The Master of Science in Nursing degree is the next step for the Registered Nurse who wants to move to the next level of responsibility. A MSN can help you pursue a myriad of opportunities. There are many areas of specialties from which to choose.
The coursework for the MSN is typically centered upon critical thinking, research, assessment, diagnosis, innovative treatment, communication, evaluation, and problem solving. This advanced degree does require advanced skills and the coursework will be rigorous.
However, with a MSN you can pursue a number of positions in the nursing field. If you are interested in education, nursing education is a path you may consider. Nurse educators typically educate other nurses, but they also often provide training and information for patients and the community. The education you provide could be anything from breast-feeding to diabetes self-care. Much depends upon demand, and your specialty area.
Nurse administrator is another option for the registered nurse with the MSN. This field helps you transition into more managerial, organizational, and executive work. You will not have much interaction with patients, but you will manage the nurses who do. You will help find ways to make the organization you work for more efficacious and effective.
Nurse practitioner is another pathway for the registered nurse pursuing her MSN. There are many specialties within the NP field of study. Midwifery, women’s health, pediatrics, anesthesia, cardiac, oncology, neonatal, acute care, geriatrics, and many more are all areas nurse practitioners choose to specialize in.
Typically, the MSN is at least a four semester program. But some programs require more semesters because you will attend during the summer. You should count on about two years to get this extra training. There are full-time programs and part-time programs. So you want to look around for the one that best meets your needs. Focus on the schools known for the specific area you want to pursue.
Job opportunities are better for nurses with their MSN. And your earnings will increase as well. The Bureau of Labor estimates that you can enjoy a 20% bump in salary over nurses with only a bachelors degree. For nurses with this advanced degree, The Bureau also reports faster than average job growth and high demand. If you are considering continuing your education past your masters degree, then obviously this is a good move to make. In order to get a doctorate, you must first possess the MSN. Many nurses do opt to get the additional training, especially NPs.
If you are considering this advanced degree, then you are in good company. Many fine nurses choose to gain more training and more knowledge in order to provide better care for their patients. Your job security and satisfaction will grow with the attainment of this degree. The MSN degree path is arduous, but rewarding. You will feel more confident and enjoy more autonomy on the job. Gaining this extra training is a wise decision for the Registered Nurse.