There is no denying that nursing is a vocational degree, which will help you to develop a strong sense of professionalism, as well as growing your personal skills. These are qualities that many employers are looking for.
In this guide, we are going to take a look at the different job options that are available for anyone who has taken a nursing degree. Of course, there are specialist degrees you can take, such as doing a degree at one of the neonatal nurse practitioner schools, and this will dictate the path you go down if you do something as specific as this. Nevertheless, below, we will take a look at general nursing degrees and the doors that they can open for your career.
What are your job options if you take a nursing degree? Well, some of the jobs that are directly linked to your degree include the following:
- Physician associate
- Mental health nurse
- Adult nurse
- Children’s nurse
- Learning disability nurse
- Health visitor
- Health play specialist
- High intensity therapist
There are also a handful of jobs whereby your degree would be helpful. Some examples are as follows:
- Social worker
- Police officer
- Play therapist
- Further education teacher
- Medicinal chemist
- Health service manager
- Higher education lecturer
Of course, you do not need to restrict yourself to the jobs that have been listed. After all, there are a lot of employers that will accept applications from graduates with a degree in a broad range of subjects.
So, let’s take a look at some of these jobs in further depth…
What do adult nurses do?
An adult nurse is someone who is going to care for a range of adult patients who are suffering from a number of different medical conditions. This could be long-term and acute diseases and illnesses, or it could be minor ailments and injuries. As an adult nurse, your responsibilities will include:
- Make ethical decisions related to confidentiality and consent
- Maintain patient records
- Mentor junior and student nurses
- Organise staff and prioritise busy workloads
- Educate patients about their health
- Advocate on behalf of patients
- Reassure patients and their family members, ensuring you are good at communicating with them
- Liaise with social workers and GPs
- Plan discharges from hospital
- Respond quickly to emergencies
- Carry out routine investigations
- Assist with evaluations and tests
- Set up blood transfusions and drips
- Check and administer injections and drugs
- Observe and record the condition of your patients
- Implement plans through tasks like monitoring temperature, blood pressure and pulse, as well as wound treatment and preparing patients for operations
- Write patient care plans
- Gain the confidence and trust of all patients
What do health play specialists do?
A health play specialist is an individual that uses therapeutic play techniques to help children have a better understanding of their medical condition. You will need to plan therapeutic play programmes, and then put them into place, after which you will continue to review and evaluate them. These programs will support kids and young people developmentally and emotionally. As a health play specialist, your responsibilities will include:
- Creating a caring, safe, and welcoming environment that encourages children to take part in play activities
- Make sure all play facilities are stored, maintained, and cleaned safely
- Promote the importance of play and awareness of a child’s emotional needs while they are ill
- Support families that are under stress and advise them on how they can use play to help their children cope with the illness they have and the treatment they need to undergo
- Liaise with hospices and other health play specialists
- Share your observations and assessments with other members of the health team, including physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, and speech therapists
- Evaluate how effective play interventions are and change your plan accordingly
- Monitor each child’s progression by carrying out and documenting therapeutic assessments
- Take individual referrals for families and children that are having trouble coping
- Observe children playing either at their bedside, in the ward, or in a dedicated playroom
- Facilitate social interaction to help families and patients to make friends
- Help children reach developmental targets, relearn skills they have lost, and learn new skills by using play
- Use play to help children settle into life in hospital
- Plan and implement a selection of age appropriate art and craft, drama, and play activities
- Act as an advocate for young people and children when it comes to their interactions with the healthcare team
What do high intensity therapists do?
A high intensity therapist is someone who works with people of all backgrounds and ages who are experiencing mental health conditions. You will provide support for these people, often working with individuals experiencing moderate to severe anxiety and depression. This can include providing a wide range of cognitive behavioural therapies, including exposure therapy and imagery rescripting. As a high intensity therapist, your responsibilities will include:
- Assess a patient’s suitability for high intensity interventions
- Keep accurate records of an clinical activity and use these when making decisions
- Regularly undertake clinical supervision
- Educate and involve members of the family and other individuals close to the patient
- Provide and receive information relating to CBT and mental health to individuals or groups of professionals, members of the public, carers, relatives, and patients
- Liaise with external agencies, for example, employment support workers, employers, local authority employees, police, and housing workers
- Develop strong professional relationships with secondary and primary care staff, for example, mental health workers and general practice staff
- Attend multidisciplinary meetings about patients in treatment or referrals
- Use a range of delivery methods, for example, web-based support, telephone, and face-to-face support
- Provide high intensity interventions, for example, computerised CBT, guided self-help, and psycho-educational interventions
- Make decisions on referring unsuitable patients to other services, as well as the suitability of new referrals
- Use language that is easy to understand to react with a wide range of patients
- Evaluate the risk your patient poses to both other people an themselves
- Provide specialist advice to charities, as well as other professionals cross primary care trusts and mental health trusts
- Encourage patients to talk about their behaviour and their feelings
- Formulate patient therapy programmes and then put them into place and evaluate them
- Discuss therapy plans with patients, zoning in on the areas they wish to change
Related work experience is very important in the medical field. If you want to work in the healthcare sector, it is advisable to find work experience in a clinical environment. Not only is this important because it will increase your knowledge but it will also enable you to build your network by making vital contacts. Employers will also look at the key skills you have gained through the likes of student projects, part-time jobs, internships, and volunteering.
You will get good preparation for your career if you care for others through volunteering in a hospital or working as a healthcare assistant or care worker, for example. It is also a good idea to make visits to hospitals in your local area so that you can talk to nurses about their job role. Of course, make sure you schedule this in when the nurse in question has some time spare; you don’t want to take them away from their important job role.
What sort of skills will you add to your CV?
A degree in nursing is going to give you the platform to add a number of different technical and professional skills to your CV. This includes the ability to advise and support patients and their families, as well as being able to work efficiently as part of a multidisciplinary team. You will also be able to effectively evaluate, analyse, monitor, and assess the care that you provide.
More generally, there are a number of other personal qualities and skills that you will gain that are sought by employers across all sectors. This includes the following:
- Decision-making and problem-solving skills
- The ability to conduct research
- Tenacity and determination
- Organisation and time management
Your job opportunities will depend on where in the world you are based. After all, some countries have a public healthcare system in place and others do not. Generally, though, your options for employment are as follows:
- Private sector hospitals and clinics
- Public sector hospitals and clinics
- Private sector businesses, for example, private nursing homes and leisure cruise companies
- Armed forces and prisons
- Schools and higher education institutions
- Local authorities, i.e. working in residential and nursing homes
- Voluntary organisations
- Private sector healthcare providers that have been contracted to provide services for patients of the public healthcare system
To conclude, there is no denying that the healthcare is a good industry to get into. After all, this is an industry whereby workers are always going to be in demand. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what you can do with your degree.
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