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Is advanced practice nursing right for you?
EDITOR'S NOTE: Content provided by Maryville University Online Nursing.
According to a Nurse.com study, 97% of respondents believe that, as nurses, they make a difference in the lives of others. Some 81% of respondents with varying amounts of experience say they would recommend the profession to others.
Furthermore, advancing one’s education in the nursing field by earning an MSN or DNP degree can also contribute to overall job satisfaction, as graduate education can help nurses gain greater autonomy and increase salary potential. What personal qualities might point to whether advancing your nursing career is the right decision?
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” - Patch Adams Nurses are often the face of the healthcare team, in many cases interacting with patients on a more personal level than physicians do. APNs may even interact with some patients on a more regular basis than their physician counterparts. A nurse’s interaction with patients may be on a more emotional level, and can therefore have a positive impact in quality of care.

According to a public health study, social and environmental factors can eclipse the effect of medical intervention on health. Successful nurses could empathize with the suffering of their patients and have it help rather than hinder their healthcare plan. In fact, nurse empathy has scored among the most important factors contributing to patient satisfaction. Empathy has also been linked to a decrease in malpractice claims. The key here is the improved communication that happens when patients feel that a caregiver is personally invested in their care. If you are considering advancing your nursing career and seeking more autonomy or a leadership position, consider whether your sense of empathy can help you succeed.
You are fearless
“How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” - Florence Nightingale It goes without saying that the best healthcare professionals are those that can operate in extreme conditions as well as they operate under normal circumstances. For most of us, fear can impair decision-making and lead to mistakes. Nurses need to have the ability to control their fear and anxiety to make sharp decisions in chaotic situations. APNs can work with greater autonomy in more than 20 states, and fearlessness can be key to their success. Anxiety is normal and not something that a potential nurse should see as an obstacle. Approximately 40 million U.S. adults suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. What great nurses do is learn how to manage fear and anxiety in a healthy manner. If you work in healthcare and plan to advance in the field, it is important to create a stress-management plan. Proper diet, exercise, meditation and work-life balance all can contribute to being able to perform in the face of fear.
Compare advanced practice programs
You have empathy
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” - Charles Darwin Nursing, like all professions, is changing on a near-daily basis as more and new technology is introduced. Great nurses see change as an opportunity for improvement for themselves and their patients, looking for ways to integrate their skills with modern technology. Continuing education is an important component.

Earning an MSN or DNP can help nurses keep up with constantly changing trends in nursing technology. A higher degree and knowledge of emerging technology may make nurses more sought after for new opportunities. As healthcare and technology evolve along with an aging population, nurses with advanced skills and education will continue to be in high demand. If you are a person who has empathy, can operate in the face of fear, and enjoys the challenge of a constantly evolving field, advanced practice nursing may be a good fit for you. There are many other factors that come into play when shaping yourself into an ideal healthcare provider. However, the importance of putting patient care first is at the heart of all these characteristics.
Contribute to improving care
Advancing one’s education in the nursing field by earning an MSN or DNP degree can also contribute to overall job satisfaction, as graduate education can help nurses gain greater autonomy and increase salary potential.
Higher nursing degrees allow individuals to help others
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