Career Advice

What You Can Do With a BSN: 10 Career Paths

With a BSN, you can work as a nurse in a variety of different roles and settings. Registered nurses can be travel nurses in different locales or school nurses who treat students. They can even be forensic nurses, who work with victims of violent crimes.

Nurse putting Band-Aid on child patient

If you’ve ever wondered, “What can I do with a BSN,” now is the time to find out. Perhaps you’ll work with physicians and medical technicians to stabilize wounded patients in the emergency room. Or, maybe you’re providing direct healthcare services to at-risk populations out in the community. Whatever your nursing future holds, 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 will help to first know what you can choose from.

Read on to discover 10 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.

1. Medical-Surgical Nurse

The medical-surgical nursing profession has advanced from an entry-level job to a unique comprehensive specialty. 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 it 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 for this position:

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

2. 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, 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 for this position:

  • Agility (because things change quickly)
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Good communication skills
nurse in red scrubs wearing medical mask

3. Emergency Room Nurse

If you like working in a fast-paced environment, handling unexpected events and making a positive impact in the lives of patients, emergency room nursing may be for you. Serving on the frontline of triage and treatment for patients, ER nurses see it all — including mild colds, heart attacks, 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 they 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 for this position:

  • Calm under pressure
  • Multitasking skills
  • Listening skills
  • Leadership

4. 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 they 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 and mobile units.

Qualities needed for this position:

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

5. 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 for this position:

  • Professionalism
  • Adaptability
  • Organizational skills

6. Forensics Nurse

Forensic nurses provide compassionate and specialized treatment for patients who are suffering from the health effects of trauma or violence.

These nurses provide consulting and testimony in civil and criminal cases. They also weigh in on things like injuries sustained and how they may have happened, what care a survivor was provided and what that care may have indicated regarding the case. Forensic nursing care is not separate from other types of medical treatment; rather, it is integrated into each patient’s total care needs.

nursing science students looking at lab materials

Qualities needed for this position:

  • Empathy
  • Attention to detail
  • Comfort with public speaking

7. Legal Nurse Consultant

Legal nurse consultants assist attorneys with informed advice and applying a medical perspective to cases.

With deep roots in clinical nursing practice, these nurses apply the nursing process to analyzing relevant, complicated material in legal matters. Legal nurse consultants play an important role in bridging the gap between the legal system, medical research and patient outcomes.

Legal nurse consultants have the flexibility to work at independent consulting businesses, insurance corporations and law firms.

Qualities needed for this position:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to recall information and details
  • Organization

8. Plastic Surgery Nurse

Plastic surgery nurses provide pre- and post-operative care for patients who are undergoing cosmetic surgery treatments including:

  • Liposuction
  • Breast augmentation, reduction and reconstruction
  • Body contouring/lifts
  • Abdominoplasty
  • Face or neck lift
  • Transplantation of hair
  • Procedures for gender reassignment

Qualities needed for this position:

  • Great bedside manner
  • People skills
  • Quick thinking

9. School Nurse

As you probably remember from growing up, school nurses take care of students who become ill or injured during the school day or while participating in after-school activities. School nurses oversee the evaluation of these students and determination of whether they can be treated at school or need to see a doctor.

Qualities needed for this position:

  • Ability to work with children and parents
  • Communication skills
  • Empathy

10. Telehealth Nurse

Telehealth nursing has grown in popularity recently and it’s no wonder why. With a telehealth visit, patients can video call with a nurse and doctor to receive routine treatment. One obvious advantage of not meeting in person is to remain safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however the service is also helpful to those in rural communities who may have trouble driving out to a hospital or practice for treatment.

Qualities needed for this position:

  • Ability to use technology comfortably
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability

Getting Started On Your ABSN

So, what can you do with a BSN? There’s only one way to find out, and the University of St. Thomas Houston’s Accelerated BSN program can help you get there in as few as 12 months.

ABSN student in lab

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.

Start Today

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