Nursing is a very challenging yet rewarding career, with a rigorous academic journey that needs to be undertaken in order to become qualified. You may be considering becoming a nurse and already know which area you would like to work in, or not yet be sure what you would like to specialize in. You may also already be a practicing nurse, wanting to expand your career and specialize in a specific area. Whatever stage of your nursing career you are at, nursing certificates online are an important part of your education that can help boost your nursing career, move you in a new direction and help you pursue your dream nursing roles.
What it is?
When you are studying to become a nurse, there are many different courses, levels of education, certifications, and licenses you will need to achieve and gain. One of these could be nursing certifications online, which are post-master’s courses for licensed nurses who already hold an MSN or are APRNs. An APRN is an advanced practice registered nurse. Nursing certifications online are further courses that prepare you to work in a variety of specialized and sought-after areas within nursing.
These areas include:
- Adult gerontology
- Family nurse practitioner
- Nurse educator
Nursing certifications online combine online learning with a certain number of clinical hours that need to be completed, smaller class sizes, and a high level of training. There are also many benefits to a higher level of education, which make completing one of the nursing certificates online a worthwhile investment. Not only can it improve your career, but you may also gain a higher-paying job, have new experiences, and help to shape the future of nursing.
Is an online nursing certification for you?
Becoming a nurse is an incredibly challenging yet rewarding career, and you can have a big impact on the industry and your patients. Firstly, you will need to make sure that you fit the requirements for nursing certifications online. There are many prerequisites that are specific to the course you are taking, so it important to make sure that you can meet these and that you are prepared to undertake further education at this level. Nursing certifications are non-degree courses that help prepare you for certain areas of work and are often shorter than degree courses, which is another benefit.
Nursing certifications online come with their own unique challenges, such as the combination of in-person and distance learning. Online study works very well for many people, as it provides them with the flexibility they need to study alongside their other commitments such as work and family. This is one of the main benefits of online learning. Others include the ability to create your own study environment and work from home, saving money on commuting and accommodation, and developing important personal skills during the completion of your course.
This course may be for you if you want to study but are unable to commit to full-time, in-person study for whatever reason. Many online courses are cheaper than their in-person counterparts, and the ability to work from home can also help you save money. Furthermore, you will be able to continue to work whilst you learn, continuing to earn money and preventing you from having to put your whole life on hold.
You may also benefit from nursing certifications online if your local institutions do not offer the courses that you need to study in order to develop and move forward in your career. This would mean you would have to do a great deal of travel or be unable to study at all. With online learning, the barrier of location is less of a problem, as the classes can be accessed from home, and the clinical hours can be completed in the area you are licensed in. This makes nursing certifications online a more accessible and achievable option for many people.
There are also many skills that nurses benefit from, and therefore it is important to develop and nurture these skills within yourself. Nursing certifications online and online study itself can help you to do this, by developing what are known as soft skills. These are non-technical skills that help you excel in the workplace and are transferrable. Examples of soft skills include problem-solving, creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and conflict resolution. One soft skill that is particularly useful for nurses in all fields is communication. You will be speaking to and working with a wide range of people, from fellow medical professionals to members of the public, and will need to be able to convey information accurately and efficiently.
Time management and organization will be crucial when studying online, as you will need to make sure all of your work is completed on time and to a high standard. You must also do all of this whilst maintaining your job or other commitments. This is a useful skill for a nurse to have, as you will most likely have multiple patients to treat and work with at the same time. The ability to multitask and complete more than one project will help you to treat each patient with the same level of care, professionalism, and accuracy.
Furthermore, nursing certifications online can help you learn a lot about yourself as a student and individual. There are many different methods and types of learning, and the flexibility that an online course provides can help you understand how you learn best. This means you can develop habits and techniques that you can take forward with you for the rest of your career, leading you to become an efficient learner. This is also useful to understand if you want to become a nurse educator, as you will know how to tailor your teaching to different types of learners.
When choosing nursing certifications online, there are two different pathways you can choose. The clinical track or the educational track. This allows you to focus your studies on the area you really want, giving you the experience, knowledge, and skills required to succeed. The clinical track focuses on treating patients in a clinical setting such as hospitals or private practices. The educational track combines working in clinical settings with teaching at institutions such as universities and colleges.
