Is getting an MSN worth it?

  1. 1
    I have a BSN and have been working as a critical care RN for 6 years. I applied to get my MSN online and waiting for my acceptance letter. As I wait for it, I'm wondering if I'm getting my MSN for the right reason.

    I don't really know what my goal is. All I know is that getting an MSN helps me advance my career, but I am not even sure exactly what I want to do. All I know is I want to work in public health with refugees/immigrants or the elderly population. Any input would be appreciated.
    MochaRN424 likes this.
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    The most important thing to decide is what you want to do with the degree. There are dozens of options regarding the kind of MSN degree you can get (Advanced practice/CNS, education, clinical nurse leader, informatics, healthcare administration, leadership/management etc.) Regardless of the area you hope to end up in, I think any additional education sets you apart from the fold.
  6. 2
    I think in your case an MSN is NOT the right choice - for now. Maybe spend the next year interviewing and possibly shadowing several MSNs in a variety of clinical and non-clinical roles. If nothing about that experiecne reaches out and 'grabs' you- then maybe you don't need a MSN.

    It would be a pity to spend thousands of dollars and deprive a place in an MSN program to someone with clear career goals because you vaguely think an MSN will help you advance- when you are unsure of the direction of the advance.
    besaangel and sallyrnrrt like this.
  7. 0
    I'm usually not one to discourage people from pursuing further education, but, if you don't have a clear idea of what "flavor" of MSN you want to get and what you're going to do with it, I suggest you hold off and do further research. If you have a clear idea at this point that you want to work in public health with immigrants and/or the elderly, you don't need a graduate degree for that. Maybe you could start by looking for a public health job and "get your feet wet" in that specialty before investing a lot of time, effort, and $$$ in a graduate degree.

    Best wishes for your journey!
  8. 3
    I agree with the previous posters. In general, I think getting a graduate degree in nursing is a great idea for anyone who wants to advance their career. It opens up a lot of possibilities that are simply not there for people who don't have graduate degrees.

    However, as others have said ... you should figure out "what you want to be when you grow up" before you go to graduate school, not after. Undergraduate education prepares you to be a generalist. Graduate education prepares you to be a specialist in something. So it is a waste of time, energy, and money to get a specialty education unless you want to work in that particular specialty. Take a little time and figure out what type of work you want to do. Talk to people, explore roles and the preparation necessary for those roles, get a job in the general field that interests you to develop a foundation of knowledge of knowledge and skills -- and to to see if you like that field as much as you think you will. Get to know some people who do the type of work you want to do, etc.

    Then, after you have explored a little and gotten your feet wet in the specialty of your choice ... if that specialty is still attractive to you and you know what type of work you want to do in that field ... you will be ready to choose a graduate program that will meet your needs and help move your career forward in the direction of your choise. Far too many people go to grad school prematurely, investing a lot in that education, etc. only to find that they don't really like the types of roles the degree prepared them for. They are tired, bitter, and deeply in debt with a graduate degree that doesn't meet their needs. Don't make that mistake. Go to grad school -- but wait until you are ready to make a good choice.
    VegetasGRL03RN, myelin, and elkpark like this.
  9. 0
    You said you applied to MSN. How did you apply without knowing which specialty you are interested in. I got accepted to BSN-DNP in Family Practice so from the first start of this journey my goal was to become NP in Family. Along the way I am unlike some others working to reach that goal and I know exactly which steps to take and what next. I agree with others know what you want first before walking that path. It sure is costing lots of money, time and energy.
  10. 0
    I feel the exact way you do, jensfbay, with the exception that I am already in MSN school. I thought I wanted to go into health policy but some times I don't know because I don't want a desk job. I've been a nurse for 20 years and have worked in corporate America as a case manager for 15 of those 20 years. I am burned out of desk work and want to feel excited about being a nurse again. That said, I will continue in MSN school because I do think I want to do health policy and the options are endless. To answer the other people who asked about how you applied if you don't know what you want to do-you do have to choose a specialty track, but you can change it when you want. The first year of grad school is the same courses every MSN student has to take. The 2nd year you take your core courses, based on what track you choose. So, you have the first year to decide what track you want to take. You will take basic classes for each track in the first year which will help you decide what you do or don't want to specialize in. I am taking an Informatics class right now, and I know I do NOT want to get my MSN in Informatics, thanks to this class. So the first year may help you more decide what you don't want to specialize in, which at the same time will help you narrow down what you do want to do. I say go for it with MSN school. You will have an advantage over nurses who don't have a MSN, AND there is a push for nurses to get advanced degrees. Fortunately you have your BSN, so you always have that to fall back on if you decide MSN school is not for you. I hope this helps and again, GO FOR IT!
  11. 0
    I would not apply for a graduate degree without a good idea of what your career goals are AND how that degree will get you there.
  12. 1
    Quote from carolina1969;7284554uh
    To answer the other people who asked about how you applied if you don't know what you want to do-you do have to choose a specialty track, but you can change it when you want. The first year of grad school is the same courses every MSN student has to take. The 2nd year you take your core courses, based on what track you choose. So, you have the first year to decide what track you want to take. You will take basic classes for each track in the first year which will help you decide what you do or don't want to specialize in. I am taking an Informatics class right now, and I know I do NOT want to get my MSN in Informatics, thanks to this class. So the first year may help you more decide what you don't want to specialize in, which at the same time will help you narrow down what you do want to do.
    That may be how things work at your school, but it's not true for every school. In the graduate program I attended, and plenty of others, you apply and get accepted into a specific track/specialty and it's difficult or impossible to change tracks once you've been accepted.
    llg likes this.
  13. 0
    Think of it as an investment. You probably wouldnt just go buy a house without knowing what kind, where, how much you're willing to spend. You can go and start the classes and see if anything catches your eye. I just dont think that's a wise way of spending thousands of dollars, time and energy. But heck maybe you're 22 with tons of money and bored.


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