5 Jobs You Can Get With A Ph.D. In Nursing

You don’t need an advanced degree to become a nurse. While many hospitals are now requiring RNs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you can still become an RN with an Associate Degree in Nursing, or ADN. So, why would you want to get a Ph.D. in Nursing?

A Ph.D. in Nursing is a research-focused degree; it’s a little different from the Doctor of Nursing Practice in that it focuses less on clinical practice and instead prepares the candidate for a career in education, research, or administration. At the moment, less than one percent of American nurses have a Ph.D. or DNP degree. Furthering your education through a Ph.D. in Nursing can open up doors to a career in education, research, administration, or advance practice nursing. Here are just five of the jobs that could be yours.

1. Nurse Practitioner

It’s true that you only need an MSN to become a nurse practitioner, but someday, that may change. In any case, you’ll probably need to earn an MSN before you can earn a Ph.D. in Nursing, and the degree will prepare you for a higher-level advance practice role. You’ll be qualified to lead a clinical team. If you choose to practice in one of the 16 states that allow it, you’ll be able to open your own practice, and you’ll have the administrative background to run a practice successfully. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nurse practitioners of all kinds will enjoy an extremely positive job outlook, with 31 percent job growth in this field over the next 10 years.

2. Nurse Researcher

A nurse researcher comes up with the hard data necessary to convince hospital administrators and staff that reforms and changes are necessary. One well-known nurse researcher, Linda Aiken, has shown through her work that higher nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals increase patients’ risk of death. As a nurse researcher, you’ll hold a university position, or work for a teaching hospital or other academic health care organization.

3. Nurse Educator

Nurse practitioners are in high demand, but nurse educators are even more sorely needed. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has found that nursing schools had to turn down more than 67,000 qualified potential students in the year 2010 alone, because they didn’t have enough instructors to educate them all. There are a lot of open faculty positions in nursing schools. The majority of these positions require the successful candidate to have a doctoral degree in nursing. As a nurse educator, you’ll get to train the next generation of nurses and work regular hours with weekends and holidays off.

4. Chief Nurse Anesthetist

An MSN will allow you to be a nurse anesthetist, but you’ll need a Ph.D. or a DNP in order to supervise an anesthesia team. In addition to performing many of the same tasks as any other nurse anesthetist, you’d also oversee the other anesthetists and be responsible for scheduling and organization.

5. Nursing Manager

RNs and NPs concern themselves mostly with patient care. As a nursing manager, you’d be responsible for managing a nursing staff instead. Your responsibilities would include hiring and training new employees, as well as supervising and evaluating the nurses you already have on staff. You’d deal with budgeting information and issues, and analyze reports about the quality of your hospital’s services and its patient outcomes.

A Ph.D. in Nursing can prepare you for opportunities that simply aren’t available when you only have a BSN or an MSN. For the greatest job security and the widest array of career options, you can’t go wrong with a Ph.D. This degree will leave you prepared to do any type of nursing work you set your mind to, whether it’s clinical, academic, or administrative.

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