Career Progression Options in Nursing

Career Progression Options in Nursing

Nursing is a vast industry with numerous opportunities for growth and career progression. Although the various areas of specialization may appear similar, they suit different personalities. Some nurses may prefer administrative roles, while others wish to remain in hospitals and care for patients. The bottom line is that you can choose a path that offers you job satisfaction and aligns with your goals.

If you want to advance your nursing career, here are some career options to consider.

1. Clinical researchers

Most academic nurses find fulfillment in developing innovative ways to advance the field. Clinical research is an essential part of healthcare because the results of experiments and trials are used in developing new treatments and therapies for patients. These researchers also guide student nurses in clinical practices to ensure the standard safety guidelines are followed.

2. In-home care

Some patients cannot leave their homes because of the nature of their ailment. However, they deserve access to the same quality care they would receive in a hospital. Home care nurses visit patients at home and oversee their treatment from start to finish. This includes administering treatment, monitoring vital signs and offering medical advice when necessary. In-home nurses can work with a single or a small group of patients within a given period. While this may sound like an easier task compared to working in conventional hospitals, it is not without its challenges. Nurses must also manage their mental health while working with short-term patients.

3. Insurance nursing

Insurers often ask customers to undergo health screenings to ascertain their health status before providing insurance services to them. Although doctors can do this job, many insurance companies employ insurance nurses to carry out these assessments. For those nurses who do not want to work in a traditional healthcare setting, the insurance field is worth exploring.

4. Surgical nursing

A surgical nurse is the closest healthcare professional to a doctor during surgery. Working in this field requires special training because of the critical role nurses play in the operating room. In addition to providing assistance, nurses ensure that the medical staff in the operating room adequately care for the patient.

An operating room nurse may sterilize the tools needed for the procedure, clean the operating room before and after surgery, and assist surgical staff during the procedure. They may be held accountable should anything go wrong, so they must leave nothing to chance.

5. DNP

If you look forward to boosting your training and experience in the healthcare sector and taking on leadership roles, you might consider becoming a Doctor of Nursing Practitioner (DNP). DNP programs include instruction on pharmacology, advanced health assessments, pathophysiology, and other topics related to nursing practice. As a DNP, you can extend your professional experience to the following areas:

  • Nursing administrator – Nursing administrators lead workgroups and departments that provide health services. They also influence and execute health policies by bringing their industry knowledge to the fore.
  • Director of nursing – Nursing directors are responsible for managing day-to-day activities in the nursing department and the health facility they manage. They also collaborate with other health professionals and departments outside the health sector as needed.
  • Nurse educator – In addition to preparing new nurses for the profession, nurse educators promote innovation in the nursing practice. They use their nursing and clinical practice experience to improve the profession.
  • Executive nurse leadership – Nurses with a DNP in executive leadership possess knowledge and competencies in influential leadership, transformative care models, and data-driven business strategy. Degree courses like the online DNP from Baylor University allow nurses to develop advanced business leadership skills to transform their workplace and earn promotions.

Career progression tips for nurses

You may not realize just how many career opportunities exist in nursing until you explore them. If you find yourself stuck in a career you’re not comfortable with, it could be time to make a change. You don’t have to wait for opportunities to come to you when you pursue them proactively.

Here are some tips for progressing your nursing career:

1. Arrange an informal visit

It can be exciting to discover a career path that excites you, but resist the urge to immediately resign from your present job to pursue it. Instead, arrange an informal visit with someone working in your prospective field and get a better idea of how it functions and whether the working environment is ideal for you.

2. Volunteer

After learning more about your new career path and confirming that it appeals to you, you can volunteer in the field during your free time. Working as a volunteer helps you learn the basics of the job and form relationships with professionals in the field. Volunteering is also a great way to determine if you are suited for your desired new career path.

3. Know the job market

After deciding on a new field, research whether it is in high demand to get an idea of how long it may take you to find a job and whether you can handle the wait from a financial standpoint. You should also research the experience needed to get into the field. Speak to employers and recruitment agencies about your choice and listen to their advice. 


Nursing is a highly versatile profession that allows individuals to move easily from one job role to another. It is also suited to those seeking to change careers. If you are considering working in this in-demand field, you will find plenty of job opportunities.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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