What Can I do with My Nursing Major?

Overview

"Nursing is the nation's largest healthcare profession with more than 2.9 million registered nurses practicing nationwide. Despite its large size, many more nurses are needed into the foreseeable future to meet the growing demand for nursing care. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for registered nurses will grow faster than most other occupations through 2014. Nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care.

"Although 56.2 percent of all employed RNs work in hospitals, many are employed in a wide range of other settings, including private practices, public health agencies, primary care clinics, home health care, outpatient surgicenters, health maintenance organizations, nursing school-operated nursing centers, insurance and managed care companies, nursing homes, schools, mental health agencies, hospices, the military, and industry. Other nurses work in careers as college and university educators preparing future nurses or as scientists developing advances in many areas of health care and health promotion.

"Though often working collaboratively, nurses do not simply "assist" physicians and other health care providers. Instead, they practice independently within their own defined scope of practice. Nursing roles range from direct patient care to case management, establishing nursing practice standards, developing quality assurance procedures, and directing complex nursing care systems.

"With more than four times as many RNs in the United States as physicians, nursing delivers an extended array of health care services, including primary and preventive care by advanced, independent nurse practitioners in such clinical areas as pediatrics, family health, women's health, and gerontological care. Nursing's scope also includes care by clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists, as well as care in cardiac, oncology, neonatal, neurological, and obstetric/gynecological nursing and other advanced clinical specialties." (American Association of Colleges of Nursing Your Nursing Career: A Look at the Facts, September 5, 2006)

Skills

The study of nursing allows for the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of health care and non-health care occupational settings. A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows.

Research, Assessment and Technical

  • Assessment, assembly and evaluation of health information
  • Participating in research
  • Utilizing research findings
  • Interpreting quantitative data
  • Applying theoretical approaches to research problems
  • Establishing hypotheses
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Knowledge and skill in biotechnology
  • Knowledge and skill in information technology
  • Health education skills
  • Teaching of patients
  • Delegating and supervising
  • Ability to train others

Critical Thinking

  • Evaluating nursing care outcomes
  • Integrating concepts from a variety of disciplines
  • Ability to apply and use appropriate theories, models and ethics
  • Use of clinical judgment and decision making skills
  • Engagement in creative problem solving
  • Approaching problems from multiple perspectives
  • Avoiding simplistic conclusions
  • Perceiving patterns and structures
  • Understanding components of complex problems

Human Relations

  • Form relationships with patients
  • Form partnerships with other health care professionals
  • Practice in diverse settings and with diverse populations
  • Engage in effective working relationships
  • Identifying cultural/social considerations
  • Empathy
  • Negotiation
  • Patient advocacy
  • Writing effectively
  • Conveying complex information
  • Speaking to groups
Sample Internship Opportunities

Most nursing majors in the School of Nursing and Health Studies participate in the Clinical Scholar Opportunities fellowship and scholarship program. This is a fellowship or scholarship that is completed in the summer between junior and senior year. Internships are generally sought and pursued in local hospitals (e.g., Georgetown University Hospital, Washington Hospital Center).

Where are Georgetown Nursing Majors Now?

  • Nurse midwife
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nurse case manager
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Staff nurse or clinician
  • Flight nurse
  • Forensic nurse
  • Holistic nurse
  • Military nursing
  • Parish nurse
  • Supplemental nurse
  • Travel nurse
  • Health educator
  • AIDS care nurse
  • Nurse administrator/Director/CEO
  • Nurse Manager/Administrator
  • Consultant/Entrepreneur
  • Nursing informatics specialist
  • Pharmaceutical/Medical device sales/Marketing representative
  • Public health researcher
  • Medical editor/writer
  • Research nurse
  • Nurse educator
  • Teacher
  • Professor
Relevant Web Sites and Publications
Professional Organizations

For information about career options, internship and full-time opportunities, contact the Career Education Center at One Leavey Center, (202) 687-3493. For more information about the major and degree requirements, contact Kate Miller at (202) 687-7258 or e-mail her at km262@georgetown.edu.