There are a lot of other areas you can explore once you earn a nursing degree. Depending on where you start off, you may find that you need to go back to school, although people with a BSN can do a lot more since they already have a bachelor’s. In other cases you can make a lateral move, especially if you already have substantial experience in nursing. And if you have a good relationship with your employer you may, for example, be able to move from being a hospital nurse to being an office administrator in that same hospital with some simple on-the-job training. Of course the goal is that you love your original career forever, but it doesn’t always happen that way. If you decide you want to move in a different direction, you could consider working in management, becoming a researcher, or even teaching others about nursing.
You’ll already be trained to take care of some administrative duties, like keeping track of medical records, after studying to become a nurse, but you’ll still deal mostly with the medical, hands-on side of the industry. If you decide you are more interested in the administrative side of things, you might make the switch and start off as a medical assistant or medical record technician. You might review patient records, organize data, track patient outcomes, and protect health information. You’ll also do general administrative tasks like filing and answering phones. Or you could work as a billing and coding specialist or as a medical transcriptionist. Eventually, you could work your way up to being a medical office manager. People in this position plan, direct, and coordinate services in hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians’ offices. You may, however, have to earn a bachelor’s degree to be a healthcare executive.
If you decide you love school and want to go back, you could get a PhD and become a medical scientist. These scientists conduct research related to a lot of the diseases and ailments you will have experience with as a nurse. They help plan and direct studies, prepare medical samples, and prepare grant proposals for funding. The goal of their research is to find ways to improve human health. And if you love research but don’t want to spend years in school to get a doctoral degree, fear not. A lot of people become research assistants and work alongside these high-level scientists on their studies. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to become research assistants while they are studying at an undergraduate level, so you could participate even if you’re working toward a bachelor’s degree.
What did you think of the people who taught you about nursing? If you want to spread your knowledge to others, you might think about becoming a teacher. A lot of postsecondary professors also have their PhD, but it’s not always a requirement, especially if you’re teaching at a community college or vocational school. In such cases, you’d probably be instructing people who are preparing to become LPNs, rather than those who are enrolled in a four-year institution.