Plan Your Nursing Career Today: A Guide for Success

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Nursing is an excellent career path for those that believe healthcare should put the patient first. Doctors and physicians absolutely care about patients, but their priority will be on the medical side of care, whereas nurses put the patient at the forefront of their efforts. Without nurses, the entire healthcare sector would collapse, and with so many great new advanced roles out there, it can even be a great choice for those who are looking for high-paying roles.

Before you can make any advancement in your nursing career, however, you will need education, training, and licensing. While this means it can take over a decade to reach your goals, it also makes reaching said goals far more straightforward.

With this guide, you’ll know what steps to take and how to get started for a thriving career as a nurse.

Tips for Choosing the Right Degrees

You need to ensure that the degree and the institution will support you through your goal. You will also need to ensure that the degree you choose will qualify you for the job you want. Where you apply will also matter, depending on where you are located. That is why before you get started with your nursing career, one of the top considerations you need to make is where you want to work. Rules change by state, so relocate if necessary in advance. If you are in a state that is a current member of the eNLC, however, you will have more options. You could, for example, apply to any of the highly-rated Texas Woman’s University online nursing programs if you are a nurse working in one of the 30 eNLC states.


The first big credential you will need is either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). If you have aspirations beyond being an RN, you will want a BSN degree eventually, though you don’t necessarily need to go for it immediately. You could, for example, earn your associate’s degree first, become an RN, and then earn your BSN (and fast-track through by transferring your credits).

Otherwise, there are several options to earn your BSN. Choose the one for you based on your needs and budget.


In order to become an APRN, you will need to earn a master’s degree in nursing. One of the reasons why it is so important to really shadow and try new things as an RN is that APRN roles are specialized, and to be eligible for those specialized roles, you will need a specific MSN. By taking the time to understand what you want out of your career and exploring your options as an RN, you can more effectively choose the right degree for yourself later on.

For most, you will want to find a degree that allows you to work while you study. Thanks to the rise in online education this is now the norm, so you won’t have a problem finding a great program.


The highest level of education you can earn as a nurse is a doctorate. If you want to work with patients, you will want to earn a DNP. If you want to teach or go into research, however, consider a PhD or an EdD.