A liberal arts degree is not only great for your career as a nurse, but it can also be valuable in advancing your career beyond working in hospitals. You may be able to go into practice directly after college as an acute care physician or primary care doctor, or you could choose to pursue additional training first. For example, becoming a certified registered nurse anesthesia (CRNA) requires at least one year of nursing school plus several thousand dollars in fees, so being prepared with a solid education foundation is important.
While most nurses have bachelor’s degrees, many don’t realize that some advanced practices require more than just undergraduate courses like biology, chemistry, and psychology. Areas such as sociology, anthropology, history, literature, and even speech and communications are integral parts of what professionals in this field learn. Certain skills like teaching, communication, and leadership are also considered strengths of non-medical professionals in healthcare.
Bottom line? Being educated in the humanities gives you something extra that few other profession have — opportunity. An education focused on the study of knowledge, logic, and reasoning helps prepare you to take advantage of that opportunity, whether it’s developing new strategies for patient treatment, improving organizational processes, or launching successful careers outside of the health field.
Academic areas like philosophy, English, art, music, foreign languages, and business provide insights into how things work and influence others.
Find a good nursing job
Finding a way into the healthcare field is more than just getting your RN license, it’s about finding a great nursing position that fits you. There are many ways to approach this!
Job hunting for nurses is an extremely tedious process. It can feel like a rut at times because employers look through a lot of material when they recruit their next staff member.
So what can we do to stand out amongst the other candidates who are looking for jobs?
Practicing self-care is one of the best things you can do as a nurse candidate. Starting off with something simple like taking a bath or doing some exercises will help you relax and connect with yourself. Then from there, practicing professionalism and how to relate to others comes naturally.
Knowing how to manage your emotions and stress in professional settings is another important skill that most nurses need to learn.
Running your own career means being able to work smartly and efficiently, which takes time management skills. This also includes having enough money saved up so that you don’t have to rely on external sources for income.
A good last name and strong writing skills are two other qualities that could make you stand out in the crowd.
Prepare for the job market
After completing your undergraduate degree, what kind of career can you expect if you decide to become a nurse? While most nurses are hired as entry level professionals at hospitals or doctor’s offices, many advance in their careers and attain leadership positions within their field.
Nurses that lead manage other health professionals (such as doctors and physical therapists) and have responsibility for the safety and success of those individuals and the overall quality of patient care.
Leading nurses is an excellent way to make a living because they get to help others achieve wellness and recovery while also receiving recognition for his/her efforts.
In fact, there are several ways to climb the ladder as a professional nurse with only a bachelor’s degree. Having additional education and certifications is one of the best ways to show off your skills and be promoted.
You can earn master’s degrees in nursing from universities around the world or pursue certification programs. These advanced training opportunities are great sources of income since most employers require them to work under their supervision.
Consider getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration or another liberal arts degree
A career as a nurse is very demanding, so it makes sense to make your life more manageable by learning how to manage work-life balance.
Studies show that nurses with higher levels of burnout are three times more likely to report patient harm than colleagues who feel less burned out. In fact, one study found that every 10% increase in emotional exhaustion was associated with an 8% increase in medical errors.
Emotional exhaustion can also have negative effects on teamwork. The researchers determined that for each unit increase in EE (emotionally exhausted), error rates increased by 0.8%. This means that if you’re already feeling emotionally drained, like half of all RN’s are, then your job performance will be even worse when you add stress caused by time pressures, workload, etc.
On top of this, studies find that staff members who experience high levels of depersonalization due to workplace violence are almost twice as likely to leave their jobs within the next six months compared to those who were not exposed to such situations.
So, investing in effective strategies to reduce your own level of burnout could help improve both your personal well being and the quality of care you provide to patients.
Learn to be a proactive employee
As mentioned earlier, being a successful working professional is more than just having a good job with a big company. It takes being a self-starter and being able to manage your time well so that you don’t waste precious hours of work time.
Running into problems at work can happen to anyone, even if you’re the most careful person in the world. You might get assigned something that you feel isn’t your specialty, but it’s still within your field.
You’ll have to learn how to deal with these situations gracefully and effectively. If someone else does not agree with your decision, try talking about the merits of your argument instead of getting upset or aggressive.
Avoid gossip unless there are no other options.
Be a lifelong learner
Being a nurse is not only about taking orders, doing paperwork, or chasing after medical equipment with your mouth! There are many other ways to be a professional nurse. You can work in education, research, administration, or as an advanced practitioner like practicing nurses who have additional training beyond what’s required for entry-level nursing jobs.
Most of these professions require you to be a strong academic player. A liberal arts degree will help you achieve this because it teaches you how to think critically, analyze material, and convey ideas clearly.
These non-medical skills are important to being a successful nurse. For example, a graduate with an art history degree could go into educational health coachingor teaching others about healthy living strategies. Someone with a psychology degree could work in mental health counseling or healthcare social services.
A business management major could work in hospital leadership or private practice. Many hospitals now hire people who are trained in evidence-based medicine (EBM) to run their clinics and/or internal departments that deal with wellness, nutrition, and fitness.
Becoming a nurse is very complicated, so making sure that you are prepared for the exam before coming in person is important. There are two main ways to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN). You can take an entry-level certification test or pursue advanced standing through college.
The first step towards becoming an RN with only a liberal arts degree is taking the National Certification Examination for Registered Nurses. This three-hour examination is made up of four domains and costs around $150 per domain. Each domain requires about one hour to be completed, giving you a total cost of around $450 to sit for the whole exam.
Some of these domains include leadership, nursing fundamentals, clinical practice, and scientific/technical concepts. To prepare for this certification, you will need to make sure that you are well trained in each of these areas. Many universities offer coursework or direct training in all four of these areas, so do not hesitate to check out your options!
Once you have everything ready, head over to our how to get into graduate school page where more information can be found.
Find a great mentor
As we mentioned before, being a nurse is a lot of things- it’s a career, it’s a profession, it’s a calling. But most importantly, it’s an occupation that demands you are passionate about helping people feel better so they can return to their lives.
So how do you know if you have a passion for nursing? You probably already do!
By this stage of your life, you’ve likely encountered at least one professional in the field who inspired you and made you admire them or ask questions about what they do.
These individuals not only inspire you, but also help you determine if this job is right for you. Because while some nurses may need more education or certification, there’t really anything like practicing medicine without training first.
And while earning enough money as a nurse is dependent upon where you work and what specialties you develop, there are always ways to pursue additional education and income. For example, by taking general practice courses or developing new areas of expertise, you increase your pay just through learning more.
In fact, according to the National League of Nursing, nearly half of all registered nurses (46%) reported having earned an advanced degree within the past five years. And almost two thirds had planned to continue schooling after completing their bachelor’s degree.
Build your networking skills
Being able to connect with people is one of the most important things you can do as a nurse, especially in this ever-connected world we live in. Your career will depend heavily on how well you network with other professionals, patients, and members of the community.
Networking isn’t simply going up to someone and shaking hands, it’s about being willing to put in the effort to meet others, be active where appropriate, and apply yourself sincerely.
By putting in that effort now, you’ll find yourself enjoying the experience years down the line when you have actually hired nurses due to their networks.
If you are already very good at meeting new people, then great! But if not, don’t worry, you can still reap the benefits of having a strong social circle.
There are many ways to achieve this, from joining professional associations to hosting or attending events related to your field. By actively engaging in such activities, you’ll soon develop meaningful connections that help you get jobs.