Staff Nurse with a MS Nursing degree? - page 3

by NICU<3RN, BSN, MSN, RN | 5,490 Views | 28 Comments

I am wondering if nurses with MSN degrees are hired into staff nurse positions. I am a current RN from a graduate entry (GEP) program (direct entry -- I had a previous Bachelors degree). I have had a very hard time finding a... Read More


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    i think there is some confusion here about what the mn is. some mns are clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners. some are not. i got my mn and worked bedside for years, getting staff nurse pay (some differential for the degree, but not a lot), because i was a single mother of very small kids and i couldn't take a regular 40+ hour job until they got older.

    some bachelor's-in-anything-to-mn programs exist, and for the most part they're good ones, but i have never seen a grad from one get a clinical nurse specialist designation or position because, well, they haven't had the clinical nursing in the field yet. they are in a good position to get there soon, or do research, but nobody expects them to be proficient in a specialty area like nicu. i had one to orient in the icu once and i swear to god she didn't know how to put the stethoscope tips in her ears so she could hear. she had no idea about pressors or preload/afterload, and although she was a very bright woman who would be able to learn this stuff rapidly, she wasn't ready to hit the floor running. she was shocked, because that's not what they told her in school.

    yet another reason to read all the fine print when you embark on a (costly) course of study. is it really preparing you for what you think it is?
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    Good thing here in my country, RN's need to get BSN first before getting their license. And nurses who are master's degree graduates or still taking their master's, get better pay and better staff positions. I will not comment on the programs that are offered in your state, but hey, even though you only have units taken on your master's, it's only right that you get higher salary and positions. But that's not the case at hand,because your master's degree focuses on NICU and not pyschiatric nursing, so i guess your master's is not really needed by your current workplace/employer. And since you DO have units for NICU specialty MASTER's right now, why can't you get hired by NICU employers? I guess they do have a standard/preference in hiring: BSN + experience in similar setting. It's possible to get BSN easily on your part, because the BS degree would be credited and you would only have to take major subjects. But then again, i don't know the specifics on your state.
    Last edit by hannahmaepunk on Jul 7, '11
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    I worked with a MSN CRNP in home care for a while. She had no desire to move up and truly enjoyed the work which is very independent anyway. There are also a lot of MSNs working in school nursing since you have to get credits beyond the BSN to get a level II certificate.

    Many nursing instructors who have MSNs work in hospitals to keep their skills up- just regular bedside nursing jobs. I don't think an MSN is as elite these days as it once was. In fact, that is one reason why I chose to get a graduate degree in something other than nursing. If you have a clear goal of teaching or specializing a MSN is great. Certainly it can never hurt and it makes perfect sense to get some time in the trenches under your belt anyway before you go off to specialize.
    melmarie23 likes this.
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    CXG174 is right. I start NS this fall and we were introduced to the staff at a meet and greet nursing acceptance meeting. I realized that 2 of our instructors are my co-workers at the local hospital I work at (the same hospital we happen to do clinical at, I might add ). They both have MSNs. One is 2 semesters from finishing her PhD and the other writing a book on nursing care plans.
    melmarie23 likes this.
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    Quote from PatMac10, SN
    CXG174 the other writing a book on nursing care plans.
    Oh yippee, just what we need another care plan book.
    AmericanRN, joanna73, and PatMac10,RN like this.
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    Quote from Jules A
    Oh yippee, just what we need another care plan book.
    LMBO! Took the words right out of my mouth! Haha!
    AmericanRN and Jules A like this.
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    You will probably eventually find a staff nurse position, although getting a Master's prior to actual nursing experience in a specialty seems like a waste of time. Masters are often Clinical Nurse Specialists or NPs, requiring you to have bedside experience first. The school will sell you anything...they want your money.

    I have friends who went that route, and in this economy, a Masters with little to no experience didn't help them at all. It just amounts to more debt.
    Jules A likes this.
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    Quote from PatMac10, SN
    LMBO! Took the words right out of my mouth! Haha!
    Hey SOMEBODY has to update the things. You know they are outdated as quick as they come out. Future classes of nursing school students are depending on it!
    Jules A likes this.
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    I am a graduate of a GEP program, probably the same one as the OP. I definitely feel that such programs should all be done away with altogether. Obviously this is all in hindsight. I did my research before starting the program, heck my career before nursing WAS research. It all sounds like a great idea, and even the nurses I asked before the program thought it was a good plan to do a graduate entry if I knew that I wanted to be an NP ultimately. The thing nobody really thinks about is trying to work after getting your RN license in the middle of the program WITHOUT a degree. I kick myself in the butt for not doing an ABSN.

    To the OP, hang in there and look for a job, any job that will get you experience at the bedside. I graduated the GEP in 2010 and was extremely lucky to get hired as a new grad at a hospital that considered the GEP a BSN equivalent and I got paid the same as BSN's. Shoot, I was lucky to get hired PERIOD!!! It was tough for most of my classmates at first, but almost all of us have found jobs as nurses.. maybe not in the hospital (some do home health or community health or clinics). The majority of us are in the hospital setting though. We are almost all working, 1 year later.

    The tough part is if you want to work in another state or transfer to another program when you haven't finished the MSN yet. It was a painstaking process, but I was able to leave IL and get licensed in CA and find a program that will let me finish my MSN there, although not in an NP program. I'll take it though. At this point, I really love being at the bedside and have so much to learn. I'm not worried about the NP part. I did med/surg for a year, and now starting on a tele unit. The hospital I'm in has a NICU and eventually I'd like to get in there!

    To the OP, get your foot in the door in any hospital and get some experience. It will go a long way and you will find your path to the NICU. In my GEP class, we had one student get hired off the bat in the NICU where she did her preceptorship, and another RN hit the jackpot getting a job in the PICU at a hospital we didn't even do clinicals in! So don't feel hopeless. Other GEPers have made it out just fine!


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