MSN vs MPH vs MBA????

  1. I have been an RN for 15 years.

    I have worked in various areas including Critical Care.

    I can't decide what I want to do for the next 18-28 years....

    which would you choose: MSN, MPH, MBA.........???:innerconf
    Last edit by Otessa on Jan 4, '07
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   juan de la cruz
    Quote from Otessa
    I am 37 and have been an RN for 15 years.

    I have worked ICU,ER, CCU, Float Pool and now Quality Improvement.

    I can't decide what I want to do for the next 18-28 years....

    which would you choose: MSN, MPH, MBA.........???:innerconf
    Obviously, the path I took is evident in my screen name. The reason for my choice is that I enjoy the clinical setting and wanted the autonomy the NP field offered. However, my current role is physically and mentally demanding. I am able to handle these challenges at the present time since I am still young but surely, I don't see this role as something I will do until retirement.

    In making your decision, ask yourself what you enjoy the most. Do you like staying in clinical practice? Do you enjoy teaching/training nurses? Do you see yourself participating in research in the nursing field? Then maybe an MSN will be right for you. An MSN can point you to many different directions of advanced practice nursing either as a CNS, CRNA, CNM, or NP. There are also career paths in nursing education, informatics, and even nursing management.

    I notice, however, that you are now working in QI. Is this something you enjoy and wish to build up on? Do you want to advance in the corporate ladder as a manager? You still have the option of pursuing an MSN in this case. As I've already mentioned, some MSN programs are geared towards nurse managers and provides you advanced training in nursing service administration.

    Although, there are many interdisciplinary aspects added to most MSN curricula, an MSN is a nursing degree unlike the MPH and MBA. MPH programs welcome candidates from multidisciplinary fields. You receive well-rounded training in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, social sciences, and management. An MPH degree can open many doors in healthcare research and can further one's goal to advance in the management ladder.

    An MBA is similar, in that it is multidisciplinary but without the public health focus. There are MBA's that are geared towards health systems management. A number of these programs have actually been changed into Master of Health Service Administration to make it more obvious to candidates and prospective employers that this is the focus of the degree. These degrees are excellent for advancing your goal of a career in management in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as well private practices.

    A surgeon who I currently work with is actually enrolled in an MHSA program at a well-known university where I am and his classmates have upper management positons in large hospitals around the country. It seems to me, however, that when it comes to management degrees, the school name matters a lot on how far you can go with the degree.
  4. by   llg
    Figure out what types of jobs interest you BEFORE you pick an academic program. Too many people choose the educational program first and the hope that they can parlay that into jobs they will like in the future whether or not the degree is actually well-suited for those jobs or not. That's backwards.

    I also think PinoyNP had a lot of good things to say to help you think it through.
  5. by   RN34TX
    I saw masters in nursing informatics mentioned here.
    Nursing informatics is offered as a single 3-credit course in my BSN program and covered things like computer skills in Excel and other programs, Powerpoint, formatting, etc. so here is my question:

    Can anyone tell me what a full MSN program with a major or focus in nursing informatics is all about and secondly, what types of jobs would this degree prepare people for?
  6. by   RN34TX
    Quote from llg
    Figure out what types of jobs interest you BEFORE you pick an academic program. Too many people choose the educational program first and the hope that they can parlay that into jobs they will like in the future whether or not the degree is actually well-suited for those jobs or not. That's backwards.

    I also think PinoyNP had a lot of good things to say to help you think it through.
    I'm so glad to see someone post this.

    I'm doing RN to BSN right now but my school offers straight through RN to MSN in all majors (which bypasses the BSN) and you can finish the masters more efficiently with fewer classes than doing the BSN program first.

    My colleagues and nursing friends all keep saying "Why are you wasting your time doing the BSN program instead of doing the straight through masters"?

    The reason I didn't go that route is because I have no idea what I'm going to do with a BSN at this point, let alone an MSN.

    Plus when you select the MSN route, you have to actually choose a major/focus area of study, there is no "generic" MSN degree with no major focus like in the BSN program.

    I figured that after the BSN perhaps something might come my way in the future, and then maybe a few years down the road, a masters program that would fit where my career is going might be part of the picture.

    But until then, I'm a regular staff nurse with no real plans of being anything else at this point.
    So why would I be studying for a masters in nursing education, management/administration, public health, or NP licensure when my job may be taking me in a completely different direction than what I chose for my masters degree preparation in years to come?
  7. by   juan de la cruz
    Quote from RN34TX
    I saw masters in nursing informatics mentioned here.
    Nursing informatics is offered as a single 3-credit course in my BSN program and covered things like computer skills in Excel and other programs, Powerpoint, formatting, etc. so here is my question:

    Can anyone tell me what a full MSN program with a major or focus in nursing informatics is all about and secondly, what types of jobs would this degree prepare people for?
    Hi! don't know much about that field but I know some schools offer it. Here's a link from an informatics program through Univ of Maryland:

    MS: Nursing Informatics - University of Maryland School of Nursing - Education | Research | Community Service | Public Health | Hospital
  8. by   sunnyjohn
    .... 1/4 of my MPH done and will start a direct-entry Master of Nursing (MN) in May.

