Careers for Nurses with Bachelor’s Degrees

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Nurses who have a bachelor’s degree have more options available to them when choosing a nursing specialty. One reason for this is the more rigorous education a bachelor’s degree offers, creating a stronger foundation for a nurse’s career.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports baccalaureate-prepared nurses are better able to handle more complex duties, such as supervising staff, teaching patients and coordinating a comprehensive plan of care for patients.

Adding to this is the growing trend of hospitals requiring RNs to have a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for hire. It seems the bachelor’s degree has become the new prerequisite for a nursing career.

Here are some nursing specialties to consider pursuing once you’re earned your bachelor’s degree.

Occupational Health NurseOccupational health nurse

As an occupational health nurse, you’ll help make work a healthier place. Occupational health nurses ensure health and safety standards are met in a work setting, whether it’s an office, factory or hospital.

Job duties for an occupational health nurse include:

  • Developing safety and emergency preparedness programs
  • Documenting and treating employee injuries
  • Appraising work environments for ergonomics
  • Promoting employee wellness and fitness with training programs

Nurses in occupational health also educate employers and employees on how to prevent accidents and injuries. They may suggest changes in procedures or develop other ways to make workplaces safer. These nurses are an asset to organizations because they maximize employee productivity and reduce disability claims, absenteeism rates and on-the-job injuries.

If you’re looking for a career that has a normal workweek and doesn’t require weekends, this is your gig. The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) reports the average salary is $63,472, while Salary.com reports a higher average of $77,964 a year.

Perinatal NursePerinatal nurse

A perinatal nurse cares for women when they are trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Also called an obstetrical nurse, these professionals typically work in medical offices, prenatal clinics and hospitals.

Job duties for a perinatal nurse include:

  • Ordering tests and interpreting lab results
  • Monitoring fetal development through non-stress tests
  • Educating expectant moms on how to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery
  • Providing support during delivery
  • Instructing moms on how to care for her newborn

Annual salaries range from $65,371 (Salary.com) to $72,000 (Indeed.com). Some perinatal nurses go on to earn their master’s degree to become a perinatal nurse practitioner or nurse midwife, allowing them to prescribe medications and deliver babies.

Public Health NursePublic health nurse

Public health nurses strive to improve the overall health of a community, mostly by focusing on access to care for vulnerable and at-risk populations. These nurses usually work for government agencies such as public health departments, correctional facilities or schools. Public health nurses are concerned with community health issues like immunizations, infectious diseases, STDs and obesity.

Job duties for a public health nurse include:

  • Educating the public on health and safety and design health campaigns
  • Monitoring health trends and identifying risk factors
  • Giving immunizations and performing health screenings
  • Responding to health crises

It’s important that a public health nurse understand and respect cultural differences. Some regional travel may be required for this role. Public health nurse salaries range from $60,000 to $76,000 annually, according to Indeed.com.

Clinical Research NurseClinical research nurse

A clinical research nurse helps perform research to determine the safety and effectiveness of medications, medical devices and treatment protocols. These nurses typically work in hospitals and university medical centers or pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Job duties for a clinical research nurse include:

  • Identifying potential study participants
  • Recruiting patients and attaining patient consent
  • Collecting and reporting investigation results and patient data
  • Collecting tissue and body fluid samples, in some cases

Clinical research nurses earn around $64,000 annually.

Nurse and patientCase management nurse

Nurses who are case managers determine the best course of treatment and coordinate long-term care for patients with catastrophic injuries and chronic illnesses. These may include conditions such as spinal cord injuries, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, COPD and end-of-life issues. Case management nurses typically work for hospitals, managed care organizations and rehabilitation centers.

Job duties for a case management nurse include:

  • Coordinating doctor appointments and scheduling surgeries
  • Working closely with doctors and social workers to arrange for outpatient care
  • Building relationships with community resources
  • Solving problems, as needed

Nurse case managers need to be computer-savvy and know the ins and outs of insurance reimbursement policies. Salaries for nurse case managers range from $65,626 (PayScale.com) to $72,549 (Salary.com).

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