Nursing is a crucial part of providing healthcare, and nurses are vital for delivering high-quality, patient-centered treatment.

Although many people might assume that nurses mostly take care of patients, the truth is that the nursing profession offers a wide variety of career paths and chances to contribute to healthcare innovation and improvement. Let’s look at a few of the numerous job options for nurses.

Traditional nursing career paths

If you’re looking to become a nurse, it’s important to find a course and university that’s right for you. A hybrid ABSN course from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, for example, offers a flexible option for student nurses. By studying a nursing program at SJC online, you’ll enrich your knowledge and build your skills. Here are some traditional nursing career paths you can aim for.

  • Registered nurse (RN)

The traditional nursing job path of a registered nurse (RN) entails giving patient care and informing patients’ families about their medical conditions. RNs work in various healthcare institutions, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and schools.

An accredited diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree school in nursing is usually required to become an RN. To become licensed as an RN, participants must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) after finishing the program.

  • Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)

Registered nurses who have an advanced education and clinical training in addition to the initial training and licensing requirements for registered nurses are known as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

APRNs are qualified to provide a variety of clinical services, including the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, the ordering and interpretation of diagnostic tests, and the prescribing of medications. They are certified by their respective state boards of nursing.

  • Nurse educator

A nurse educator’s path includes teaching and training nurses at various educational levels. This position is crucial for improving the standard of nursing education and guaranteeing that aspiring nurses possess the information and abilities needed to deliver safe and efficient patient care.

To enhance nursing education, nurse educators create and implement curricula, create educational programs, assess student achievement, and conduct research.

  • Nurse administrator

The smooth, effective, and efficient operation of healthcare institutions is the responsibility of nurse administrators. Their duties are extensive, including managing budgets, ensuring adherence to rules and regulations, creating policies and procedures, hiring and teaching staff, and supervising patient care.

  • Nurse researcher

To improve patient outcomes, nurse researchers conduct data analysis. They do this by utilizing their nursing expertise and knowledge. This job path frequently involves working in academic or healthcare environments and calls for an advanced education, such as a Ph.D. in nursing or a related area.

The settings where nurse researchers operate include hospitals, governmental organizations, and for-profit research facilities. Designing and carrying out research studies, writing research reports and publications, and incorporating research findings into clinical practice are just a few of the duties of a nurse researcher.

Emerging nursing career paths

Nurses have numerous new job paths to choose from as the nursing field is constantly changing. Here are a few examples.

  • Telehealth nurse

An emerging career path is telehealth nursing, which entails using technology to deliver healthcare remotely. Patients who cannot physically visit healthcare institutions can receive patient care services from telehealth nurses. The nurses use various communication technologies, including video conferencing, remote monitoring tools, and secure messaging.

Telehealth nursing enables patients to receive medical care in the convenience of their own homes, which can be especially helpful for those who have transportation or mobility problems.

  • Informatics nurse 

An emerging area of nursing that integrates nursing science with computer science, information science, and telecommunications to support and enhance patient care is informatics nursing. The management, development, and implementation of healthcare information systems are the responsibilities of informatics nurses.

The nurses are specialists in applying information and communication technologies (ICT) to healthcare.

  • Nurse entrepreneur

Nurse entrepreneurship is a growing employment path for nurses interested in starting their businesses. Registered nurses who are also entrepreneurs use their clinical experience and nursing schooling to develop new healthcare products or services.

  • Quality improvement nurse

A new nursing career path that is becoming more well-known is the position of quality improvement nurse. Quality improvement nurses collaborate with healthcare teams to guarantee that patients receive high-quality treatment that is safe, effective, and efficient.

Part of the duties of a quality improvement nurse is to analyze healthcare data, spot areas for improvement, and put evidence-based tactics into practice to better patient outcomes. Additionally, they can train staff on these efforts and create policies and procedures that support patient safety and quality improvement.

  • Nurse advocate

An emerging nursing career, that of nurse advocate, emphasizes defending patients’ needs and rights. Nurse advocates serve as points of contact for patients and medical staff, guiding patients through the healthcare system, explaining their treatment choices, and assisting them in making decisions about their care.

How nurses contribute to healthcare innovation and improvement

Here are ways in which nurses contribute to healthcare innovation and improvement.

  • Enhancing patient care and outcomes

Nurses are essential for improving patient care and outcomes as part of the effort to innovate and enhance healthcare. Their activities raise the standard of care, boost patient security, and support patients to achieve better health outcomes.

  • Implementing new technologies and evidence-based practices

Through their adoption of cutting-edge technologies and evidence-based procedures, nurses play a crucial part in the innovation and development of healthcare. The most recent study and evidence-based nursing practices must be current. Practices such as online learning enable them to use new techniques and tools to enhance patient outcomes.

  • Collaborating with interdisciplinary teams

Nurses contribute to developing new care models, participate in quality improvement programs, identify areas for improvement, and perform research studies that improve patient outcomes by collaborating closely with other healthcare professionals.

  • Advocating for patients

To innovate and enhance healthcare, nurses must actively advocate for their patients. Nurses can help improve patient outcomes and contribute to the development of healthcare by ensuring patients’ needs and rights are met. They also find areas for improvement, involve patients in the decision-making process, and promote health education.

  • Identifying and addressing quality and safety issues

Nurses can contribute to healthcare innovation and improvement by drawing on their knowledge and experience, eventually improving patient outcomes.

  • Innovating and problem-solving

Nurses can spot areas for improvement, develop original ideas, and speak up for their patients because of their particular skills and perspectives. They can promote change and enhance patient results by collaborating with other healthcare professionals.

The impactful role of nurses in healthcare innovation and improvement

There are many job paths available to nurses that can help advance healthcare innovation and quality. Patient safety is the responsibility of nurses, who must also spot potential risks and create mitigation plans. Consider different job paths and continue to influence healthcare change.