Nursing postgraduate courses are the courses available to nurses that already have a bachelor’s of science in nursing. These courses are designed to help registered nurses advanced their careers, and provide them the opportunities to become Nurse practitioners, Nurse anesthetists, Nurse midwives, Forensic nurses, Psychiatric nurses and Nurse educators.
These are only a handful of the career possibilities for nurses with advanced degrees. Some schools have postgraduate programs that allow nurses to specialize in different ways, while others just offer master’s or doctorate degrees in nursing, and certificate programs in specialized areas.
The Nursing Shortage’s Impact on Nursing Postgraduate Courses
There’s a nursing shortage going on, and it has impacted literally every area of the industry. Experts predict that the world will be short roughly one million nurses by 2020, and 580,000 of those will be needed in the U.S. alone. Schools and state organizations have been working overtime to help crank out registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to meet hospital demand, but many nursing postgraduate courses have suffered as a result. A lot of nurses are choosing to go work for hospitals that can offer big sign-on bonuses, instead of staying in school to teach. As a result, a lot of postgraduate nursing courses are seriously shorthanded. Many of them have even had to be suspended as a result, until schools can find enough teachers to fill them.
Though nursing postgraduate courses aren’t always easy to find, they’re worth looking for. Nurses with postgraduate degrees earn more money, and have far more employment opportunities than nurses without them. If nurses choose to enter a postgraduate program, they can help fight the nursing shortage by practicing nursing after graduation, or working for a school as a nurse educator, to help turn out more qualified nurses.
How Nursing Postgraduate Courses Can Expand Your Scope of Practice
Every level of nursing has a scope of practice determined by a state’s Board of Nursing. The more education a nurse has, the more he or she is allowed to do. Advanced practice registered nurses can do more than registered nurses, and registered nurses can do more than licensed practical nurses. Postgraduate nursing courses give nurses the educational backgrounds they need to advance their careers, and have a larger scope of practice.
Nurse practitioners can actually function as a person’s primary care provider in many states, just like a regular physician. Nurse midwives are able to provide reproductive care to women from puberty to menopause. Both of these nurses can do everything that a doctor can, with the exception of surgery. Without a postgraduate degree, such a wide scope of practice isn’t possible.
Finding Worthwhile Nursing Postgraduate Programs
Not all postgraduate programs are worth enrolling in. Most nurses are already familiar with their state’s Board of Nursing, which will make finding a good postgraduate program easier. The sad fact is that some schools choose to misrepresent themselves as having Board of Nursing approval, even though they don’t. Since it’s hard to find teachers qualified to teach a Board-approved course, this means that a student can end up unwittingly enrolling in classes that won’t actually allow her or him to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).
To avoid falling into that trap, always cross-reference any nursing postgraduate courses with your state’s Board of Nursing’s list of approved programs. Most Boards of Nursing have the attitude that it is up to a student to research their nursing courses before enrollment, so they will not be responsible for students that end up graduating from a useless program.
Nursing postgraduate programs give nurses the opportunity to do more with their careers than be RNs or LPNs. Postgraduate programs cover a variety of fascinating topics, from psychiatry, to forensics, to oncology, and allow nurses to decide exactly what area of medicine they want to devote themselves to. After becoming APRNs, nurses can command higher salaries, be eligible for more advanced positions, and have larger scopes of practice. Though it may not always be easy to find a good postgraduate nursing course, the end result is worth the search.