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Advancing your Nursing Skills can Pay $$$

Written by NS StaffJuly 20, 2011
Money

You've already earned your certificate or degree as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN), LPN or RN, but would like to increase your earning potential, or take on a more challenging role in a hospital or healthcare institution. What additional educational training do you need in order to take your nursing career to the next level, and will the extra investment in school really pay off?

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Healthcare reform, along with an ever increasing gap between the short supply of nurses and the high demand of medical institutions to fill the growing number of available positions has temperatures rising in the industry. There's never been a better time to examine your current skills and surgically place yourself into a highly specialized nursing role.

The insurance industry successfully shifted the landscape of patient care by transitioning primary care providers from doctors to nurses. Now it's become more common for patients to refer to their primary care "nurse" when they are in need of checkups, exams, referrals and even emergency care. Playing such an important role in prevention and care requires not only experience, but advanced training as well.

Many of the top nursing schools today are significantly expanding their accelerated bachelor's or nursing master's degree programs to train existing nurses for exciting advanced practice careers or medical specialization. Many of these now even provide night and weekend courses, even 100% online programs in order to meet the acute demand for working professionals such as licensed vocational nursing, and RN's.

In particular demand are advanced practice nurses (APNs), who enjoy a level of autonomy, responsibility, and patient contact far greater than other nursing professions. They work independently or with physicians as part of a healthcare team.

Advanced practice specialties require extra training - either at the master's degree level or a combination of work experience and a bachelor's degree - and most require state or national certification as well.

The Four Areas of Advanced Practice Nursing are:

1.) Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): The CNS provides direct care and consultations to patients. They focus on a specific segment of medical care, such as women's health, geriatrics, or stress management. Salaries can top $50,000 per year.

2.) Nurse Practitioner (NP): The NP is an expert in preventative health measures, patient education, and health maintenance. NPs specialize in areas such as mental health, family practice, pediactrics, or gerontology. The current job market for NPs is very strong, with annual salaries topping $69,000. Opportunities abound for bilingual NPs.

3.) Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM): The CNM focuses on women's health care issues, such as family planning, pregnancy, childbirth, and neonatal care, as well as obstetrical and gynecological problems. Annual salaries can reach $90,000.

4.) Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): The CRNA works in a variety of healthcare settings and across a wide spectrum of medical specialties. They are often responsible for administering anesthesia and related care before, during, and after surgery. CRNA's can earn well over $113,000 a year.

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Advancing your Nursing Skills can Pay $$$
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