Does MSN make a difference?

  1. I don't even have my BSN yet and wasn't even considering an MSN, but I really did like being in school and was just wondering if there are any major reasons to do it. Also, I'm slightly confused.....is NP the same as MSN? (sorry if that sounds stupid....)
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Ok, I'm no expert in the matter, but from what I understand:

    MSN doesn't necessarily make you an advanced practice nurse, but it can if its directed towards Advanced Practice. An NP is an advanced practice nurse, but may not have a masters.

    A masters is required or preferred if you want to go into teaching, higher into management, do research, or get your PhD.

    This is my understanding so far, but I could be wrong. If I am, then someone please correct me!
  4. by   user9876
    Quote from S.T.A.C.E.Y
    MSN doesn't necessarily make you an advanced practice nurse, but it can if its directed towards Advanced Practice. An NP is an advanced practice nurse, but may not have a masters.

    i thought MSN did = NP, and that an NP must have a masters....?
  5. by   sirI
    Yes, now all APNs are Masters prepared. No exceptions. In the past, one could be NP with any RN preparation. Then, after approximately 4 years doing a preceptorship with a board certified physician in their specialty of choice (such as OB-GYN), they could sit for a national examination and receive certification as NP.

    But, MSN does not equal NP. One can receive MSN without preparation as APN.

    MSN is valuable if one is seeking career as educator, too. Many institutions require MSN in order to be an instructor in any RN program. And, PhD is often the required degree. But, some programs will accept MSN if working on PhD.
  6. by   Tweety
    There are MSN is areas of education, health law, leadership, health care administration, maternal nursing, etc.

    All of our top nursing administrators are masters prepared in something, either MSN or Health Care Administration, MBA's, etc. (I'm talking vice presients and directors the one's making the big bucks including the VP and his six figure salary). Some larger hospitals even require their managers to be mastered prepared.

    As Siri says above Nurse Practioiners are prepared at a Masters Level.

    My advice to you would be finish your BSN, work a little to get a feel for what your interested in, what your goals are and then perhaps persue a higher degree, unless you already have your goals figured out.

    Note that not all MSNs make a salary that's as good as say a floor nurse that works agency and does a little overtime. Again, it depends on what your goals are?

    Good luck!
  7. by   llg
    MSN is an academic degree awarded by an educational institution.

    NP is a role -- and the NP certification required to practice that role is granted by a professional organization (not an academic institution). When you graduate from a school after taking an NP program, you are eligible to take the test for NP certification.

    Some advanced roles in nursing (in teaching, administration, and practice) require an MSN. For example, advanced staff development roles, Clinical Nurse Specialist roles, some program coordinator roles, etc. require an MSN but do not involve the type of patient care that requires NP certification.

    Other roles (predominently direct patient care roles) require NP certification because they involve clinical assessments and interventions that are not covered by the basic nurse practice act unless the person is a certified NP.

    Originally, the NP role was created as a "physician extender" role -- and those are the type of clinical skills emphasized by NP education. However, the role has evolved beyond that to include many other aspects of advanced practice nursing.

    Those with MSN's who are not NP's have specialized in those other advanced practice functions such as education, research, management, "traditional" nursing practice, and program coordination -- but have not focused on the acquistion of the assessments and interventions usually associated with a "physician extender" role.

    Which path is better? Neither. They are both good. It all depends on where your interests lie. For me, as a neonatal nurse, the Neonatal NP role was never appealing. I never wanted to write "medical" orders, do intubations, etc. I wanted to focus on helping the staff nurses be the best staff nurses they could be and work to improve the nursing care the patients received. So I became a neonatal CNS instead of a neonatal NP. Other people have different preferences and choose to be NP's. We need both.
  8. by   llg
    Quote from Tweety

    Note that not all MSNs make a salary that's as good as say a floor nurse that works agency and does a little overtime. Again, it depends on what your goals are?

    Good luck!

    That's an important thing to point out, Tweety. It's the nature of the work that changes when one is "promoted" to a job that requires an MSN. The compensation doesn't always improve much. However, I have found that most of those MSN jobs involve better hours and working conditions than staff nursing. Many of those jobs are also easier on the body as a person ages. That may not be universally true, but it is often true.
  9. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Quote from siri
    Yes, now all APNs are Masters prepared.
    So you must have an Masters to apply to the NP program, from which you could be certified/licenced as an NP.

    or

    You apply to the NP program from which you recieve a masters degree, and are then certified/licenced as an NP?
  10. by   Katnip
    You apply for a Master's program that includes the NP certification you want.

    For example: you will get an MSN with a concentration as NP of Famliy Medicine.
  11. by   nursekatie22
    I'm not even sure I want to do an MSN and I'm 75% sure I don't want to teach, but I was just wondering about the specifics. I had no idea you could specialize within the MSN, but that's great because I love OB and it would be a fun thing to do. Maybe I'm just a masochist
  12. by   sirI
    Hello, S.T.A.C.E.Y.

    Yes, the latter.

    Those seeking NP can enter the enter NP program, select specialty area such as OB-GYN, Peds, Neonatal, Psych, Acute Care, Geriatrics, etc., and when graduate from program, MSN will be conferred. Then, sit for certification in area of specialty.

    I did the 4 year (full time) preceptorship many years ago - in OB/GYN with a board certified OB/GYN specialist. Took a 6 month intensive course in OB/GYN and then, sat for national boards and was certified as OB-GYN NP. All this as ADN. Sought MSN years later and did a post-grad certification in FNP (Family Practice NP).
  13. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Thanks to Siri and cyberkat for clearing up my misunderstanding.
  14. by   nursekatie22
    How long after BSN does it take to do MSN and NP (if I feel so moved)?

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