Nurses are incredibly special individuals. If you work in this field, you know all about compassion, high-pressure situations, and critical thinking. You have a lot of experience helping people and adapting to ever-changing medical knowledge and information. To be a nurse, you have to get your RN degree and spend time in different rotations to understand all the different areas of medicine. If you’re looking to grow and expand your career, you may even be interested in going back to school to move beyond being a registered nurse. This is where you can get your Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN degree.
Holding an MSN gives you more knowledge and provides the opportunity to go further in your nursing career. You can continue similar work to what you were already doing as a nurse practitioner, work more on the research side, or teach other eager young people how to become nurses. Holding an MSN gives you a number of areas you can specialize in that you may not be able to explore with just your bachelor’s degree or a special certificate. Getting your master’s degree in nursing can lead to a number of careers within healthcare. Let’s explore just a few of those opportunities.
How does an MSN differ from an RN?
When it comes to the medical field, there can be a lot of letters defining what qualifications each healthcare provider holds. Doctors may have letters like MD, PhD, DO, DDS, and more. Well, nurses have these differentiations as well. To become a practicing nurse, you’ll need to graduate from nursing school and get your registered nurse certification in your state. This means you’ll be an RN, or registered nurse, ready to practice. An MSN stands for a master’s of science in nursing. You’ll have to go back to school to get your master’s degree if you want those letters as well. Getting an MSN is the most straight-forward way to become a nurse practitioner, or NP. As you look for degree programs, be sure you know what your ultimate goals are for your nursing career. This will help you best understand what form of higher education to pursue.
One of the beauties of an MSN RN degree is the ability to specialize in different areas. Nurses have the ability to work in pediatrics, emergency care, or surgery, and with an MSN, you’ll be able to help shape and change the future of those specific areas. Certain programs will focus on different forms of medicine and give you specific clinical hours. So if you want to work with family medicine, geriatrics, or psychiatric care, you can look for specific MSN schools that offer those programs. If you want to research types of seizures or mental healthcare, you can find a place to further that specific career. As you look to get a further degree, have some thoughts as to what area of medicine you’d like to study specifically.
One of the biggest reasons people get an MSN is to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). And the most common APRN profession is becoming a nurse practitioner (NP). NPs have many of the same capabilities and responsibilities that doctors have. They practice primary and emergency care, can write prescriptions, monitor chronic conditions, and provide empathetic care. In almost half of the states in the U.S., NPs have full autonomy to take care of their patients. In the other half, they simply require a physician’s oversight. The main difference between the two is the difference in schooling and clinical training, but the truth is, most patients may not even be able to tell the difference.
Nurse Practitioners have much more freedom than nurses. Being able to prescribe medicine at the pharmacy is a huge perk. This means patients can visit the pharmacist and get medications and cures that will work efficiently without having to schedule too many appointments. NPs can also recommend an Rx search tool that combs through the drug list to find the lowest cost medicine for their patients. By helping your patients pay less for capsules and tablets, you’re proving to them how much you care about their overall health. This is why NPs often recommend sites and apps like USA Rx that can bring savings to everyone.
Research and Development
Maybe you enjoy the science of nursing and medicine much more than you enjoy interactions with patients. Well, after finishing your MSN program, you may be able to explore a specialization within research and development. With your critical thinking skills, you can develop and learn more about the science of medications or health side effects. Even within this, there are specializations. For example, if you’re someone who uses daily supplements and vitamins, you may be able to partner with supplement manufacturing companies on the formulation of new tablets or powders. You can create dietary supplements and help them get approved by the FDA to help people across the globe advance their own health. This is just one area where you can work to better healthcare as a clinical nurse researcher.
Every team needs a leader. After you get your MSN degree, you may be able to look into jobs as an Executive Nurse Leader (ENL). These are the individuals that help run a hospital or nursing staff. You would work as a business executive as well as a healthcare expert. This is a good job for someone who enjoys responsibility and cooperating with a wide array of individuals.
For many individuals, getting a master’s degree or higher education is all about teaching future generations about your chosen field. An MSN can do just that for nursing professionals. This diploma can allow you to become a nurse educator and shape the young minds that want to go into the same field. This is a great field for individuals who enjoy mentoring and look forward to teaching and helping others. Most nurse educators will continue practicing medicine as well. So you can have the best of both worlds by practicing your craft and teaching a new crop of students to be great nurses.