Preparing for Graduate Nurse Jobs

Without a doubt, the hottest career field in the coming years will be the nursing career field. Not only is the United States facing a shortage of qualified nurses to fill current openings, the Baby Boomer generation is approaching old age and placing an even greater stress on the medical establishment. With qualified nurses advancing or retiring, there are plenty of openings for qualified nurses in exciting and challenging roles within healthcare. One of the best paths to a long and financially rewarding career in nursing is by obtaining a graduate nurse job.

Graduate nurse jobs are open to those nurses who have completed an advanced education and prepared themselves for roles with greater leadership, management, administrative, and research responsibilities. There are three graduate level degrees that current nurses can earn to help them advance their career and land a graduate nurse job. These degrees include the following:

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The Master’s level degree is the first step in preparing for a graduate nurse job. The program is designed for current Registered Nurses (RNs) looking to advance into career fields such as nurse administrator, health policy expert, or clinical nurse leader. Master’s programs are also the first step in landing a graduate nurse job in a specialized area of nursing. Examples of specialized nursing fields include:

  • Acute care
  • Geriatrics
  • Neonatal
  • Psychiatric
  • Obstetrics and gynecological nursing

Nurses who have already acquired a Master’s degree and are looking to move even higher in the world of nursing will need to complete one of the two Doctoral level degrees available. The two programs differ slightly in their approach as well as eventual graduate nurse jobs. The DNP degree offers students an education based upon advanced clinical aspects, while the PhD programs has a more academic research approach. DNP graduates are likely to take on advanced administrative and management positions that involve policy development and implementation. PhD graduates on the other hand are more likely to become involved in advanced research projects and the education of future nurses.

Once individuals have completed a graduate program they will find a whole new world of graduate nurse jobs awaiting them. These positions come with greater specialization, more responsibility, and higher pay. Examples of graduate nurse jobs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP): Examples of duties include ordering, performing, and interpreting diagnostic studies, providing prenatal care, and providing well-child care.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): Examples of duties include providing medical care to women from puberty through menopause, as well as providing care for newborns, and nonsurgical gynecological care.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): Examples of duties include providing accepted anesthetic techniques ranging from general, epidural, and spinal to peripheral nerve block, sedation, or local.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): Examples of duties include working in areas such as patient care, nursing personnel, and healthcare systems. Individuals in this field perform varying tasks that range from direct clinical practice and consultation to research and clinical leadership.

While the bulk of positions opening up in nursing at lower levels in the next decade, there will still be a need to fill vacant graduate nurse jobs. One of the most in-demand graduate nurse jobs at the moment involves the education of future nurses. One major factor in the nursing shortage is a lack of individuals qualified to teach BSN programs, making PhD graduates particularly valuable to the healthcare industry in the coming decade.