Apart from perhaps the most obvious choice – becoming a hospital nurse – gaining a nursing degree can open up all sorts of employment opportunities for graduates.
Getting a degree in nursing will undoubtedly equip you with all the professional skills you need, along with an understanding of the academic issues in healthcare. You will also learn management skills and about politics, ethics and law relating to nursing.
Combined with a caring attitude and a strong vocation, you will be ready to look at the career options after graduating. Having a degree instead of diploma should help put you in a stronger position for a job.
What can I do with a nursing degree?
Recent statistics show that the vast majority – 85% – of nursing graduates found full time employment with just over half becoming nurses and 21.4% working as staff nurses, while 12.4% became midwives. Other roles included becoming a paramedic or hospital matron or working in a GP surgery.
Opportunities are varied with additional options including work in care homes or hospices and education establishments such as schools and universities. You could even become an occupational health nurse. Nurses are also required to work for drug companies, for example helping to run and administer drug trials. You could even give advice over the phone by working for the NHS Direct service.
Nursing allows you to specialise, perhaps in children, mental health or the elderly and nurses can also choose between the public and private sector and may switch between the two.
What alternative options are there?
A nursing degree can also open the door to some more unusual career choices. It's possible for example to work in a prison. If you want challenging work in a difficult environment then nurses are also need for overseas development and emergency relief work. Slightly more glamorous, but still important work, is the opportunity to work as a nurse on a cruise ship.
While nearly all graduates go on to work in healthcare roles in some way, others will go for alternatives. Some may become lecturers or go into training others. Research is also an option. Also away from the clinical side, some nursing graduates will aim for health service or public sector management roles.
A relevant degree also makes it possible for further study in an area like Sports Therapy or Physiotherapy or you could do a law conversion course and become a lawyer, then use your professional clinical knowledge to specialize in an area such as medical negligence.
And remember that a nursing degree, like any other degree, will equip you with an excellent qualification as you start down any career path, because it helps to proves that you are an intelligent and capable individual who has studied and worked hard for their qualification.
John is a freelance writer who specialising in career and business related topics. He is currently writing on behalf of Nuffield Health Careers, visit them for more information on a career in nursing.