Nurses are the lifeblood of any healthcare system. They are the first-line support that bridges the gap between doctors and patients. Their support is vital to foster a healthy patient-doctor bond, and their duties are ever-evolving.
They play an essential role in the delivery and transformation of the healthcare system worldwide. Therefore, it is highly important for them to elevate their skills by pursuing higher education.
Higher education enables nurses to better understand the complex healthcare system, develop advanced clinical skills, and prepare for leadership roles. With the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, nurses need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to meet the changing needs of patients and the healthcare industry.
Furthermore, advancing education comes with many invaluable perks, which we will discuss in this article.
So, without further ado, let’s get straight to it.
As we know, with a higher power comes higher autonomy. In nursing, autonomy refers to the ability of a nurse to make decisions and judgments about the practice setting and patient care. Unlike registered nurses, many NPs or nurse practitioners are not required to work under physicians’ or doctors’ supervision. In fact, in many states, nurse practitioners are allowed to work independently.
With the availability of various MSN nursing programs online, NPs can enrol in higher education programs without taking a break from work. Furthermore, due to this opportunity for advanced education, many NPs have started private practices where they can run tests, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and administer primary treatments without any restrictions or obligations.
In other words, nurses with higher education are considered fully skilled to apply their expert clinical judgment and experience. They can exercise their profession and skills without barriers, positively influencing healthcare.
Nurses must abide by a highly rigid set of rules related to their working hours. There is almost no room or margin for error while performing their duties.
This is particularly true for nurses who work in emergency units where the condition of patients is highly reliant on prompt medical care and nursing. However, nursing practitioners get greater flexibility when it comes to working hours. It is because their duties are mainly related to the desk-based nature of managerial roles.
When NPs work in this role, they focus on catering to the nursing staff more than patient care. They get this flexibility because it is essential to ensure the nursing staff operates smoothly as individuals and as a team to provide the utmost patient care.
Today, nursing is an in-demand and stable career as the industry grows every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for nurses are predicted to rise by almost 52% between 2020–2030. This is a considerably higher number than other professions.
Moreover, nurses pursuing higher education are more eligible for more substantial roles and advanced medical positions. Naturally, this means substantial financial growth and more income. Since NPs provide secondary and primary care to patients, they must be adequately compensated, unlike registered nurses.
Also, nurse practitioners can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and nursing homes. This versatility allows them to negotiate higher salaries and packages based on their speciality, location, and years of experience. Overall, the increased demand and specialized skills of NPs have made them valuable assets to healthcare teams, and their salaries reflect this importance.
Better employment opportunities
Higher education enhances nurses’ career advancement opportunities. Employers often prefer nurses with higher degrees as they have advanced knowledge and skills to improve patient outcomes, reduce medical errors, and increase patient satisfaction.
Nurses with higher degrees can work in various specialities, such as critical care, neonatal, paediatrics, oncology, and geriatrics. They can also advance to leadership positions, such as nurse managers, clinical educators, and nurse executives. These positions offer higher salaries, better benefits, and more professional development opportunities.
Moreover, higher education is crucial for nurses who want to pursue research or academic careers. Nurses with doctoral degrees, such as Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD), can conduct research studies that aim to improve patient care and develop new nursing theories. They can also teach nursing students and share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of nurses.
Grow as a leader
Often, nurses are required to supervise patient safety. They are the main point of contact between the family members and their loved ones receiving care. They stay beside their patients throughout the treatment period and observe their efficacy.
In other words, nurses take up various leadership roles throughout their careers. They provide patient care, serve on committees, participate in initiatives, and participate in research projects. In fact, part of their career growth as a leader relies on their pursuit of higher education.
Moreover, they become qualified to apply for different leadership roles and are no longer required to limit themselves to a clinical setting. They can even work at universities and colleges as educators and can guide, mentor, assist in establishing advanced curriculums and support the upcoming generation of nurses.
Better patient care
Many research works now link nurse practitioners with generally fewer medication errors, more positive patient outcomes, higher diagnostic proficiency, and lower mortality rates. In other words, higher education among nurses has been proven to open avenues to quality services.
It helps broaden competency in healthcare financing, systems thinking, public health, community health, and quality care. All these classes help nurses develop their skills through technology and data analysis. Thus, for nurses to have a competitive advantage in their careers, they must pursue programs that prepare them to take up roles in primary care, acute care, long-term care, and speciality practices.
Higher education is essential for nurses to provide high-quality patient care, advance their careers, and contribute to the nursing profession’s development. Nurses must continuously update their knowledge and skills through higher education programs to meet evolving healthcare needs and improve patient outcomes.
It helps them stay better prepared to meet the diverse needs of patients and adapt to a high-tech environment. Eventually, it helps them earn more leadership roles with full autonomy and better financial growth.
In short, investing in higher education for nurses is a wise decision that benefits healthcare organisations, patients, and the nursing profession as a whole.
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.