Well-trained nurses are an integral part of any health care facility, and as you advance in your career and take on more responsibility, you may be in charge of recruiting, managing and supporting the nursing staff. For many nurses looking to receive a master’s degree, becoming a nurse manager is often the next step up the ladder. Whether you want to move into a managerial position or you’re simply looking to improve your earning potential, getting an online nursing degree can greatly benefit you. However, you still need to choose the right program, and there are things you’ll need to consider.
Focus on Communication Skills
Communication skills are extremely important for nurses, and without them, you simply won’t be able to get the job done if you get the job in the first place. Look for a Master’s nursing program that will help you develop the ability to be assertive but not aggressive and direct instead of long-winded in your communications. Improving your communication skills will help show your supervisors that you have the leadership qualities they are looking for so you can advance in your career. Consider taking speech or communications classes along with nursing-related classes if you have difficulty communicating directly.
Along with caring for patients, you may be responsible for looking out for your hospital or clinic’s best interest at the same time when you move forward in your career, especially if you’re interested in becoming a nurse manager. Look for a nursing program that provides some basic business classes. Make sure to update your resume after completing business courses. If the facility where you work requires a master’s degree for all management positions, work toward that goal.
If you’re like many working nurses considering returning to school, you’ll need some help paying tuition and enrollment fees. Many schools offer financial aid, but not all programs are created equal. Before you consider enrolling in classes at a particular school, meet with somebody in the financial aid department to see what programs you qualify for. Many schools may be able to help you find scholarships, grants or fellowships that could allow you to attend school without paying out of pocket. Even if a school can’t help you with financial aid, they may be able to assist you in getting loans or outside help to pay for your education.
If you need to work while you’re getting your master’s degree, you may not have time to commute to a traditional in-person program facility. However, many schools have online programs or partial online programs where you can take some of your classes online and other classes, where hands-on experience is necessary, in person. Online options can also allow you to work on a different schedule since you won’t have to be in class all the time. For example, you may be able to watch videotaped lectures at a later time if you’re working or have a prior commitment during the live lecture.