Online RN to MSN
Clinical Systems Leadership

5 Reasons Nurses Should Get an MSN

Advanced degrees open up a world of opportunity, especially if you are a nurse. Going beyond traditional schooling to get a Master of Science in Nursing will place a nurse above the competition — and keep him or her knowledgeable about the latest technology and innovation.

Here are five reasons nurses should pursue an MSN and how an MSN can mean increased specialization.


Image via Flickr by A&M-Commerce

An MSN Leads to Specialized Fields
An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing prepares a graduate for generalized fields. However, a master’s degree is necessary for expertise in specialized fields. Experts say some of the most popular healthcare fields that require nurses include:

• Family Nurse Practitioner – A doctor’s office or small clinic will need a family nurse practitioner. As the practitioner becomes more experienced and obtains the advanced degree, he or she will interact more with patients, diagnose symptoms and suggest treatment.
• Gerontology – As people live longer, the aging population increases. The demand for skilled health-care professionals also increases. Nurse practitioners in the gerontology field handle the primary care of older adults and the diseases that affect them. Careers in this field may also include social effects of disease and mental impacts.
• Midwifery – Though the practice of coaching women in childbirth is an ancient one, modern innovation has advanced the midwifery field. Midwives are not necessarily utilized only for childbirth; a number of the specialists work with OB/GYNs to help with prenatal and postnatal care, as well as delivery.
• Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – Infants may need just as much help once they leave the womb. A neonatal nurse is trained to assist physicians in the special care of babies and to help families through the experience.
• Nurse Anesthetist – A nurse anesthetist has strong opportunities to have a job anywhere surgery requires anesthesia, which means there should be no shortage of work. This discipline requires being able to calculate the correct dosage for a patient, assisting the physician during surgery and giving the patient and his or her family advice on care after release.

Ensure Job Security
When layoffs loom in the health-care field, less-experienced workers may be let go first. Choosing a specialization creates more job stability. In the case of a layoff or hiring freeze, having an MSN may help in subsequent job searches.

Earn More Money
People with MSNs can earn between $80,000 and $90,000 a year. Some of the highest-paying nursing jobs that require MSNs include nurse anesthetist, nurse researcher, midwife and gerontological nurse practitioner.

Teach Others
Nurses who are deemed experts in their field are qualified to teach others. For someone who wants to be in academia, a master’s degree is a minimum; a doctorate level nursing degree (DNP) is the minimum requirement to teach at the university level. Nurses with MSNs can teach in many settings other than academia, such as leading clinical classes or teaching nurses within their health care facility.

MSN As Stepping Stone
A master’s degree may also be one step in the journey to receive a doctorate or become a medical doctor. If a nurse wants to go to medical school to become a physician, nursing credentials may help with admission. A nurse can also earn the title of doctor without a medical degree; the MSN is the second step toward receiving a doctorate in nursing.

Earning an MSN offers many opportunities for career advancement and should be a consideration for anyone in the nursing field.

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