An MSN degree is a high-level nursing qualification that can open up many more nursing job opportunities and roles to you as you progress through your career. If you are already a practicing RN or are considering becoming a nurse, then looking into MSN degrees is a great way to plan your nursing career path. There are plenty of opportunities for career advancement within the nursing industry, and the more advanced roles require higher levels of qualification and experience. Here are just a few of the benefits of an MSN degree and some of the many possible career outcomes.
What is an MSN?
An MSN is a master’s of science in nursing, and this is just one of the many qualifications that a nurse can hold. They provide a higher level of education and specialist training in a specific area of nursing and are usually for practicing RNs who already hold a BSN degree. In general, the pathway to becoming a nurse looks something like this:
1. Completing a BSN at an accredited nursing program
2. Passing the licensing exams for the state you want to practice in
3. Working in general nursing to explore different areas and specialisms within the industry
4. Completing an MSN to further your education and advance your career
5. Working in your chosen specialism, such as Family Practice, Leadership or as a Nurse Educator
6. Taking a DNP, which is one of the highest levels of qualification that a nurse can hold
Who is it for?
MSN degrees are generally for registered nurses who are practicing and already have a BSN degree. However, there are courses like the masters in nursing program that are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject and want to train as a nurse.
The courses offer an accelerated learning experience, preparing you to undertake your licensing exams in 20 months, and are taught online with practical, in-person placements and clinical hours. This is what is known as blended learning, which is the combination of online learning and in-person learning and provides the opportunity to put into practice your new nursing skills. With a course like this, you can still pursue your dream nursing career, even if that has not been your plan from the beginning.
There are certain skills and characteristics that combine with technical knowledge in order to make a great nurse. These include:
Nurses have to speak with many different people, who may not have the same level of medical understanding as them. There is a lot of patient and family education involved in nursing, and it is important for nurses to know how and when to adapt their communication techniques to suit the situation.
Although in some states certain nursing roles, such as nurse practitioners, are able to practice independently, many nurses are part of a larger team of healthcare professionals and other individuals, and must all work together in order to reach the best conclusion for the patient.
Nursing is physically demanding, and you will be on your feet for many hours a day, as well as lifting machinery and patients. Physical stamina will help keep you fit and safe to complete your shifts, and emotional stamina will help you keep good boundaries and help prevent issues such as compassion fatigue and burnout.
This is sympathy combined with the drive to fix whatever is causing a patient distress and is often a trait that leads many into working in the medical industry.
This is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another in order to better understand their feelings and emotions. In nursing, this can help patients feel calmer and more comfortable.
Patient advocacy is at the heart of the Hippocratic Oath and includes keeping your patient safe, offering the highest level of care possible, and making sure their rights are upheld at all times.
Willingness to Learn
With constant developments in the medical industry, nurses must be willing and able to adapt and learn new ideas, methods and technologies in order to provide the most up-to-date levels of care to their patients.
This is the ability to objectively look at a situation and make a judgment on it. Nurses have to constantly use their judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making skills in order to come to the best conclusions for their patients, often in pressurized situations.
What are the career outcomes?
The higher the level of a nursing career, the higher the level of qualifications are required in order to be eligible for these roles. MSN degrees can prepare you to specialize in a specific area of nursing as a Nurse Practitioner, such as:
- Adult-Gerontology, Primary Care, Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Other nursing careers that an MSN degree can prepare you to work in can include:
APRNs – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses cover four different specialist areas: Certified Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Nurse Specialist, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. APRNs hold an MSN or DNP, depending on their role.
Educators – Nurse educators help to teach and train the next generation of nurses in setting such as universities and colleges. This is an ideal role for those who wish to teach and inspire and continue to practice in a clinical setting.
Leadership – Nursing leadership roles include Patient Care Directors, Head Nurses, and Chief Nursing Officers, and these are the individuals who represent their healthcare organization and implement change.
Becoming a nurse is a challenging yet rewarding career path, and there are many levels of qualifications that are required in order to advance in this industry. MSN degrees are a great way to expand your knowledge and your career, allowing you to provide a high level of medical and emotional support to individuals and communities while developing your professional and personal skills and making you a great addition to the workplace or healthcare team.