To advance or not to advance

  1. Hi guys,
    I have been giving a lot of thoughts as to whether or not it is time to pursue my MSN and I seem to keep stumbling and fumbling with the same questions over and over. A little background on me: I came to nursing through a second degree BSN program after completing a BA in biomedical humanities (emphasis on biology and psychology). Throughout my first degree, I flirted with the idea of going to medical school, but came to realize that nursing was a better fit for me. It was my intention throughout my nursing program to work at the bedside for a few (2?) years and then become a FNP. Fast forward to present day and I now have six years of experience as a bedside nurse with my CCRN in a high acuity cardiothoracic post-op ICU, where I also serve as a charge nurse and primary coach to new hires. And I, for the most part, love it.
    I like caring for acute patients and I like leading in my unit(but have no interest in management). I think it is a horrible trend in nursing that nurses with one or two years experience are pushed into the role of educating new grads and that there is an overall lack of experienced nurses at the bedside. I am very aware of the value I bring to my unit as a nurse that has stuck around for more than long enough to have my employment here as shiny gold star on my CRNA apps and resume.
    So why move on? I feel both push and pull towards selecting an advance degree program and jumping in. The push come from coworkers (Drs, NPs, other nurses) frequently assuming that I am in and near done with a grad program, as I have been there long enough, and am smart enough. To these people, I feel the need to defend my position as someone who really sees that value of the experience bedside nurse. The pull is something inside me that singsongs that if I am "just" a nurse in 10 years, I will be disappointed in myself.
    Do others experience this? Or is the fierce push to move beyond bedside nurse unique to my institution? Are there nurses that complete their AGNP (allowing them improve their expertise and to teach) but still remain at the bedside (part time/ PRN/ or the go back to bedside nursing if being a LIP isn't all I have dreamed of)? I have also looked at MSN Ed programs, but I wonder if they truly seem worthwhile, seeing that NP programs leave you with more options.
    Sorry this got a little lengthy. I appreciate any thoughts or input that you are willing to share.
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  3. by   elkpark
    My position on grad school is the same as my position on getting married -- it's not something you do just because "everyone is doing it" and it's what you're "supposed" to do; it's something you do because you just can't stand not to do it. Best wishes for your journey!

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