Why an MSN
Your Investment, Your Returns
Earning your MSN can be life-changing, but it's not a decision to make lightly. The program is as demanding as it is rewarding, and the time required is significant. Your MSN is also a considerable financial investment, even when offset by financial aid.
Just as significant, however, are the benefits when you've earned your master's degree. For some, it's about leadership and the chance to shape health care at a higher, more strategic level. For others, it's the opportunity to earn an additional $15,000 or more a year.
One thing is true, however, for all our graduates. The investment of time and money happens over the course of 15 or 24 months. The benefits your investment gives back will last a lifetime.
What's Your Reason?
Lead the Way
Today’s 3 million RNs in the US are the backbone of America’s health care. You have incredible impact on people’s lives through the care you provide.
At the same time, RNs have limited opportunities to help shape the systems they work within, let alone the larger systems of care at a community, regional or even national level.
An MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership opens leadership doors that will empower you to help even more people. It can give you a seat at the table for decisions about care policies and practices and the business of improving health.
Reinvent Your Career
Not all RNs want to advance into leadership. However, without an MSN or doctoral degree, most nurses are already at a career ceiling.
An MSN empowers you to advance your career in any direction, opening choices unavailable to you now. Most nursing specializations require an advanced degree. Some health organizations give preference to applicants with higher education, even for standard RN positions.
An MSN also lets you choose to teach nursing and lead clinical classes, educating and mentoring those who are just starting the journey you’ve already made.
Secure Your Future
As an RN, you know how physically challenging your job can be. Long and demanding shifts, not to mention the stress of working in life-or-death situations day in, day out.
That intensely personal care is what drew you to nursing. It’s vital work you should always be proud of. It’s also hard on the body. Some RNs eventually experience their own health challenges, in part from the physical rigors of their work.
If that’s you today, an MSN opens up new ways to help people with new roles and responsibilities. An MSN ensures that when you’re ready to transition to a different kind of nursing: your options will be wide open.
Live Your Best Life
What matters most to you? Providing for your family? World travel? A nice home? Nurses with an MSN earn $86,000 per year on average, with top salaries in the range of $100,000 per year – significantly more than the $64,000 average income for nurses without an MSN.
Do you struggle with work-life balance? Most MSN jobs have regular hours, more in sync with the schedules of friends and family. Earning more could also mean choosing to work less, giving you more time for loved ones or other pursuits.
Do you value independence and respect in your work? An MSN is a professional signal of greater expertise as well as your commitment to making a difference.
Last but not least, don’t underestimate how good you’ll feel as you earn your MSN. Few things compare to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve climbed to a new level of knowledge, raised the bar in personal accomplishment and pushed yourself to give your very best.
Career Paths for Your MSN
Your online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership will challenge you to think more holistically and strategically about care systems, giving you a bold and broad new view of the paths your career might take. The positions below are just a handful of professions that will open to you when you've earned your MSN.
Why MSN - Career Paths Accordion
Clinical Care Coordinator
Works to ensure the best possible care by coordinating timely, patient-centered services across a range of health care settings and contexts while also managing care costs and efficiencies.
Clinical Systems Manager
Works to improve systems of care in collaboration with families and other care providers with special attention to evidence-based practices.
Infection Control Manager
Much like a quality and safety coordinator, focused on containing and preventing disease in health systems through best-practice policies, education and careful monitoring of care.
Sometimes called a director of nurses or nurse executive, oversees daily care and spearheads new models of care in a variety of health systems; encompasses a wide range of opportunities and responsibilities, from strategic planning to budgeting and staffing.
Works in classrooms, labs, research settings and clinical sites to nurture, teach and mentor nursing students or novice RNs as they begin their nursing journeys.
Leads a nursing unit within a care setting, serving as the eyes and ears of the nursing unit and helping to voice questions, concerns, interests and recommendations to ensure positive outcomes for patients, families and staff.
Combines experience in health care and systems with special knowledge in information management and analytical sciences to provide meaningful data to care providers, people receiving care and their families.
Working at the forefront of care in a role new to most health systems, helps people receiving care for cancer or other select conditions, along with their families, navigate the complexities of different care settings, insurance payment systems and support organizations.
Quality and Safety Coordinator
Works to advance comprehensive health and safety in the workplace via quality assurance programs aligned with local, state and federal accrediting agencies with a focus not on people under care but on nurses and other staff.
Challenges to Consider
Can I afford it?
You may be able to offset some costs with financial aid, but no matter what, your MSN degree will be a significant investment.
One thing to keep in mind is the amount of time in which you are likely to see a return on your investment. Jobs that typically or always require an MSN pay significantly more than most RN positions – often an additional $15,000 or more per year.
For this reason, nurses moving into an MSN career can potentially recoup the cost of the degree within two to three years.
Do I have the time?
The MSN is a rigorous educational undertaking. You'll need time for readings, assignments, collaborations with classmates, exams and more.
A key advantage of the online MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership is that it requires zero time on the UA campus and classes are asynchronous, meaning you log on when you choose.
That means you can do schoolwork in the evenings, early mornings, lunch breaks or split across these times and more – whenever and wherever you can focus on your learning.