Diversity in Nursing Career Paths
Nurse Educators for Nurses and Patients
Of course all nurses are patient educators who not only educate patients, but also other nurses and healthcare workers. Those who specialize in diseases such as diabetes also educate patients and other healthcare workers in managing chronic illnesses. Staff development nurses help to orient new staff and offer continuing education and information to all staff.
Nurse educators who work in nursing programs in colleges and universities usually have at least an MSN. Full professors have their PhD. Many ADN and LP/VN programs also hire BSN nurses, especially with the shortage of nurse educators. Often they require the BSN nurses to be enrolled in an MSN program.
Advanced Education Needed?
Nursing education (clinicals) takes place primarily in hospitals to give nurses the general skills that will take them on their journey throughout their career. A year or two working on a med/surg unit gives most nurses a generalized background that allows them to move into a variety of other roles.
Nursing roles expand constantly to meet the needs of patients and the healthcare and wellness environments. Some roles require advanced or specialized education, such as an MSN, an NP (nurse practitioner) or CDE (certified diabetic educator). Others just require the courage to make a change. If you’re not happy in your current role; investigate a change before you give up nursing all together. The beauty of a nursing career is that there are so many roles open to you.
For some assistance in understanding the requirements for nursing specialties, AJN the American Journal of Nursing, compiles a career guide each year.
All Those Initials
Many nurses have a long list of credentials and initials after their name. To find out more about these NurseWeek compiled a list of initials, and Wikipedia compiled a list of nursing credentials. The vastness of these lists should give you some indication of the many varied roles available to nurses. You can search the Internet for more information about each of these roles for more information about necessary education and experience.