Detailed Guide To Post Graduate Nursing Programs

post graduate nursing programs

Considering post graduate nursing programs is great for nurses who are planning to take their nursing career to the next level. These programs aim to prepare a nurse to a more specialized field of nursing.

Nursing schools offer flexibility in completing these programs as some of them are offered online while others can be taken in a short period of time. If you are interested in enrolling in a postgraduate nursing course, here are the best options around:

Post Graduate Study Options

Post-Graduate Study Options

If you already have a BSN degree and are planning to upgrade your academic credentials through post graduate studies, you have two options – a Master of Science degree or a Post-Degree Certificate.

Master of Science

Master of Science in Nursing is a post-graduate degree for advanced-level practice. Completing a Master of Science degree is an entry-level qualification for nurse educators, managers and administrators. It is a prerequisite for a Doctoral Degree in Nursing.

This post-graduate degree may be also required in pursuing advanced practice fields of nursing like being a clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist and nurse practitioner.

Post Degree Certificate

A Post Degree Certificate is in the same level of academic qualification with Master of Science. However, Post Degree Certificate programs require a shorter period of study. It is basically a collection of short courses that, when completed along with certification requirements, will give a record of academic accomplishments in a specified field. Its approach is more on the clinical and practical side which is great for hands-on learning.

Also Read: Top 10 Cheapest RN to BSN Programs Online 

Nursing Specialty Fields

Nursing Specialty Fields

Both Master of Science and Post-Degree Certificate programs are further subdivided into different nursing specialty fields. You need to choose one specialty field as the focus of your post graduate program. To help you decide in selecting your nursing specialty field, here are the most common fields of study in post graduate nursing programs:

General Nursing Specialty Fields

Nursing Specialty Field

Area of Focus

Curriculum Focus

Catered Population

Adult-GerontologyAdult healthPathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, health education, nursing theories, ethics, nursing informatics and researchYoung to middle-aged adults, geriatric patients
Family CareFamily healthPathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, health education,  health assessment, disease management and health promotionPediatric and adult patients
Pediatric CarePediatric healthPathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, disease management, health education, physical assessment and researchPediatric patients
PsychiatricPsychiatric careTherapeutic communication, case management, clinical pharmacology, research, health ethics, clinical therapy and treatment managementPatients with problems in mental health,  including those with developmental delay, behavioral disorders and substance abusers
Nursing Leadership and ManagementLeadership and management in nursing workplaceNursing theories, leadership and management principles, fundamental nursing practice, law and ethics for nurse managers, human resource management and healthcare issuesStaff nurses, unit management
Nursing EducationTeachingTeaching strategies and modalities, roles of educators, curriculum development and nursing education practicumNursing students
Nursing AdministrationNursing management and administration in healthcare institutionsNursing informatics, foundations of Nursing Administration, pathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, epidemiology and advanced clinical practiceStaff nurses

Disease-Focused Nursing Specialty Fields

Nursing Specialty Field

Area of Focus

Curriculum Focus

Catered Population

Diabetes NursingDiabetes care and managementPathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, diabetes treatment and management, patient education and health promotionDiabetic patient
HIV Primary CareCare and management of HIV patientsHIV-AIDS Didactic Course, clinical pharmacology, health assessment, care continuity, counseling and therapeutic communicationPeople living with HIV (PLHIV)

Also Read: Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Nurses

Post Graduate Study job

What Can I Pursue after Finishing a Post-Graduate Study?

There are plenty of careers you can pursue after finishing a post-graduate study. Your days as an entry-level nurse are over as you can shift to a more specialized nursing position. Here are some of the popular nursing careers you can pursue after completing your post-graduate studies:

Nurse Practitioner

A Nurse Practitioner is classified as an Advanced-Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). The minimum academic requirement for this is either a Master’s Degree or a Post-Graduate Degree Certificate.

Being a Nurse Practitioner is a more independent nursing practice as you will manage acute and chronic illnesses through physical assessment, diagnostic tests and medical treatments. Nurse Practitioners work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and communities.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

A Clinical Nurse Specialist is also an Advanced-Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). A Clinical Nurse Specialist is expert in providing professional advice and recommendation about specific illness or treatment option. Clinical Nurse Specialists commonly work in healthcare institutions.

Clinical Instructor

A Clinical Instructor works in nursing schools, colleges and universities. A post-graduate study with focus in nursing education is required to be considered as an entry-level Clinical Instructor/Professor. Clinical Instructors may also work in the outside environment of schools like during clinical rotations in healthcare institutions.

Nurse Manager

A Nurse Manager specializes in recruitment and nurse staffing. Although their main focus is in the welfare of nurses manning the units assigned to them, they can also collaborate with other healthcare workers and act as a liaison between healthcare facilities, physicians and nurses. Nurse Managers work in hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

Also Read: Top 10 Highest Paying Nursing Jobs

There are many post graduate nursing programs around offered in colleges, universities and even through online. Be smart in selecting one for your nursing career. Ensure that your post graduate study will be in line with your expertise and experience. You can seek for advice from your senior colleagues or from your nurse manager.

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