Continued Learning in Nursing: The Critical Role of Further Education and Certifications

Contrary to what many in the public believe, nursing is a broad field with a wide variety of career options and immense room to grow. When it comes to advancing as a nurse, education plays a critical role in bolstering nurses’ skills and qualifying them for new exciting roles.

This being the case, veteran nurses, aspiring nurses, and those eyeing nursing as a second career alike should be aware of the ways that furthering one’s education can set them up for nursing success.

Here is the critical role of further education and certifications in nursing.

Eyeing Advanced Nursing Roles

For many registered nurses, stepping into an advanced nursing role is a career goal that’s always looming on the horizon. Some popular advanced nursing roles that many aspire to include:

Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners are advanced nurses who have greater autonomy and responsibility than their registered nurse counterparts. These professionals can specialize in a variety of different areas such as gerontology and women’s health with many specializing in family care. In many cases, nurse practitioners can act as primary care providers to patients and often cultivate years-long relationships with them.

Travel Nurse: Travel nurses are advanced nurses who are trained to step into new facilities and offer nursing teams help. In a time when nursing shortages are on the rise, these amazing professionals are steadily rising in demand. The duration of travel nurse contracts can range from anywhere from a few weeks to several months. These professionals are offered a premium for their services because they must travel on short notice and reside in a new city.

Nurse Educator: Nurse educators play a vital role in the nursing and healthcare ecosystem. Essentially, these professionals are responsible for training future nurses and imbuing them with all of the skills they need to thrive as healthcare professionals. To be a great nurse educator, nurses must have several years of experience working as an RN, a wealth of technical knowledge, and great leadership skills.

Nurse Anesthetist: Nurse anesthetists are advanced healthcare professionals responsible for administering anesthesia and aiding other professionals in their duties. Often, these professionals work with dentists and various types of surgeons. Nurse anesthetists have specialized skill sets that allow them to successfully administer anesthesia without harming patients.

Educational Options for Nurses Looking to Advance Their Careers

While many nurses are certain they want to pursue advanced positions, many are unaware of which educational path is right for their unique goals. This being the case, any nurse can benefit from understanding what educational options are available to them.

Here are some great educational paths nurses should consider if they’re intent on stepping into an advanced nursing role.

Advanced Degrees

There are a variety of advanced degrees that nurses can pursue. Which one nurses should pursue will depend on their specific career goals.

Some amazing advanced nursing degrees include:

Master of Science in Nursing: An MSN is a master-level degree that can prepare nurses for a wide variety of advanced roles. While a doctorate can make one more qualified for advanced roles, many are hired into these roles with an MSN and several years of nursing experience.

Doctor of Nursing Practice: A DNP is a doctorate-level degree that can prepare nurses for a wide variety of advanced careers. Many nurse educators and nurse practitioners obtain this degree before stepping into their laudable roles.


As has been noted, there are a wide variety of nursing specialties that nurses can pursue. In these cases, certifications play a key role in preparing and qualifying registered nurses to step into new careers.

Some amazing nursing certifications include:

• Hospice nursing certification

• Nursing informatics certification

• Ambulatory care nursing certification

• Psychiatric nursing certification

Ultimately, there are a wide variety of different types of certifications that nurses can pursue to advance their careers. Determining which roles one would like to step into can help one figure out which nursing certification is right for them.

Nurses Should Never Stop Learning

Nurses have an abundance of career opportunities at their disposal. From stepping into roles that are more lucrative to stepping into roles that offer more autonomy, there is no shortage of advanced options for these admirable healthcare professionals. As the demand for advanced nurses continues to grow, many in the healthcare space are hopeful that nurses will continue their education and qualify themselves for amazing new healthcare careers.

Andrew Deen