As with many professional careers, experience and education are essential for advancement in nursing. Many nurses enter the professional as a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse, but to progress into leadership roles, become a nurse practitioner, or specialize in many different areas of the profession, an advanced degree is often required. Getting a master’s in nursing (MSN) degree is one of the best ways to find more opportunities for growth in your career and take it to where you would like it to go. We’ve put together some of the main reasons why it’s worth investing in an MSN and what you could do with it.
Work as a Nurse Practitioner:
If you want to enjoy a higher level of responsibility and autonomy in your nursing career, then you might want to consider training to become a nurse practitioner. These advanced practice nurses are in high demand right now as in many states, they do not need to work under the supervision of a primary care physician and are permitted to diagnose conditions, prescribe medications and more independently. Due to the national shortage of doctors, nurse practitioners are hired to fill this significant gap, particularly in rural areas. If you want to work as a nurse practitioner, an MSN degree qualification is required as a minimum. Visit the Malek School of Nursing to find out more.
Further Career Opportunities:
Gaining a master’s degree in nursing will open up several further opportunities to you when it comes to your career. Nursing is a professional pathway that offers a wide range of career opportunities whether you are looking to work with a certain demographic of patient, in specific healthcare settings, or in a leadership or management role. If you’ve decided that you want to move further from being a registered nurse and have a specialist career goal in mind, it’s likely that a master’s degree will be needed for you to achieve this. The job market for advanced nurses is set to grow even further in the future, meaning that nurses who hold a master’s degree are going to be in higher demand for a wide range of career positions.
If you are passionate about a particular area of healthcare or nursing and want to focus on it solely in your career, a master’s degree will help you take your career in that direction. Depending on where you want to specialize, a master’s degree might be required while in some cases, professional certification and on-the-job training will suffice. When getting your master’s degree in nursing, you can often choose to focus more on one area of nursing such as pediatrics, gerontology, or neonatal care throughout the program.
Improve Your Skills:
Along with diving deeper into certain aspects of nursing and improving your knowledge and expertise as a nurse, a master’s degree in nursing is also designed to help you develop a further range of skills that will be essential to your career. Getting a master’s degree can be one of the best ways to develop and fine-tune your professional skillset, giving you the chance to master new techniques and equipment that you did not cover during your undergraduate education.
Leadership and Management:
If you want to move your nursing career away from the front line of healthcare and spend more time behind the scenes managing healthcare environments and teams, a master’s degree could be your ticket into a nursing management or leadership career. Nurse executives and managers will often serve on the board of hospitals and other healthcare environments, or work in a prominent role within the healthcare organization managing teams and overseeing patient care.
With a master’s degree in nursing, you are a step further towards nursing academics, where you could be teaching the next generation of nurses what you know and shaping the future of the profession. A doctorate in nursing is usually required to go on to teach nursing at the college or university level, although some nursing tutors are only required to gain a master’s degree depending on where and what you would like to teach.
What to Consider When Choosing a Master’s Program:
If you’ve decided that you would like to get a master’s degree in nursing, there are various factors to consider which will help you make the right decision for you and get a degree that ultimately supports your overall career goals.
Consider the following:
What You Enjoy:
While you can get a generic master’s degree in nursing, there are also options to specialize with your degree if you enjoy a certain area of nursing more than others. If you’ve decided that you enjoy pediatric nursing, for example, a master’s degree in pediatric nursing will help you learn things that are relevant to this specialty and improve your chance of finding a position.
How to Study:
How you want to get your nursing master’s degree is always worth considering. For many nurses looking to advance in their careers, it’s important to find a degree program that is flexible to fit around their current working hours. If you plan to continue working full-time as a registered nurse while you study, an online program could be the best choice for you. Online programs are flexible and self-led, allowing you to fit them around your current commitments easily.
Your Career Goals:
What do you want to eventually do with your career as a result of getting a master’s degree in nursing? If you want to become a nurse manager or leader, for example, a general MSN degree might be ideal, or you could look for a master’s degree with a strong emphasis on management. On the other hand, if you aspire to become a family nurse practitioner, you may want to consider a program that is developed especially for students who would like to get into this advanced career role upon graduation.
A master’s degree in nursing can open up further opportunities for your career and help you take your work to the next level. If you want to move on from being a registered nurse, a master’s degree in nursing can turn your career goals into reality.