Are you looking for a way to use your nursing skills and education to have a larger impact on your community? If you are ready to further your education, consider earning a master's degree in nursing. With Tennessee's large rural population, the need for skilled health care providers is high.
Earning a master's degree in a nursing specialty may help you earn more money over the course of your career. O*Net indicates that the average salary for a Tennessee nurse practitioner is $90,100 per year. Nurse anesthetists have an average annual salary of $136,600 per year and nurse midwives earn an average of $75,200 per year (O*Net, 2013). The median salary for a nursing instructor is $54,900 per year (O*Net, 2013).
As the number of associate and bachelor-level nursing students increases in Tennessee, nursing educators may find themselves with a very positive job outlook. A Tennessee college recently received a grant to help new nursing students, as well as those switching careers, to pay for school. Your expertise can be put to use in the classroom and help influence the next wave of nursing graduates.
The need for nursing educators is punctuated by the fact that Tennessee ranks 34th in the country in terms of its amount of registered nurses. However, the state does rank fairly high in terms of median beginning nursing salaries.
If you want to go into direct care, WAAY TV notes that you may be able to help with the statewide primary care shortage. The Tennessee Department of Health claims that many of the state's rural communities are designated Health Care Provider Shortage Areas. Although nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses have a limited scope of practice in Tennessee, they can still play a major role in patient care.
Even if you select a nursing specialty as part of your Master's degree, you may want to plan on getting a multifaceted, well-rounded education. A Master's degree can open up many different paths for you, including those in nursing leadership, clinical leadership, nursing education, and advanced patient care. In Tennessee, you can consider a wide variety of specialties, including nurse anesthesia, forensic nursing, pediatric nursing, and nurse informatics.
To start your education off on the right foot, you can plan on taking core courses like Health Policy, Nursing Role Development, and Nursing Theory. These courses typically take one to two semesters. You then spend the remaining two to four semesters delving into your chosen specialty. Nurse practitioner students may take courses like Family Health Nursing and Pharmacotherapeutics, while nursing education students may take courses like Nursing Educational Process and Curriculum Development. Leadership programs may focus on business and finance courses.
Throughout the course of your degree, you may apply for scholarships to reduce your financial burden. The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program offers loan forgiveness to graduates that agree to work at a Tennessee college or university. The Tennessee Elks Association awards a number of nursing scholarships every year.