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Changing Your Nursing Career Focus to Indirect Care

A master’s program can help prepare you for in-demand fields like nursing education.

Exhausted, overwhelmed, anxious. Motivated, resilient, optimistic.

In an American Nurses Foundation COVID-19 Impact Assessment survey, nurses used both sets of adjectives to describe how they were feeling after the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.1 And despite the well-documented hardships for healthcare professionals, when asked about their plans for the next six months, 85% of those surveyed said they were sticking with their nursing careers.1


As nurses take time to process all they’ve learned and experienced since March 2020, some may decide to shift their career focus from direct to indirect patient care. RNs can bring their wealth of experience to a master’s in nursing program that offers specializations in fields like nursing education.

Becoming a Nurse Educator

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has designated 2022 as the Year of the Nurse Educator to recognize the “essential role of nursing education during the pandemic, and in celebration of its historic and continuing inspiration to nurses everywhere.”2

With an estimated one-third of nurse educators in faculty roles expected to retire between 2016 and 2025,3 this may be a good time to earn a degree to prepare for a career in nursing education. Between 2020 and 2030, employment of postsecondary teachers, which includes nurse educators, is expected to grow by 12%, a pace that’s faster than average.4

Walden University offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online degree program with a Nursing Education specialization. Coursework in this master’s degree in nursing program aligns with the NLN standards for nurse educators and the Association for Nursing Professional Development. Optional certification for nurse educators is offered through the NLN.

As a nurse educator, you can help professionals at all stages of their nursing careers learn best practices that lead to quality care and improved patient outcomes. Nurse educators work in settings that include academia, hospitals, community health organizations, and corporations, and in diverse roles such as college faculty member, professional development specialist, nurse mentor, health and wellness coordinator, and more.

More Nursing Career Options

Walden, which is No. 1 in Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the U.S.,5 offers other specialty practice online degree program options, too. If you’re interested in shifting your career focus to indirect care, you may want to consider:

  • Nurse Executive: Explore a career in the fast-growing field of medical and health services management6 by immersing yourself in such topics as policy and advocacy, management, finance, human resources, and quality management. As a graduate of this program, you’ll have the skills and knowledge you need to become an effective nursing leader, capable of guiding strategic initiatives within your healthcare system.
  • Nursing Informatics: Earn a nursing degree that allows you to combine your love and knowledge of nursing and technology to manage and communicate health information. Nurse informaticists work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, but they also pursue careers in settings that include healthcare technology companies, medical record companies, and staffing agencies.7
  • Public Health Nursing: Prepare for a career in what the Association of Public Health Nurses calls “Public Health Nursing 3.0,” where you’ll help “ensure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy, by expanding the focus on social and environmental determinants of health to achieve health equity.”8 This online master’s in nursing degree program specialization can academically prepare you to assess public health needs and create community health initiatives to address them.

The Online Nursing School Advantage

Walden’s MSN online programs are designed for working nurses who want to earn a degree while staying engaged in work and family life. As a Walden student, you can log on and do your coursework on your own schedule, anywhere you have an internet connection.

And to further fit your learning style and lifestyle, Walden offers two MSN degree completion options in select nursing programs. Choose from a course-based, instructor-led format or self-paced Tempo Learning®. In Tempo Learning®, you progress by demonstrating your understanding of a subject. An Enrollment Specialist can help you learn more.

Reaffirm your commitment to nursing by earning an MSN degree online that prepares you to make your contribution in nursing education, or another rewarding specialty practice field.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

5Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,