Masters of Social work vs Nursing

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    oh GOd, today i've posted two questions already, but today i'm on research mode and i just have a bunch of questions. Thanks guys! Anyways, I've been thinking about teaching college, nursing and now i'm thinking of social work. I thought of social work before but i heard alot of people leaving that profession to go to nursing school because of the pay. With a masters degree, social workers make less... is that true? I would love to be in a profession that lets me help but being financially secure is very important to me. With my BA and all, i don't need that much prereqs, (i don't think i need any), all i have to do is take my GRE and go to my MAsters. So, that is a plus. WIth nursing, i have alot of prereqs, applying, waiting to get in, etc... I want a practical career where i want to make a decent living. At the moment, want is important is landing a job, and making a decent living. Like i mentioned in my other posts, i don't have 1 area that i love, not one passion. I have many, so i'm not looking for a passion job. I'm looking to be realistic. So, what are your thoughts on MSW/Nursing? thanks guys so much.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    At least in my area, nurses make quite a bit more money than a LICSW with a Masters Degree does. Social workers don't have to deal with the physical demands and they have better schedules, but they still have to deal with difficult and emotionally exhausting situations.
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    Last edit by lorazepam on Jul 28, '10 : Reason: i posted a link in that thread to an msn/sw degree program
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    The average salary for a Medical Social Worker/Licensed Clinical Social Worker is around $50,000 - $60,000.

    I have to admit that I have incredible respect for the ladies that work in the social work office behind me in the ED.

    Maybe they make less, but every single one of them I have met have been the nicest, and most incredibly happy people. If they hate their job, then they need an Oscar.

    I send people back there when I see the patient has died, or if they are in trauma, or if they are an assault victim. These women are incredibly professional, yet so compassionate. I've yet to hear a complaint about them.

    I think it would be an emotionally draining job, but also rewarding. For example, they have helped set up housing for women who have come into the ED as a victim of spousal abuse. They are there to help people through whatever situation they are facing.

    I know many people hear about social workers leaving the field because of lack of pay, but I've met quite a few that love the field, despite pay. However, the hospital I volunteer at pays every quite well, so I would doubt they are poor.
    ambrr, ok2bme, and kaliRN like this.
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    Even with a masters in social work, a diploma RN could make more than you in a management position. Or a floor nurse with a strong tolerance for doubles. However it does involve what position you are in. I work in long term care, where I doubt that the social worker makes more than me, but she probably makes more than my floor nurses. In a hospital setting, in the right management position, you could probably make more than in long term care. But I bet the nurses in management trump what you make as a social worker in management, and I strongly feel that nursing offers you more potential growth. We are growing in too many settings. In the hospital I used to work in, they were using BSN nursing graduates as well as social workers as case managers. That means nurses can work in case management, but im sure social workers cant work most of the places we do,.
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    As a former social worker and MSW student I left social work specifically to attend nursing school. For me I realized that I enjoyed the broader role of nurses than as an MSW. Within nursing there are many different paths and you can really change the direction or specialty any time. Originally I was interested in Case Management or Psychiatric nursing. During nursing school I fell in love with the Emergency Department and currently work in this specialty. Still loving it! I will say that my BSN was definitely harder than the first BA and more work than the MSW. It has to be something that you really want to do, not just because the money is better, or you will not complete the program. That said I believe that a lot of social workers have the same heart and drive to care for patient that would make them extremely valuable and caring nurses. I have yet to encounter a situation where my social work background did not help. If possible I would recommend shadowing a nurse or social worker to help you clarify your choice. I wish you the best of luck in what ever path you decide to go down!
    tokidoki7 and Hospice Nurse LPN like this.
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    I can speak from both perspectives...I have an MSW and have practiced as a clinical social worker for several years. I also have a BSN and am currently in an MSN (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) program. With regard to income, with a few years of experience as a social worker (depending on the area of social work that you are practicing) you will likely make about the same as an ADN/BSN working on the floor.

    You have to ask yourself several questions in terms of making this decision. What are you interests? What are your motivations? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you are planning to pursue nursing or social work simply for the money, you are going to be disappointed. Both fields have a significant overlap and require a great deal of emotional energy - essentially, you have to have an interest in nursing or social work.

    In my personal experience, I found that my MSW and my BSN have been a nice blend. I have found my MSW to be a great decision in terms of personal satisfaction as well as providing a comfortable lifestyle. I primarily do psychiatric evaluations at several local hospitals and then do mental health assessments at an outpatient agency. I have also done some teaching in both social work and nursing programs. Immediately after nursing school I knew that I didn't want to do floor nursing (I have great respect for bedside nursing, just found that it wasn't a good fit for me). I have the ability to make my own schedule, work very few nights/weekends/holidays and can take vacations whenever I like. As someone else mentioned, social work offers a certain quality of life that can't be found many other places.

    As I have continued on in my MSN program, I have realized that this too was a great decision and will ultimately allow me to blend all of my passions and interests together. I believe that I feel that my educational endeavors have been good choices not because of the financial benefits, but because I have found a career path that is something that I find satisfying.
    arincoc likes this.
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    Hello PsychNM,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I too just graduated from an MSW program but I have previous experience in the field. Now, I am looking into pursing a BSN because I want to learn more about the human body in relation to human development and behavior. Since I am a new graduate, do you think I should apply to a BSN program now? I am currently unemployed and I am deciding to specialize in either in direct practice or higher education. I would really your expertise and input!!!

    Thanks again and good luck in your MSN program!

    fisherpe (MSW)
    Last edit by fisherpe on Aug 6, '10 : Reason: name
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    Socila workers get paid bupkis and have patient loads that are as bad as nurses'.
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    You stated that you don't have passion towards one job path. If such is the case, you should avoid social work. You will have to be passionate about social work, social justice, helping others, etc to cope with the low pay and lack of respect that I feel are inherent in the field, especially in entry level, non-licensure jobs. You also asked if it's true that social workers leave the field bc of the low pay. I would say that this is absolutely true--I am one of them. But, I need to say that I am leaving for a host of other reasons as well. As I'm sure other former social workers turned nurses would agree.


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