Msn vs MBA? Please help

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    Hello all, this is my first post to this site after days of searching and anguish Ive decided to post on here to see if my questions could get answered. I am a 22 year old male nursing student who will be graduating with my BSN in may of this year. I am also a college basketball player on a full athletic scholarship. Next year I will be attending a different university on an athletics scholarship and fortunately will have the opportunity to get my MSN in education OR my MBA. I know these two options sound broad. But they are pretty much my most legitimate options at this point. I am completely torn between the two, really because I have NO IDEA what the career opportunities are for BSN MBA's. if anyone could explain their experience with nurses with MBA's and what the job market for them is, I would greatly appreciate it! Also, this is just a brief summary of my situation, the full story would take much longer to write so I tried to keep it short and to the point. Thank you for your responses!
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Hmm - just going right on to grad school without taking NCLEX or working as a nurse? I understand your eagerness to take advantage of a full scholarship to fund your graduate education, but this may become a problem for you. You won't be able to get a job as a nurse educator without clinical experience as well as education experience... in my organization (and most other larger ones) MSN is entry level for nurse educators (BSN for unit or department educators). Some schools may be different, but most of them only use new MSNs as clinical instructors - and this would obviously not be an option if you have no experience. You'd need to move ahead to doctoral education if you want a career in academia.

    What are your ultimate career goals? If you see yourself in a nursing education or leadership position, an MSN is essential. It is required for nurse educators. In terms of the healthcare industry, if your undergrad is a BSN, you are characterized as "nurse" in terms of healthcare careers - no matter what your aspirations. I don't mean this in a negative way, and it usually is very advantageous - just wanted you to know that it would be pretty much impossible just to gloss over the 'nurse' part and look for entry level leadership job in another (non-nursing) area of healthcare.

    MBAs are not really that valuable as an entry into healthcare unless it includes a specific focus on healthcare finance - our industry is very different. OTOH, for licensed (non-nursing) clinicians with experience in their clinical specialty, an MBA may be the degree of choice since they don't have the option of various types of graduate degrees within their profession like nurses do. But hands-down, the non-nursing graduate degree that is most attractive for entry level healthcare leadership jobs is an MHA that includes a full residency; the school/program matters, and there is a very strong 'old boy' network for MHAs.
    elkpark likes this.
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    Thank you for your swift response HouTx! I do plan on taking (and passing ) the NCLEX in May of this year (likely 2-3 weeks after graduation) but because of the time demands that come with being a collegiate athlete I will not be able to work as an RN my first year while also playing college basketball (I do work prn as a Student nurse tech on a trauma unit here in saint louis and probably will keep that job after graduation while in grad school the first year). I understand that no matter which degree I decide to pursue, it would be in my best interest to get at least two yrs of experience at the bedside before I could use either graduate degree successfully. Both degree programs take a minimum of 2-2.5 years to complete, so my plan is to play ball and attend graduate school full time this upcoming year, and next summer I will begin my nursing career (with a year of schooling out of the way).

    As far as career goals, I honestly have little interest in being a nurse educator. I see myself functioning as either an administrator, sales, or a care provider (NP). The problem is that I really don't know which. In a perfect world I would be attending this university studying in the Nurse Practitioner program, but after speaking with the director of the masters program and advisors it was obvious that my best chance of being accepted into the MSN program was via the nurse educator track (because of my lack of clinical experience and the lack of applicants that they get for their N.educator program). I have thought about applying to the NP program as a transfer after my core courses are completed next year, but there is no guarantee that the transfer would be accepted.

    When you say, " just wanted you to know that it would be pretty much impossible just to gloss over the 'nurse' part and look for entry level leadership job in another (non-nursing) area of healthcare. " Are you saying that an RN with an MBA would only be considered for nursing administrative positions and not other hospital administrative positions? If so,what are the career options for Rn's with their MBA?

    The MBA initially intrigued me because of the idea of hospital administration or medical device sales/pharm sales (after a few years at the bedside). I studied marketing my first year in school before switching over to nursing so I have a slight idea of what it is like to be a business student. I think it would be cool to sit in surgeries and travel hospitals selling medical devices or even pharmaceuticals. I have also heard of nurses with their MBA's becoming nursing directors or other administrative hospital positions, but that now most magnet hospitals want their ND's to have their MSN (although I would assume that would be in nurse leadership, not education). Unfortunately the university I will be attending does not offer masters degrees in health administration or nurse leadership. So my options currently are MBA or M.S.N education.

    So career goals for me most likely are either administrative, device sales, or as an NP. I realize how silly and broad this all might sound to a seasoned nurse with experience, but it is the situation I find myself in. I do plan on getting a few years of clinical experience before doing any of this, but because of this opportunity to get a year of my masters for free right out of nursing school, I want to be sure that I make the right choice right now.
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    The MBA would probably be better if you pursue opportunities in the business world (e.g. medical sales, etc.) The MSN would probably be better if you want to work within nursing itself as a care provider or leader of those who provide care.

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
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    Would an M.S.N in education be considered for hospital administration/Nursing leadership positions? Or would they be confined to academia?
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    Most MSN in education programs are geared towards academic teaching colleges of nursing. However, some let you also focus on "Nursing Professional Development" -- what is commonly referred to as "staff development" and/or "continuing education." They do not prepare you for management/administration roles.


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