As you're well aware, the COVID-19 pandemic shed much light on many things we didn't deem significant as a global society.
One of the most overlooked aspects was the role of nurses. However, nurses played a pivotal role during this great crisis, rising to the occasion gracefully.
They worked alongside doctors and other medical staff to get people the proper care they needed and demonstrated resilience during this hour of need.
With the job becoming more taxing, as COVID-19 cases rise and new variants emerge, many nurses desire career advancement and a higher paycheck for the rigorous work they do.
While there are many ways to achieve promotions in one's career, most involve an advanced nursing degree, particularly in a nurse's case.
This brings us to the questions; what is an advanced nursing degree, and how does it benefit your career as a nurse?
Advanced Nursing Degree
Any degree that serves as advancing a nurse's education and a level of training is regarded as an advanced nurse degree.
For example, an LPN (Licensed Practitioner Nurses) can reach a higher level of training through an Associate's Degree in Nursing (AND), which puts them in the category of Registered Nurses (RN).
However, an RN can further advance in their career by studying for a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN).
Another path that nurses take is earning an AGACNP master's degree, a Master's of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.
This focuses on enhancing nursing skills by developing expertise in adult-gerontology. In this degree, nurses learn about preventing, diagnosing, and treating frequent health issues while simultaneously focusing their attention on the at-risk population.
Now that we know what skills and training a higher education in nursing offers, let us move on to the benefits.
Benefits of Higher Education in Nursing
- Higher Salary
Progressing further in your nursing education generally allows you to move up in your career. While there is no salary difference between a BSN and ADN nurse, the gap occurs over time.
Like the fact that many opportunities occur during a nurse's career, but they may not be as many for an ADN as they are for a BSN.
The advancement in one's position to leadership roles or a higher seat is always accompanied by an increased salary.
Since technological advancements have allowed nursing education to be available everywhere in the present world, almost all leadership roles require an advanced nursing degree.
So you always have a higher chance of offers of higher positions with your degree.
The further you advance in your nurse education, the more research skills you possess and a more mature critical thinking approach.
Gaining new skills allows you to enjoy more autonomy beyond the bedside. It is an essential aspect of your career as you move forward.
- Employer Demands
While this is most common among most medical facilities, some require the ADN-prepared nurses to earn their Bachelor in Nursing Science degree after starting work.
If this requirement is not met promptly, they lose their jobs and the salary benefits that come with it.
- Flexible Working Hours
Typical bedside nursing hours are specific to nursing as nurses periodically tend to work during evenings, holidays, and weekends.
However, moving up, these rigorous hours tend to dwindle, as the requirement to work overnight, on holidays, and on weekends decreases.
- More Career Opportunities
Leadership is not the only path you should aim high for in a nursing career, though it is the most favored. If leadership is your ultimate goal, you may wish to take a look at the elder care business opportunities that are out there and consider starting a company like this in the future.
Earning a doctorate or a master's can allow you a variety of choices and open up different turns that your career may take, like becoming a nurse practitioner or a nurse educator.
- Better Patient Care
With a higher education degree highlighted in your resume, you'll be able to provide a higher quality of service to your patients.
It will also enable you to anticipate better and diagnose a more diverse spectrum of health problems.
Thus, by providing better care, you'll create a more favorable environment for your patients while feeling fulfilled by the impact you are making on the lives of others.
- Builds Stronger Teams
When a team of health care staff consists of professionals with varying levels of education, everyone tends to benefit from it.
Nurses with more experience and expertise can serve as a guide and pass along their knowledge and wisdom to the less-experienced members.
It goes both ways. It is beneficial for the mentor, who gets to use knowledge and inspire others in the process. And for others, it's a hands-on experience, where they learn first-hand from the experts.
By pursuing higher education, you'll have the chance to apply your skills in the field and inspire and mentor others.
- Earning Respect
Nursing is perhaps one of the few professions with an enormous responsibility on employees without a bachelor's degree in their hands.
In comparison, we know that an ADN and diploma teach you the skills necessary for the job. As a result, some don't bother to look beyond a primary degree.
However, advancing your education allows you to have greater parity with other professions. In some cases, it also removes a lot of difficulties with patients, such as the fact that people will often look down on you or ignore your advice, no matter how important it is because you possess a diploma and not a bachelor's degree.
There is nothing shameful or dishonorable about having a diploma, especially since, as pointed out above, you learn the skills you need to do your job.
However, gaining more knowledge can give you more assurance and confidence. Therefore, it doesn't have any drawbacks, and you as a nurse stand to gain everything from it and nothing to lose.
Plus, life is easier as there are online courses available for advanced nursing degrees, so you can progress further in your education without compromising your job.