If you are pursuing a nursing degree, you have made a good career choice in terms of employment prospects. The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the demand for registered nurses will increase by 26% from 2010 – 2020, creating thousands of new job openings.

Why Add a Minor to Your Nursing Degree?

However, many of those jobs are available only to experienced nurses, not new graduates. How can a new nursing graduate stand out from his or her class and be competitive for a nursing job? Consider adding a minor to your nursing degree. Many students working on their nursing degree have added a minor to broaden their education and improve their competitiveness in the job market. Your choice of minor should reflect your career aspirations within the health care industry.

Nurses Focusing on Patient Care

For example, nurses who envision spending their career working with patients may select a minor in nutrition or psychology. These minors are directly relevant to the understanding the needs of patients. Knowledge of nutrition will enable an attending nurse to better understand the interaction between a patient’s diet and medical interventions such as medications. Similarly, knowledge of psychology will improve a nurse’s ability to interact with patients of diverse backgrounds to provide optimal care.

Nurses Focusing on Working in Low Income Communities

Nurses who want to work in urban or low-income communities (for example, in a community clinic) may want to minor in social work or a foreign language such as Spanish. Understanding the needs and challenges of this community will improve the ability of the nurse to provide care. Foreign language ability, particularly in a language spoken in the geographic area where you plan to work will not only make you a great candidate for employment but may result in extra pay.

Nurses Who Want to Be Leaders

Nurses who desire to move up to leadership positions should consider adding a minor in Health Care Administration. Although a minor in health care administration may not have immediate utility in entry level positions, it will equip you to eventually move up the nursing career ladder to management and leadership positions. Health Care Administration studies are not limited to nursing subjects but encompass the full range of issues involved in running a health care facility.

When making the decision whether or not to complement your nursing degree with a minor, you should consider your long range (five to ten years) career goals. Do you envision yourself working with patients in a hospital setting or low-income community, in a community clinic, or do you want to become a manager or administrator? Your choice of minor should be governed by your goals. Regardless of your choice, the fact that you have completed a minor to complement your nursing degree will only help you be more competitive in the nursing job market.