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What’s Next After a Nursing Degree?

I’m a big believer in planning ahead so if you find yourself wondering what’s next after a nursing degree, I can certainly tell you that you aren’t alone. Many people will find themselves thinking about the same things. The very next thing that comes after getting a nursing degree is to take the NCLEX-RN and get your license.  After that, the path depends totally on you and your goals for the future.

Take the NCLEX-RN

Congratulations on finishing nursing school! Now it is time to hit the books again and get ready to pass the NCLEX-RN.

  1. Apply for the test – Every state has different procedures for applying the NCLEX. Contact your State Board of Nursing or check out some of the state procedures posts here at the Magoosh NCLEX-RN Blog to find the procedures for your state and get your application in.
  2. Review the test plan – The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is in charge of the NCLEX-RN.  They publish a test plan that is full of useful information about the exam, such as how it is scored and what topics are covered.
  3. Study – Set a schedule for your studies and stick to it. Whether you choose a formal NCLEX review course or choose to go it alone with books and practice questions, be consistent so you are ready when test day comes. Trust in your education and knock that exam out of the park!

Get Your First Nursing Job

There is a lot to consider when deciding on your first nursing job . But, no matter what you choose, it is important to find something that you want to do.  The first year of being a nurse can be stressful.  Matters will be made much worse if you don’t like what you are doing.  Some things to think about include:

  1. Job market – Do you live in an area with a lot of large hospitals or in a smaller area with only a few options? Take the job market in your area into consideration as you begin your job search and be willing to compromise. Some geographical areas have more need for nurses than others. Study up on what is needed where you are or investigate options outside of your immediate location.
  2. Clinical area – Do you want to work in a specialized field or with more generalized care? Do you like the intense pace of the ER or something a bit more predictable like a clinic? Take stock of what you like most about nursing and try to find a job that will maximize your ability to do those things.
  3. Shift – Nurses work day and night , weekends and holidays, around the clock all year long. Want to work 12 hours shifts or 8 hours shifts?  Nurses can find positions to fit almost every schedule.  Try to look for positions that include a shift you will be comfortable working.  Keep flexibility in mind though.  Sometimes you might have to choose between the care area and experience you want over the shift you prefer.

The Sky is the Limit

Alright folks, this is the fun part.  Once you have your nursing degree, your license to practice, and a little experience under your belt, your nursing degree can take you anywhere! Nurses fill a multitude of roles.  Nurses work in traditional roles as clinical care providers but can also do many other amazing things. Some nurses choose to advance their education and go into nursing education or advanced practice. Others take the skills they learned from nursing and become entrepreneurs, writers, and consultants. There are always new and exciting career paths to choose from. If you can dream it, you can do it!

So, what’s next after a nursing degree? It’s totally up to you!

About Stephanie

Stephanie is a contributor to the NCLEX-RN Blog at Magoosh. She has been a registered nurse for 13 years. She earned her AAS in Nursing from community college before enrolling as an online student at Grand Canyon University, where she completed both her BSN and MSN with an emphasis in Nursing Education. Student success is her top priority and she is committed to working with her students to see them thrive. When she isn’t teaching the nurses of tomorrow, Stephanie enjoys traveling with her family to warm, sunny places.

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