Nursing is a well-established medical career. Traditionally, nurses worked under the supervision and direction of a physician and provided direct patient care. Their duties involved tasks such as changing dressings, updating medical charts, and monitoring patients.
Over time, the nursing profession has evolved. Nurses can choose a specialization and focus on a specific field of medicine. Nurses can also assume a leadership role in healthcare. This is just one of the reasons to consider earning a master’s degree in nursing.
You’ll increase your career options with a master of science (MSN) degree in nursing.
MSN programs offer several specializations that can equip you with the skills and training required for several career options. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are nurses who’ve completed graduate studies and qualify to work as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or nurse anesthetists.
Nurse practitioners can opt to choose a specialization. They may focus on pediatric medicine, gerontology, or patients with mental and behavioral health issues. Family nurse practitioners are primary healthcare providers.
Family nurse practitioners perform many of the same tasks doctors perform. Nurse practitioners may treat patients throughout their lifetime. They evaluate patients, order medical tests, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medication.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners may work alongside psychiatrists to treat patients with several mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In addition to treating mental illness, they may also work with patients with behavioral health issues, such as those struggling with a substance use disorder.
APRNs include nurse-midwives. Nurse-midwives are primary healthcare providers who focus on treating female patients. Delivering babies is only part of their focus. These APRNs also provide prenatal care and reproductive healthcare.
Nurse anesthetists give patients anesthesia. They evaluate patients before surgery, monitor patients during surgery, and treat patients who are in pain.
A master’s degree opens the door to teaching opportunities. Nurse educators may work in postsecondary institutions and teach students studying to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing. Nurses with an MSN are also qualified to work as legal nurse consultants. They provide information for attorneys and may perform research to assist with medical lawsuits.
Completing an MSN program increases your job stability.
Nurses with a master’s degree enjoy more job stability than those with a diploma or bachelor’s degree because of the range of career options they can pursue. There’s also higher demand for nurses with an MSN.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) could anticipate a seven percent job growth rate from 2019 to 2029. While this is higher than the projected four percent average job growth rate for all occupations during the same decade, it’s significantly lower than the job growth projections for APRNs. The BLS expects jobs for nurse midwives, anesthetists, and practitioners to grow by 12 percent, 14 percent, and 52 percent, respectively, during the same 10-year period. The BLS also projects that postsecondary nursing educators will see jobs increase by 18 percent between 2019 and 2029.
Once you’ve earned a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), earned your RN license, and acquired a year of clinical hours, you’ll qualify to start your master in nursing program. It’s possible to earn an MSN degree through an online program. With online coursework, you’ll be able to continue working while you study, and you won’t have to relocate to complete your coursework. You can choose a specialization and focus on family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care, or psychiatric and mental health care studies.
After earning your MSN, you can continue your studies and earn a post-graduate APRN certificate, a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, or a Ph.D. in Nursing.
You’ll earn more money.
The median annual salary for RNs was $73,300 in 2019, according to the BLS. The BLS reported that the same year, postsecondary nurse educators earned median salaries of $74,600. Per the BLS, the 2019 median salaries for nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners were $105,030, $174,790, and $109,820, respectively.
Earning a master’s degree in nursing will increase your job stability and increase your income. Thanks to online MSN programs, it’s easier than ever to pursue graduate studies that can enable you to pursue several career options.