Many nurses enter the profession with a very focused and passionate drive toward patient care. Others aren’t opposed to that track but also appreciate additional opportunities within the nursing field not focused on only the patient care environment. Fortunately, there are several non-bedside care careers nurses can pursue.
The University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program equips nursing professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a range of specialized careers. A BSN degree is more than just an educational qualification — it’s a gateway to diverse opportunities beyond bedside nursing practice.
The following represents four career paths nurses can follow with a BSN degree: clinical research nurse, director of nursing, public health nurse and quality assurance coordinator. Salary information may vary, but it does help RN to BSN students understand their earning potential.
Clinical Research Nurse
A clinical research nurse plans, implements and monitors clinical trials and research studies. This role is crucial for the advancement of medical knowledge and the development of new treatments. Graduates from USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program are well equipped for this role through courses such as Nursing Research and Leadership & Management. These courses introduce students to “analytical and critical thinking, scientific concepts, methods and decisions, ethical and legal concerns, and techniques essential to the research process” and big-picture knowledge of healthcare and nursing.
According to Indeed, as of 2023, the average salary for a clinical research nurse in the U.S. is just under $111,000 annually (but can go as high as $153,000). This figure can vary depending on experience, location and the type of research involved.
Director of Nursing
A director of nursing holds a leadership position in healthcare facilities and is responsible for overseeing the nursing staff, ensuring high-quality patient care and aligning nursing operations with the facility’s goals. The online RN to BSN program at USC Aiken helps graduates develop leadership skills and a solid understanding of healthcare systems.
As per Indeed, the average salary for a director of nursing in the U.S. is approximately $98,000 annually, with the potential for higher earnings in larger facilities or with additional certifications or degrees. Ultimately, a master’s degree is often necessary to assume the nurse director role, but a BSN degree is the first step towards that goal.
Public Health Nurse
Public health nurses focus on improving community health through education, policy development and direct care. They might work in government agencies, non-profit organizations or educational institutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of public health nursing, as they were responsible for informing communities on important preventative issues, advocating for community resource allocation, preventing disease spread and more. The online RN to BSN program’s Community Health Nursing course is particularly relevant here, imparting skills related to population health and community-focused healthcare. Per the course description, “communicable disease control, principles of epidemiology, health promotion practices, family theories and public health issues” are the focus.
According to Indeed, a public health nurse in the U.S. can expect to earn an average salary of about $68,000 annually. Again, this varies depending on one’s location and level of experience.
Quality Assurance Coordinator
In quality assurance coordinator roles, nurses ensure that healthcare services meet established standards and regulations. They may also be involved in developing policies and procedures to enhance patient care quality. Quality assurance coordinators are often called upon to conduct quality training sessions and perform interviews to guarantee employees follow safety and quality procedures. USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program hones the analytical and organizational skills necessary for this role.
Per Salary.com, the median salary for a quality assurance coordinator in the healthcare sector in the U.S. is just under $91,000 annually.
Remote Work Opportunities in the Nursing Field
Beyond these roles, USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program prepares graduates for the evolving healthcare landscape where remote nursing is becoming increasingly prominent. With a BSN degree, nurses can work remotely in case management, telehealth and health informatics, among other areas, which offers flexibility and an alternative to traditional bedside nursing practice.
Further Your Career Through USC Aiken’s Online RN to BSN Program
USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program is a launchpad for nursing professionals seeking diverse career opportunities. The curriculum cultivates a skill set applicable in various environments. Whether it’s the research-intensive role of a clinical research nurse, the leadership-driven position of a director of nursing, the community-focused path of a public health nurse or the analytical role of a quality assurance coordinator, a BSN degree creates a surplus of avenues beyond bedside nursing.
Learn more about USC Aiken’s online RN to BSN program.