Congratulations, you just completed years and years of arduous schooling to earn your nursing qualification! Choosing a career path with the ability to impact lives through meaningful connections directly is an admirable decision, but also a challenging one. After dedicating what seems like a lifetime to hitting the books and spending long, stressful nights in the library and it has finally paid off. Now what? What is the next step?
You are at the exciting point in your career where you can look ahead to a world of incredible opportunities in the nursing field, but it is normal to feel overwhelmed or confused when thinking of what path is right for you. There are four main career tracks that you can pursue: nursing management, nursing education, clinical nursing, and nursing research.
1. Nursing Management
If you are a natural leader who enjoys order and continually strives for improvement and development, a career in nursing management may be for you. Managers deal with the administrative face of nursing and their responsibilities and roles, depending on seniority, include:
● Reviewing policy
● Performing job evaluations
● Recruiting and resourcing workforce
● Planning for development in job performance
● Evaluating, understanding, and boosting retention
There is a lot of room for growth within nursing management. The entry-level position of this field is a nurse manager position. With hard work, a promotion will ensue as follows: Senior Nurse Manager, Assistant Director of Management, Deputy Director of Management, and finally Director of Nursing.
2. Nursing Education
The nursing education track revolves around being a resource to give back to and shape future generations of nurses by passing on knowledge about updated, current nursing programs and curriculum. This track differs based on the setting one prefers to work within. As a nurse educator, you can choose to either work in a healthcare institution or an academic institution.
Educators in a healthcare setting have the following responsibilities:
● Managing the training and development of nurses
● Planning, delivering and evaluating nursing programs and courses
In a healthcare institution, you will enter the field as a nurse educator, but you can climb the leadership chain to become a Senior Nurse Educator followed by the Assistant Director of Education, Deputy Director of Education, and finally even the Director of Nursing.
On the other hand, those who pursue an academic setting for nursing education can expect to perform the following roles:
● Planning, designing, and evaluating curriculum and teaching methods
● Creating and distributing examinations
● Educating students through lessons and tutorials
You can start as a lecturer and work your way up to be a Senior Lecturer, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor until you become a full-fledged professor at an established university.
3. Clinical Nursing
When you think of the nurses that are shown through the media, you are probably envisioning a clinical nurse. Nurse clinicians interact with patients and other healthcare staff on a one-on-one basis to execute the following responsibilities:
● Manage illnesses that are both acute and chronic
● Understand patients’ needs to plan and implement treatment
● Educate clients about their health
● Evaluate if treatment is effective in serving patients’ needs
● Help to train nurses and other healthcare staff
● Guarantee that care is executed according to correct procedures and guidelines
A nurse who enters a clinical setting will begin as a nurse clinician and work towards titles of Senior Nurse Clinician, Advanced Practice Nurse or Assistant Clinical Director, and Clinical Deputy Director until they reach the top of the chain as the Director of Nursing.
The Singapore Nursing Board has drafted a set of four core competencies expected from registered nurses to ensure their roles are appropriately practiced and ethically.
4. Nursing Research
Nursing research is the final track to consider for a career in nursing. Those who are analytical and inquisitive will succeed in this behind the scenes practice. Research has a significant influence on current and future methods of nursing through making milestone changes in the field. General roles of a researcher include:
● Initiating and evaluating nursing research
● Facilitating and aiding in research efforts of nurses and other healthcare professionals
Nurse Researcher is the starting title of someone pursuing this track, but over time you can become a Senior Nurse Researcher, Assistant Research Director, Deputy Research Director, and finally the Director of Nursing.
If you are looking for a profession that you can grow with and stay busy in, nursing is it. Nursing is a rewarding and challenging career, and with so many career tracks to choose from, the future is filled with endless opportunities to make your mark. CaregiverAsia offers an alternative path to nursing through flexible scheduling and independent work with careseekers.
For more information of the responsibilities expected from nurses in Singapore, familiarize yourself with the Singapore Nursing Board Nursing Guidelines and Standards.
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