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10 Best Degrees for Nurses to Boost Their Career

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The need for healthcare services grows by the day, and nurses are more crucial to the industry than the world gives them credit for. The demand for registered nurses is increasing rapidly, especially with the healthcare system suffering from understaffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these trying times, nurses are doing everything they can to offer their services to the healthcare system. If you’re a registered nurse, it’s the ideal time to take opportunities for professional growth and contribute to the industry to the best of your abilities. Nurses looking to boost their careers can opt for any of these advanced nursing degrees.

Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) work for families, providing primary and preventive healthcare services to all members, including infants, children, teens, and adults. Their services include examination, diagnosis, and treatment of patients, along with providing basic guidelines on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and maintaining perfect health.

This career path may be well-suited if you’re comfortable treating all age groups and developing long-lasting relationships with your patients. Surprisingly, this is one of the most popular specialized careers in nursing, as 65% of advanced practice registered nurses are FNP certification holders.

If you’re interested in this career advancement, it’s best to look into ABSN online program, especially if you plan to continue working simultaneously.

  • Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses handle premature newborns and newborns, including all infants that require intensive care due to serious health conditions. Normally, neonatal nurses are in charge of infants from birth until discharge.

In other cases, they take care of them for longer, especially if the infant has long-term health conditions. That includes prematurity, birth defects, infection, cardiac malformations, and surgical problems.

  • Dialysis Nurse

Dialysis is the process of cleaning up a patient’s blood when they’re suffering from kidney failure. Dialysis nurses handle the daily dialysis process, equipment management, administering medication, and record management of the patient’s condition before and after dialysis.

For a specialized dialysis certification, nurses must have a valid RN license and nursing diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. You may be entitled to better-paid APRN positions as a nurse with an MSN degree. It may also help to get a degree in nephrology, the study of kidney function, disease, and treatment.

  • School Nurse

The role of school nurses is obvious as they work in schools and provide healthcare services to students, ranging from pre-schoolers to high-schoolers. Their duties include treating and giving first aid to ill or injured students, providing acute care, collecting health data, administering health screenings, and helping students with chronic diseases.

School nurses also work with other authorities within the establishment to guarantee all students’ physical and psychological well-being. To become a school nurse, you’ll need to be a registered nurse. There typically isn’t any specialty certification involved with being a school nurse, but you may receive credentials from the National Board for Certification of School Nurses.

  • Nurse Midwife

Nurses that want to specialize in childbirth, pregnancy, prenatal care, and postpartum recovery can advance their careers to earn specialized certification as nurse midwives. These nurses care for patients through every step of childbirth, from labor through delivery.

Aside from pregnancy care and postpartum assistance, nurse midwives also aid women with general services such as preventive, gynecological, and reproductive healthcare. If you already have a bachelor of science in nursing and an RN license, a Master of Science program, or a doctor of nursing degree may help you achieve your career goals. Then, you may receive the Certified Nurse Midwife credential from the American Midwifery Certification Board.

  • Nurse Researcher

Instead of treating ailments like a traditional registered nurse, nurse researchers partake in the scientific research required to improve the healthcare system. Their responsibilities include studying various ailments and discovering their remedies in work settings, from hospitals to research laboratories.

Although they don’t require any specific certifications, they may earn the Certified Clinical Research Professional certification to boost their career.

  • Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists handle all duties regarding administering anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery. They’re also responsible for analyzing the patient’s medical history to ensure they’re receiving the right type and dose of anesthesia. Since patients have widely varying medical histories, nurses cannot administer the same type of anesthesia to everyone.

Nurses interested in pursuing this career path must have a BSN degree, an RN license, and an MSN degree specializing in nurse anesthesiology. To receive the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist credential, they must have 3,000 hours of clinical experience and a passing score on the national exams from the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Psychiatric mental health nurses are responsible for examining, identifying the problems, and treating patients with psychological disorders like addiction and substance abuse. They must maintain the mental well-being of their patients and do their best to relieve their mental stress. To become a psychiatric mental health nurse, you must have an MSN and a valid RN license to qualify for APRN licensure.

  • Infection Control/Prevention Nurse

Infection control and prevention nurses specialize in identifying, monitoring, and managing infections, diseases, and viruses. Due to understaffing in the healthcare industry, standard RNs have taken the role of infection control and prevention nurses in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, reporting and preventing widespread infection.

Suppose you want to become an infection control nurse to contribute in these trying times. In that case, you’ll need a Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology.

  • Oncology Nurse

Oncology nurses handle patients and their treatment throughout various stages of cancer, commonly specializing in geriatric cancer, pediatric cancer, breast cancer, or hematology. They’re responsible for chemotherapy administration, identification of symptoms, and progress monitoring.

Overall, they ensure that the healthcare environment is supportive and comfortable for the cancer patient. You must have an RN license and an associate or BSN degree to become an oncology nurse, along with the Oncological Certified Nurse credential, which isn’t required by all states.


Nursing is one of the essential professions in the world, with its necessity being ever-growing and timeless. Nurses who want to advance their careers for better contribution to the understaffed healthcare system can take various paths due to the profession’s versatility.

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