What Are The Benefits of Advanced Degrees in Nursing?

  Jun 20, 2024

If you’re a registered nurse who is keen to progress your career, have you considered an advanced degree in nursing?

The benefits of pursuing higher education in nursing are abundant. Some of the advantages? Consider: reaching a higher earning potential, gaining access to increased career prospects, and perhaps most importantly, the job satisfaction you can attain by specializing in an area of nursing you’re passionate about.  

Stay with us as we take you through the many different types of advanced nursing degrees that exist, as well as the benefits of attaining these higher nursing qualifications, in further detail. 

Different Types of Advanced Nursing Degrees

If you’re qualified as a registered nurse and looking to specialize in a specific area of advanced nursing, there are many advanced practice nursing (APRN) qualifications to consider. Completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a PhD in nursing online programs can allow a registered nurse to pursue an advanced role in the following nursing specializations, for example:

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

If you choose to qualify as a family nurse practitioner, the role you secure once licensed to practice as an FNP will certainly be varied. FNPs provide treatment and care to patients from all walks of life – from infants to the elderly. The role requires the nursing professional to be well-versed in all areas of nursing – including diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications, and providing referrals to other healthcare specialists where needed.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

Where a family nurse practitioner treats and cares for patients across their lifespan, a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), is primarily responsible for providing care to children and infants. Similarly to an FNP, this role will also call on the fundamental elements of nursing. However, treatments delivered by a PNP are specifically tailored to growing young bodies.

Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)

Just like a PNP, an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP)’s focus is predominantly on one specific age group. But, in this case, AGNPs care for and treat the elderly. They specialize, also, in end-of-life care, as well as creating treatment plans for their elderly patients to help see them through their later years in dignity and comfort.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

While a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP) is primarily focused on providing gynecology, prenatal, and childbearing care, there are other elements of the role. Despite the name, this is a gender-inclusive area of nursing, in that a WHNP also treats and cares for gender-diverse and trans women. This includes providing reproductive and sexual healthcare to trans women who are receiving estrogen hormone treatment. 

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

As the name of the role would suggest, the role of a PMHNP requires them to deliver psychiatric treatment and care to patients experiencing mental health conditions. This includes providing counseling and psychotherapy, as well as administering medications. Another function of the role is to provide education about mental health to patients and their families.

The Benefits of Pursuing Advanced Nursing Studies

So, what are the advantages of advanced nursing studies? Some of the benefits of pursuing advanced studies in nursing include:

Enhanced Career Prospects 

Pursuing higher qualifications in nursing opens up doors to professional opportunities a registered nurse may not have access to otherwise. Specializing in certain areas of nursing enables an APRN to become an expert in a specific field, and to excel within it. Unlike a general RN, an advanced nursing practitioner can take their career further within their chosen area of specialization.

Increased Earning Potential

As an APRN, you will have access to a higher earning potential. Advanced nursing practitioners are some of the highest-paid professionals in the healthcare industry. APRNs in the US can expect to earn up to $135,000 annually. This is considerably higher than a general RN salary.

Job Satisfaction and Fulfilment

Finally, as a specialized APRN, the job satisfaction you can experience by pursuing a rewarding career in your area of specialization can lead to a great sense of fulfillment. Most importantly, as an APRN, you can choose which area of nursing you wish to specialize in. This means you can follow your passion. Whether it’s prenatal or reproductive healthcare, mental healthcare, or caring for infants or the elderly – the choice is yours to make.