A Nurse’s Story: A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Career in Nursing

October 17, 2017   |   Nurses


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses will increase due to:

  • Large aging population of baby-boomers
  • Federal health insurance reform
  • Ability of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to complete many of the same duties as physicians at a more competitive wage



While you can apply for state licensure with your ADN or Nursing Certificate, complete your BSN if you want to maximize your earning potential and your mobility within your industry. Advanced degrees only sharpen your competitive edge.

  • BSN: $80,000-$175,000+ (Tuition, fees, room and board)
  • RN to BSN: $12,000- $26,000+
  • MSN: $35,000 – $60,000+
  • DNP: $30,000+


Getting your MSN can take up to two years. Before you can enroll you need:

  • Your BSN
  • Your RN license
  • Minimum GPA and GRE scores (varies by program)
  • Clinical experience (varies by program)




ALL CAN GO INTO INDEPENDENT PRACTICE EXCEPT CRNA! However, some CRNAs do work as independent contractors.

  • NURSE PRACTITIONER (NP): Locum Tenens (temporary work assignments across the nation), Telemedicine, Clinical Editor (write, edit, and peer-review content), Continuing Medical/Continuing Nursing Education Writer, Education Consultant (career coaching and curriculum development), Online Professor, Tech Start-up Advisor, Legal NP Consultant, Medical Aesthetics, Foreign Health Practitioner (hired by the U.S. Department of State to provide patient care around the world)
  • CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST (CNS): A CNS provides guidance to staff while improving efficiency in the workplace. Clinical Nurse Specialists choose to concentrate on treating illness with a focus on one of the following areas of expertise:
    – Patients and their Families
    – Nurse Management
    – Administration
    – Clinical Practitioner
    – Educator
    – Practice Administrator
    – Researcher
    – OR
    – Pain Management Clinics
    – Physicians Offices
    – Ambulatory Surgery Centers


  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): By far, the most common doctoral path. Higher-level leadership and education roles – may work as a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Nurse administrator, Director of government policy, Clinical research director, Clinical teaching position
  • Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc): Being discontinued in favor of the modern PhD programs. Academic doctorate degree with a focus on research and theory- Recognized by the National Science Foundation and United States Department of Education as the equivalent of a PhD in nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Philosophy (PhD): Research-focused doctoral degree- may work as nursing faculty, nursing professor, director of public or private research, director of program development in a clinical setting, Head of Policy in a public institution or private think tank

Doctoral Settings:

  • Independent Practice
  • Management of a Physician’s Office
  • Hospitals: Conduct research to create new policies and improve patient health care services and experience
  • Public Health Offices: Influence policymakers and health officials; assist in the development of research-based solutions to public health issues
  • Research Facilities: Conducting research on health issues and working to find cures for the health issues of today

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