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Emerging Roles for Nursing School Graduates

There are more nursing careers than ever before.

The U.S. healthcare system is a $3.8 trillion industry and is projected to grow to more than $5.9 trillion by 20271. To help keep it going, nurses and their expertise are needed in all kinds of positions.

In recent years, new opportunities in healthcare have prompted the growth of new nursing careers, particularly for APRNs who hold a master’s degree in nursing. A few of these new nursing careers include:

Emerging Roles for Nursing School Graduates

Care Coordinator

A common criticism of the U.S. healthcare system is that patients feel disassociated from their care. Care coordination is a new nursing role designed to address that problem. As a care coordinator, you are responsible for seeing patients through from admission to discharge and then helping them manage their post-treatment recovery. Rather than simply attending to the acute needs of the patients in your ward during your shift, you have a caseload of patients you personally manage, giving them someone they can trust to guide them through their care.

Crisis Manager

Being prepared for crisis is literally a life-and-death matter. Thanks to the increasing availability of data regarding prior natural and man-made disasters, hospitals can better understand and prepare for possible emergencies. As a crisis manager, you use your healthcare knowledge to plan for crises such as floods, earthquakes, multi-fatality accidents, and terrorist attacks, helping ensure that existing patients are properly cared for in an emergency situation and that crisis-related casualties receive efficient, quality treatment.

Healthcare Informatics Specialist

The healthcare industry’s adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has created a wealth of information on patient health and healthcare operations. The new field of health informatics seeks to organize and analyze EHR data in ways that can improve efficiencies and patient outcomes. As a healthcare informatics specialist, you are part data scientist, part healthcare professional, bringing together the two disciplines in new and exciting ways.

Health Coach

Preventing disease and illness saves money and lives. As the healthcare industry works to improve efficiencies and outcomes, health coaches are becoming an increasingly important part of preventative care. As a health coach, you work with people—both those who are already ill and those who are currently healthy—to guide them toward lifestyle choices that promote health and wellness.

How Can You Put Yourself in Position for a New Nursing Career?

One thing the above roles have in common is that they all call for advanced nursing knowledge and skills. In most cases, RNs will not qualify for these positions; they require going to nursing school and earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN degree).

Through a master’s in nursing program, you can specialize in fields such as public health, psychiatric-mental health, adult-gerontology acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, nursing informatics, nursing education, leadership and management, and family nursing (i.e., a family nurse practitioner program). Not only will these specializations help you acquire specialized knowledge, they will put you in position for the best nursing careers and top nursing salaries.

The question you may be asking is: Do I have time to earn an MSN degree? You likely do if you choose an online nursing school. One to consider is Walden University, No. 1 in Master of Science in Nursing graduates in the U.S.2 Walden’s MSN program offers eight specializations, and all give you the advantages of online learning. Instead of driving to a campus at certain times of the day, you can complete the coursework for a Walden online MSN program from home, whatever time of day works best for you and the demands of your job. Walden also offers an RN to MSN online program track that provides a path from RN to MSN. And, no matter which specialty you choose, you’ll have a teaching faculty that’s 100% doctorally prepared.

There are a lot of opportunities for nurses who have the proper skills and knowledge. Earning a master’s in nursing online from Walden University can put you in position to take full advantage of those opportunities.

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


2Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP code 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,