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A Day in the Life: 6 BSN Nursing Careers


There are many reasons nurses may want to pursue their bachelor’s degree, and the biggest one is opportunity. Nurses who have a BSN gain access to a world of choices and specialties. Take some time today to imagine yourself as a pharmaceutical salesperson, ICU nurse, educator, or another of the many roles nurses can play. Could one of these be a glimpse into your own future?

BSN Nursing careers

1. Nurse instructor

Welcome to your life as a clinical nurse instructor! You have the hours of a teacher, so you’re free evenings, weekends, and holidays. You’re probably teaching students clinical work at a dedicated healthcare college or a community college, so you’re wearing scrubs.

Related resource: Here’s Why Nursing is the Most In-demand Job of 2016

You’re making about $70,200 per year. You can afford to negotiate your salary and be picky about where you live, because there’s a huge demand for nurse educators. Demand for jobs in your field is projected to be 35 percent through 2022, outpacing other high-demand healthcare jobs. Even better, you’re happy in your work. Nurse instructors express a high degree of satisfaction with their jobs, rewarded by student interactions, access to new research, opportunities for collaboration with other educators, and a flexible work schedule.

Many nurses working in education go on to earn a Master of Nursing (MSN) degree, which opens up many more teaching opportunities — such as working in an academic setting — and higher pay. MSN instructors are required to log significant hours of clinical practice and achieve mastery in a chosen specialty area.

Medical device sales or pharmaceutical rep

As a motivated, high-energy nurse who loves people, you love your sales job! You’re a sharp, polished professional whose daily work includes making sales calls and going out into the field to follow up on leads — in this case, doctors who might prescribe your drug or buy your medical device. Biotech is another burgeoning, relatively new field of sales with a six-figure salary.

Related resource: Here’s How Your Work Might Change with a BSN Degree

2. Medical device sales

Medical device sales people sell products that don’t require a prescription, ranging from sophisticated cardiac equipment to tongue depressors. Selling devices involves creating a purchase order that doctor’s offices and hospitals often agree to on the spot — unlike pharmaceuticals. Your base salary as a medical device salesperson is around $75,000, plus commission.

3. Pharmaceutical sales

Pharmaceutical sales require you to be very knowledgable about the drug you’re selling, because it may be new to the specialists you’re selling to. Your job as a pharma sales rep is to detail the pharmaceutical indications of a specific drug or medication and hope the doctor will remember and prescribe your drug to his or her next patient. You might try to get a verbal commitment from the doctor, since you don’t make a sale until he or she actually prescribes your drug. All that persuading pays off when you get your paycheck: it’s around $91,746 as a base salary, plus tens of thousands more in commission.

Specialty nurse

In any field of nursing study, it pays to have a specialty. Even if your goal is clinical work, specializing has the benefit of making you more competitive, getting closer to cutting-edge research, and commanding a higher salary. BSN nurses have a fascinating range of specialties to choose from.

Related resource: Practical Advice for Choosing Your Nursing Specialty

4. Hospice/palliative care

As a hospice nurse, you might think of your job as a calling. You’re ushering terminally ill people out of life with dignity and compassion, while preserving your own emotional independence. Hospice nurses coordinate with a hospice team and make home visits, or they may work in a hospice facility, averaging $67,445 per year.

5. ICU nurse

If you’re an ICU nurse, you’re strong, focused, and thrive in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment. You respond to acutely ill patients of all ages with life-threatening conditions. You’re working in a hospital, and your patient load is light because each person requires constant attention. You’re making around $68,462 per year, and your resilient emotional health comes in handy.

6. Nurse administrator

As a nurse administrator, you’re responsible for managing the nursing staff in a hospital or facility. You’re creating work schedules, giving performance reviews, and developing policies. This work involves more administrative than clinical work. Your BSN might get you this far, but many of your peers have master’s degrees. You’re earning around $76,000 per year.

Your individual nursing path depends on your interests and strengths. These are just a few of the healthcare journeys a motivated nurse can take.

At Ameritech, our CCNE-accredited, online RN to BSN degree completion program is based on holistic principles and rigorous clinical coursework, designed to educate nurse leaders. To learn more about our RN-BSN or other programs, visit our website.