What are the career outcomes?
There are several areas that are sought after, and nursing certificates online can help prepare you to work in one of these. Whether you want to work with a wide range of patients of all ages or help teach the next generation of nurses, nursing certificates online can help you achieve these aims.
Family Nurse Practitioner
There are two different nurse certifications online when it comes to family nurse practitioners. One is for APRNs, and the other is for those who have an MSN. The option for APRNs is shorter than the other, but both include a mandatory online orientation and a certain number of clinical hours to be completed. There are prerequisites for both, including advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced physical assessment, and the duration of the nurse certifications online do not include the length of time these prerequisites require.
Family nurse practitioners work with families and people across all age ranges, providing family-centered healthcare. Your daily tasks and duties vary widely and can include maintaining and promoting health, educating patients, assessments, and prescribing medication. As a family nurse practitioner, you could work in a variety of settings and environments, including hospitals, clinics, community centers, and even telemedicine.
A nurse educator is a nurse who works in both clinical and educational settings. You could find yourself in colleges, universities, teaching hospitals, and nursing schools, helping to teach and educate the next generation of nurses. You will need to be up to date with the latest technology and methods, which is why you will also need to be working in a clinical environment, as well as teaching. Nurse educators design, implement and update the curriculum and educational programs.
This is again a varied career choice that combines nursing with teaching, and some of your duties and tasks may include assessing students, developing classes, acting as a mentor, writing grant proposals, and contributing to the academic community through leadership roles. In order to be a successful nurse educator, you will not only have to have great nursing knowledge but also be a good teacher, with great leadership and communication skills.
Gerontology is the study of aging, and when you become an adult gerontology nurse practitioner, you will be providing healthcare and health services to people in the age ranges of youth to old age. There are two different types of adult-gerontology nurse practitioners; acute and primary care. Whereas AG-ACNPs treat patients who are unwell and in hospital, AG-APNPs treat patients who are not usually ill. This certificate is for the latter, and the tasks and duties you perform daily may include promotion and encouragement of healthy life choices with the aim of maintaining health. You may also help with managing transitions between care settings, educating patients and caregivers, and assessing caregiver competence. There is a range of settings in which an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner may work, and these include private practices, clinics, hospitals, or long-term care facilities.
Choosing what kind of nurse you want to become can seem an overwhelming task, but fortunately, with the wide range of degrees and certifications available, you can have the opportunity to experience different fields and what they involve before you decide where to specialize. It is important to consider your strengths, as well as what you are passionate about. Degrees and courses will provide you with the technical knowledge and many skills you will need to become a nurse, but there are some characteristics that also make a great nurse.
- Stamina- as well as mentally demanding, nursing is a very physically demanding job, and you will be on your feet for many hours. As well as this, you will be doing a lot of lifting and moving, whether this is of patients or equipment. Emotional and physical stamina are vital traits in a nurse.
- Empathy- empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another in order to understand and feel their emotions. It is important for nurses to be able to do this, as you will not have personal, firsthand experience of every situation that your patients may be in. This ties in with emotional stamina, as you also cannot allow yourself to become too emotionally involved with your patients, as this will have a negative impact on your work and yourself. It is important to find that balance. Furthermore, an empathetic nurse can help to make a patient feel more comfortable, as they will have a more personal approach.
- Willingness to learn- technology and techniques are always changing and developing, so you will need to be ready and willing to adapt and learn new things, regardless of what stage you are at in your career. Often you may have a patient who is confused or unaware of what is happening, and you will have to advocate for them and make sure they are safe and receiving the highest level of care.
- A commitment to patient advocacy- this is what the Hippocratic Oath rests on at its core. As a nurse, you need to be an advocate for your patients, providing them with the highest quality care and keeping them safe.
Studying nurse certifications online can help prepare you for your next big career move, giving you the knowledge and skills necessary to progress. It is a useful investment in your future and can also provide you with many opportunities to meet new people and network within the industry. The educational and clinical pathways can help you to really focus your study in the direction that you want, building on existing skills and developing new ones. Nursing is a very varied career, and there are lots of different fields and paths to go down.