How Do I Choose the Right Career as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)?

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are playing an increasingly vital role in today’s complicated and fast-evolving health care environment following passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Health care reform’s emphasis on preventive care, along with a national shortage of primary care physicians, has increased the demand for APRNs throughout every sector of the healthcare industry. Schools such as Widener University, offer an Online RN-BSN program as a necessary educational stepping stone to prepare candidates for this challenging career. Such programs cover not only essential skills, but address key issues that nurse’s face daily.

APRNs are nationally certified registered nurses who have completed masters or doctoral programs, and have advanced clinical preparation in primary care or a specialty area. These highly educated nursing professionals provide care from diagnosing and treating medical conditions using evidence-based practices to prescribing medications, providing health education, and promoting disease prevention. They can work independently or as part of an interprofessional healthcare team.

Here are five reasons for choosing a career as an advanced practice registered nurse:

1. Greater earning power
Nurses who hold a master’s degree can move into higher-paying jobs that provide clinical care or management positions such as nurse executives, managers or clinical leaders. In 2014, the mean income for an APRN was $109,352 a year, compared to an annual income of $68,910 for a registered nurse, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2. More job opportunities
Job opportunities for APRNs are plentiful throughout many health care settings. Employment of APRNs is expected to grow 31% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations nationwide, according to federal data. APRNs provide direct patient care at hospitals, nursing homes, community clinics, retail clinics, urgent care centers, worksite employee health centers, school-based clinics, among others. Also, they work for pharmaceutical manufacturers, perform health care research, teach at schools and universities and serve in government agencies such as public health departments.

3. Interprofessional health care team
Many medical practices are adopting a new model of health care with a team of health care professionals including doctors, APRNs, registered nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dieticians, behavioral health professionals and others to provide patients with comprehensive care. APRNs often play an integral role in these multi-disciplinary practices.

4. Specialized patient care
APRNs can pursue their passion for a specialty. APRNs care for patients from adolescents to older adults in wellness and acute care settings, including primary care offices, emergency departments and critical care environments. The nation’s growing segment of older adults -- people 70 and older -- has led to increasing demand for health care providers who understand the unique health needs of the elderly.

5. Become a leader
APRNs develop keen communication and critical thinking skills to serve as leaders, mentors and educators in healthcare and in health system settings. The RN-BSN degree program at Widener University, for example, prepares nurses to deliver high-quality patient care in complex health care environments.

The curriculum is offered fully online and focuses on developing managerial skills and improving health outcomes for patients and communities. The program is a flexible and affordable option for students looking to advance their careers while balancing work and family life.

To learn more about Widener University’s Online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program, call (844) 386-7321 or complete the request more information form and a Program Manager will contact you right away.