Career Advice

BSN Career Options for You to Consider

How do you imagine your future? - Nurse in red scrubs

When you think about your future as a nurse, what do you see? Perhaps you’re working with physicians and medical technicians to stabilize wounded patients in the emergency room. Or, maybe you’re providing direct health care services to at-risk populations out in the community. Whatever you anticipate, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can help make your vision a reality.

In addition to providing you with ample opportunity, a BSN will give you the advantage to change and adapt your nursing career as you go. Yet, with so many BSN career options out there, how do you find one to fit your nursing career goals? It would help to know what to choose from, first.

Read on to discover a handful of BSN career options, both inside and outside of the hospital, and find out how the University of St. Thomas Houston’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program can help you get started.

BSN Career Options Inside the Hospital

Medical-Surgical Nurse

nurse in red scrubs wearing medical mask

The medical-surgical nursing profession has advanced from an entry-level job to a unique comprehensive specialty. Currently, these types of nurses are the most common among all nurse specialties, making up almost one-sixth of the entire nursing profession. Understanding the specialty itself can be difficult to define in specific terms. These three Bs may help paint a better picture:

  1. Med-surg nursing is broad; it covers a vast patient base and its nurses provide an extensive spectrum of care.
  2. Med-surg nursing is brimming; it allows you to develop deep relationships with patients and families, and grants you the ability to contribute to your patients’ comfort and recovery.
  3. Med-surg nursing is busy; as a med-surg nurse, you can expect to manage five to seven patients at a time.

Med-surg nurses can be found working in hospitals, surgical centers, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient care units and other healthcare settings.

Qualities Needed:

  • Patience
  • Vast clinical knowledge
  • High-level critical thinking skills

Labor and Delivery Nurse

This type of registered nurse cares for women and babies at all stages of childbirth. Working alongside physicians, midwives and other professionals, L&D nurses provide information, guidance and hands-on clinical care. Additional duties include monitoring the mother’s vital signs, entering data into digital medical record systems, working holistically with families to answer all questions and providing a warm point of contact and more.

L&D nurses build strong connections with patients. While they generally work 12-hour shifts, it’s not uncommon for them to stay past their shift change just to be there when the baby is born. L&D nurses can be found working in hospitals as staff nurses on a labor and delivery or women’s health unit.

Qualities Needed:

  • Agility (because things change quickly)
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Good communication skills

Emergency Room Nurse

nurse in surgical gown helping patient in hospital bed

If you like fast-paced action, the unexpected and making a positive impact in the lives of patients, then emergency room nursing may be for you. Serving on the frontline of triage and treatment for patients, ER nurses see it all — from mild colds to heart attacks to strokes, gunshot wounds and more.

They also appreciate a challenge and are expected to adapt quickly in any given situation. Duties of an ER nurse cover a lot of ground, but include taking vital signs, administering medication(s), charting and monitoring patients. ER nurses can be found working in regional trauma centers or emergency departments within smaller hospital systems.

Qualities Needed:

  • Calm under pressure
  • Multitasking
  • Listening
  • Giving direction

BSN Career Options Beyond the Bedside

Public Health Nurse

If you’re passionate about education, advocacy and activism, public health nursing may be something to consider. As opposed to treating one person at a time, public health nurses care for entire populations and communities. In fact, right now, PHNs are on the frontline of the public health crisis the world now knows as the COVID-19 pandemic. They educate on self-isolation and quarantine through home visits and hotlines, and clarify the rapidly shifting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

PHNs can work in many different settings, including health departments, homes, schools, community health settings, clinics or mobile units.

Qualities Needed:

  • Project management skills
  • People skills
  • Problem-solving skills

School Nurse

Piggybacking off public health, school nursing is very similar and has a lot to offer. According to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), school nurses protect and promote student health in a variety of ways. From administering wound care to injured students to providing families education about nutrition and exercise, to setting school health policies, school nurses have many responsibilities.

School nurses mostly work in the educational setting. You can find them in public or private elementary schools, middle schools or high schools. You can also find them in juvenile correction facilities or at vocational schools.

In addition to earning a BSN degree and passing the NCLEX, to become a school nurse, you must also obtain specialized professional certification.

Qualities Needed:

  • Leadership
  • Patience
  • Detail-oriented

Travel Nurse

If you’re looking for a flexible work environment and enjoy traveling, becoming a travel nurse may be a great way to utilize your BSN. At any given moment, hospitals and other healthcare facilities can experience gaps in their workforce due to lengthy absences, staff training, shortages and more. This is where travel nurses come into play.

Travel nurses can work anytime, anywhere! Their job placements can range anywhere from four to 13 weeks or one to two years, if working internationally. Best of all, according to Johnson & Johnson, many nursing companies offer higher salaries and a full array of benefits; this includes 401(k) saving plans, clinical support and continuing education.

Qualities Needed:

  • Professionalism
  • Adaptability
  • Organizational skills

Getting Started on Your ABSN

As you can see, there are a variety of ABSN career options for you to consider (the opportunities listed above only scratch the surface.) Whether you choose to work in a traditional nursing setting or beyond the bedside, University of St. Thomas Houston’s Accelerated BSN program can help you get there in 12 months.

Through online coursework, hands-on labs and in-hospital clinical experiences inside top area hospitals, you can leverage your previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn your ABSN. Contact our admissions team to find out how you can get started.

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