It’s never too late to go back to school! An advanced nursing education offers many benefits, including the opportunity to become a Nurse Practitioner, or pioneer exciting nursing research, learn nursing management theories or educate future nurses. Not only does an advanced nursing education open new career doors, it ensures your professional longevity, promotes the highest standards of care for the nursing profession, and gives you a sense of new accomplishment and fulfillment.
If you are keen to advance your education with a graduate degree, contact the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) for a list of master’s and doctoral programs in nursing. Currently, Canada has 21 master's programs in nine provinces. And doctoral programs in nursing are available in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
Advanced preparation in nursing is in demand: nurses with graduate degrees go on to fulfilling careers as leaders in advanced or extended practice in nursing specialties, or the areas of administration, research or education.
In fact, there is a big demand for nursing professors, which are currently in short supply in the Canadian nursing education system. Charged with preparing future generations of RNs, they do their part to help alleviate shortages in the profession. Check with individual universities or colleges for nursing graduate and postdoctoral funding.
Don’t let location or lack of flexibility hold you back from a nursing education, or enhancing the knowledge you already have. Many Canadian nursing degree programs (and three master’s programs) offer education by distance. In some cases you may be able to study from home, in other cases you may need to travel to a nearby “host” university.
Always dreamed of being nurse but other things got in the way? Don’t put it off any longer. It doesn’t matter what your background is, it’s never too late to join the exciting profession of nursing. In fact, many employers value previous work experience in nurses new to the profession.
If you have a degree, there are a variety of accelerated (or post-baccalaureate or second degree) nursing programs. They are intense but worth the effort – they enable you to become a nurse within two years of university study. Many programs are also part-time to accommodate you if you need to work during your studies.
Don’t let age hold you back from making a career switch: the majority of Canadian nurses are over 40. Similarly, there’s no need to be concerned about finding work. The Canadian Nurses’ Association projects a shortage in Canada of 78,000 RNs this year and 113,000 RNs by 2016.
It’s important to keep in mind that some nursing roles, such as staff nurse, may be more physically demanding than other roles such as working in an out-patient clinic, public health or in nursing research. But the great thing about nursing is that there are so many options. Find the right one for you.
In 2009, the number of fast-track nursing education programs increased by 67%.
Source: Nursing Education in Canada Statistics, 2008-2009
Here are more helpful links to nursing programs: