Before registered nurses (R.N.s) go back to school to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree, they should consider the career paths open to graduates of online R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs. Once they attain a bachelor’s degree, these licensed and experienced nurses can expand their career opportunities and find work in just about any facility or industry that employs R.N.s as well as moving into roles in nursing research, teaching, consulting and administration.
Hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, according to U.S. News & World Report. In fact, state, local and private hospitals combined account for 61 percent of all registered nursing jobs in America, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. Hospitals are also the type of employer most likely to require R.N. candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, according to the BLS.
2. Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
A position in a nursing or residential care facility is another career path open to graduates of online R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs. About seven percent of R.N.s find work in this setting, the BLS reported. When you work in a nursing or residential care facility, you’re often working with long-term residents of the facility, including the elderly, and you get the chance to really get to know your patients.
3. Doctor’s Offices
Another of the career paths open to graduates of online R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs is working in a physician’s office. Seven percent of nurses work in this kind of setting, according to the BLS. One of the biggest differences between working at a doctor’s office and working at a hospital or residential care facility is the work schedule. While hospitals and nursing homes provide round-the-clock care and must have nurses on staff at all hours of the day and night, nurses in physician’s offices are able to work normal business hours and enjoy a more regular schedule.
4. Home Healthcare Services
Some registered nurses travel to patients’ homes to provide care. About six percent of R.N.s work in home healthcare services, according to the BLS. Nurses who work in home healthcare services interact one-on-one with patients and often get to know their families, as well.
5. Government Entities, Schools and Community Centers
Some career paths open to graduates of online R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs are more unexpected than working at a hospital or nursing home. Registered nurses who work in government entities and community centers may focus more on public health than on providing clinical nursing care. Their job duties often include teaching the public about the symptoms of diseases and medical conditions or educating patients on ways to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, the BLS reported. Of course, school nurses care for students with health problems, though they may also educate students on health issues.
While all registered nurses need to develop fundamental skills of caring for patients, the work that you do as an R.N. can vary a great deal based on your work environment. With so many career paths open to graduates of online R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs, there are plenty of options to choose from.