you are considering any type of change, it’s a smart move to start working with a local per diem nursing agency where you can look for available shifts from hospitals and healthcare organizations nearby.
There are numerous benefits to working local per diem nursing jobs. In fact, there are many nurses who decide to only work per diem as their full-time nursing job because they love the flexibility it provides. When you pick up work by the shift, you are compensated with higher hourly pay than what a typical staff nurse makes at the same facilities you go to. Plus, there is great freedom in being able to choose when you want to work and if you want to work at all. This type of nursing career is ideal for those who do not rely on a full-time position for healthcare and other insurance benefits.
4. Don’t Do it Just Because It’s the Thing to Do and Everyone Else is Doing it
It’s easy to get caught up in feeling pressure to go back to nursing school when a lot of your colleagues and peers and taking this path. While the other nurses that you work around might be in a position where RN continuing education is the right choice for them, it doesn’t automatically make it the right choice for you. Keep in mind that this decision is just as much personal as it is professional.
While there are some jobs for registered nurses that require a bachelor’s degree in education or higher, that is not the norm. While it’s understandable that you may want to pursue a higher degree of nursing education in order to take jobs as a nurse practitioner or master’s degree nurse – it’s important to understand that your options as an RN are not in any way limited to the current position that you have. Many nurses with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing go on to hold management roles and take on positions that command a high salary – such as working as an informatics nurse. You can also pursue jobs in the world of case management or even explore the home health sector which provides lucrative opportunities and independence.
5. Become a Travel Nurse and Make Good Money While Seeing the Country
When you decide to become a travel nurse, you will open the door to many new opportunities and perspectives in the nursing field. If you have a thirst for adventure, travel nursing is definitely a remedy to quench it. Furthermore, if you are feeling unsatisfied in your current role, it may be due, in part, to pure and simple boredom. While the decision to be a travel nurse is very personal and will vary from person to person, this is a niche in the nursing field that many registered nurses find extremely rewarding and it’s always full of opportunity.
Curious to learn more? Give yourself an idea of what travel nursing has to offer you when you search our open travel nursing assignments today.