Staff Nurse with a MS Nursing degree?

  1. 1
    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 job in a hospital or in a unit I am interested in due to the fact that I do not have a bachelors IN nursing, even though my classes were taken at the Master's degree level. I do not have a Master's degree yet, but will in 2 years as a Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist.

    Currently I am working as a psychiatric nurse in a non-hospital setting but have ALWAYS dreamed of being a NICU nurse. I will be graduating with my neonatal CNS in 2 years. However, I do not want to start working as a CNS immediately because it truly is my dream to be a NICU nurse for at least 5-10 years (or more!). Do you think a hospital would consider hiring me into a staff RN position with a Masters degree?

    I truly wish I had chosen to do the bachelors degree program instead of the masters degree program.. because then I would be able to get a NICU job now and not have to worry about this.. I thought that it would look "better" to have this higher level education in order to get a job.. but hospital policies have become very stringent in the past year (where I live) and now ONLY take BSN students..
    lindarn likes this.

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  2. 28 Comments...

  3. 1
    Good question. IT could be according to your location. Around here both A.D.N and BSN graduates are finding jobs just fine. It doesn't make sense to refuse someone with a higher level of education, or at least who already has a BS and will have a higher level of nursing education up completion of NNCNS MSN degree. I guess your technically at an in between. So if you don't have a BSN and not quite a MSN, what degree are you considered to have in nursing? And A.D.N? Diploma? You must have at least the equivalent of a BSN if not more. I am aware that many Direct entry/ RN-MSN programs don't grant a BSN along the way though, so that can sometimes put students in theses program in a hard place. Maybe things will work out soon. I would definitely inquire of the hospitals Nursing Recruiter or Nursing administration of your particular and peculiar situation.
    IF I may ask, how are you enjoying your CNS program? I've been debating whether to pursue FNP or Psychiatric CNS/PMHNP (so I can do Psychotherapy, which I could also do as a Psychiatric/ Mental Health NP as well). I'm still "iffy" on whether I want the responsibility of prescription writing. Thanks in advance!
    lindarn likes this.
  4. 7
    Just out of curiosity....How did you get into a NICU CSN program, without NICU experience??
    AmericanRN, joanna73, tvccrn, and 4 others like this.
  5. 6
    Yes , how you will have that kind of masters degree without any experience? Sorry, I don't want to seem mean, but the people who allowed this happen are unrealistic. You need to have nursing experience first.
    joanna73, tvccrn, lindarn, and 3 others like this.
  6. 1
    I agree with what others have written.

    I'm a psych CNS. I had two jobs as a staff nurse before I got CNS jobs, but I had my RN and also already worked at both places before I started graduate school. Both staff nurse jobs led to CNS jobs at the two places, but it took awhile. There are a few big drawbacks to working as an RN when you have a MSN. At least these were in-play for me. First, you don't get paid any differently than the other RNs. Your education isn't recognized in the pay scale. Second, you can only do things within the scope of practice of an RN. You can't do advanced practice things, even though you're educationally qualified. Third, even though you can't do advanced practice things, you're held more highly accountable for knowledge an advanced practice nurse should have, compared to the RN. It's a catch 22 thing. Also, you'd be well-advised to get malpractice insurance at the advanced practice level, and that's significantly more expensive than RN malpractice insurance.
    lindarn likes this.
  7. 1
    Quote from nicu<3rn
    i am wondering if nurses with msn degrees are hired into staff nurse positions.
    yes, nurses with msn degrees are hired into staff rn positions. in fact, i know many staff nurses with a master’s degree in nursing these days!! in fact, just about everybody has one! by the way, clinical specialty positions in some places are usually only open to those with work experience and connections. good luck!
    lindarn likes this.
  8. 1
    Since it is a direct entry program that enbles you to star working toward an MSN as a NNCNS fro the get go. I'm surprised the program still doesn't require you to seek out employment ina NICU after getting you RN, but may that's a flaw in the program; they should have awarded a BSN so you could find work easier in your area. It seems that if you can get NICU job within the next few months then by the time you graduates as a NNCNS you will have at least a year of NICU experience under your belt, plus (I'm assuming) a year of psych nursing experience. Not that psych experience will be a major help in becoming a NICU CNS, but still it would equal up to 2 years of nursing experience by the time you graduate with your MSN! I have all confidence that something will work out for you! Do well!
    lindarn likes this.
  9. 4
    I hope the OP will reply to this--because I know that all the NNP direct entry programs require NICU experience before going to the masters portion. I thought that NCNS would follow suit.

    Seriously though, if they didn't, I really think you got screwed OP. NICU is an entirely different animal than the world of nursing and I can't imagine a unit that would want to hire a NCNS without any NICU experience. You just wouldn't be able to work with staff very well because you would have no idea what it's like to be a NICU nurse. Not saying this to be mean...just stark honesty.

    If you're hoping to be just a RN in the unit, you would have a better chance.

    Which school did you go to?
    lindarn, Otessa, Old.Timer, and 1 other like this.
  10. 4
    Since you can't sling a dead cat without hitting a college or university in San Diego it was there that I was working with the most MSN nurses ever.

    A good 30% of staff were MSN just working the floor... If there was ever an argument for PA v. NP I would say take a Physician Assistant program. California seems to have a big problem utilizing advanced practice nurses in the workforce.

    Most have no other option to work as staff because no one is hiring Nurse Practitioners... Also, it's hard to rationalize returning to school since there is no financial gain to be had. Oh sure there is the self-betterment, or self-fulfillment angle but that's a tough sell in this economy. Spending $20,000.00+ in a masters program without getting anything in return. Naaah, I'll just keep working for now.

    Good luck with that NICU stuff...
    MBARNBSN, lindarn, MBrnbsnmha/ed, and 1 other like this.
  11. 0
    There are RN-MSN programs out there. Maybe that would work out better for you? Unless you've already started BSN courses.


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