    I stopped going full out for the MPH classes because I realized I wanted to be sure I got the best focus for that degree. I have decided on the University of London's MSc. in public health at the LSHTM

    PinoyNp and Llg gave good advice. Look at you career path and then if possible choose the right degree.
  9. by   llg
    Quote from RN34TX
    So why would I be studying for a masters in nursing education, management/administration, public health, or NP licensure when my job may be taking me in a completely different direction than what I chose for my masters degree preparation in years to come?
    You sound as if you have thought it through quite well. Good luck to you with whatever path your career takes.

    I have seen a lot of people investing years of education (and tens of thousands in dollars) to get degrees that don't give them a career they like. A certain job "sounds good" so they get a degree that leads them down that path before they have learned enough about themselves to know whether or not that career path is one they will like and whether or not their talents and preferences are a good match for that career path.

    Other people seem to stay in school because they don't won't to get out there into the work world. By taking more education, they avoid having to confront the challenges of actually having a career and making it work. Some rush into grad school to escape entry level positions that they don't find attractive.

    Unfortunately both groups who rush prematurely into graduate education miss important opportunities in life. They miss the chance to firmly establish the baseline professional competence (both clinical skills and interpersonal skills) that are needed to be successful in the higher level positions. They also miss the opportunity to learn more about themselves -- their strengths and weaknesses, their preferences, their actual ability to tolerate and cope with some of the profession's challenges, etc.

    Suddenly they find themselves with an advanced degree that is usually associated with expert, advanced professional performance. However, they are not experts and not at all ready to function successfully in an advanced role. Even worse, they find that they don't really LIKE the jobs that they have spent so much time and money preparing for.

    So ... they either leave nursing ... or become bitter and resentful of the profession. If they had simply taken it one step at a time and done a more thorugh exploration of nursing in the beginning (including actually being a nurse for a little while), they would have found their niche BEFORE making such a big investment.
  10. by   juan de la cruz
    I can't help but notice the direction this thread is going to. I know that a lot of experienced nurses resent the fact that accelerated programs exist for advanced practice nursing fields. Believe me, I don't just hear the resounding condemnation of Master's Entry NP programs. In the ICU where I work, experienced nurses are complaining about the fact that new RN's merely pass through the ICU so they can fulfill the 1-year work requirement for a CRNA program. These programs are here to stay and really, we can't underestimate what a motivated person can do. Besides, we already have numerous threads addressing our disapproval of these training programs. The OP in this thread has 15 years of nursing experience many of which seem to be in clinical nursing - ya' think she ain't ready for graduate studies?
  11. by   RN34TX
    Quote from pinoyNP
    I can't help but notice the direction this thread is going to. I know that a lot of experienced nurses resent the fact that accelerated programs exist for advanced practice nursing fields. Believe me, I don't just hear the resounding condemnation of Master's Entry NP programs. In the ICU where I work, experienced nurses are complaining about the fact that new RN's merely pass through the ICU so they can fulfill the 1-year work requirement for a CRNA program. These programs are here to stay and really, we can't underestimate what a motivated person can do. Besides, we already have numerous threads addressing our disapproval of these training programs. The OP in this thread has 15 years of nursing experience many of which seem to be in clinical nursing - ya' think she ain't ready for graduate studies?
    I'm confused.
    Are you talking about "direct entry" programs or "accelerated" programs?
    I really don't know enough about direct entry programs to attempt to criticize them.

    But if my understanding is correct, a direct entry program is for someone who is not already an RN and their bachelors degree is in a non-nursing field such as biology, English, or history.

    If this is correct (and I'm saying "if") then the only thing I'm not understanding is how someone with no nursing background can learn an entire RN program in a two-year masters program, then on top of it, have learned the concepts of, and be functioning at a masters level of nursing (even NP at that) all within that one masters program upon graduation with no prior nursing education or experience.

    But if someone is able to tackle and master all of that material within that timeframe, then who am I to criticize because I most certainly could not have done it.

    But maybe I just don't understand how "direct entry" programs work.

    Now the "accelerated" BSN program I understand very well and it exists at my school.
    I think it's a great idea. You cannot work during this program due to it's intensity, but like you were saying, you never know how motivated or capable someone is of learning and achieving something within a shorter timeframe if given the opportunity to do so.

    But also like you were saying, none of these programs apply to the OP as the OP is already an experienced nurse.
  12. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from pinoyNP
    I can't help but notice the direction this thread is going to. I know that a lot of experienced nurses resent the fact that accelerated programs exist for advanced practice nursing fields. Believe me, I don't just hear the resounding condemnation of Master's Entry NP programs. In the ICU where I work, experienced nurses are complaining about the fact that new RN's merely pass through the ICU so they can fulfill the 1-year work requirement for a CRNA program. These programs are here to stay and really, we can't underestimate what a motivated person can do. Besides, we already have numerous threads addressing our disapproval of these training programs. The OP in this thread has 15 years of nursing experience many of which seem to be in clinical nursing - ya' think she ain't ready for graduate studies?
    Good post.

    For the record, my program is a generic Master of Nursing with no advanced practice implications. I chose it because it provides the best training in the fairest amount of time for my limited dollars.

    I will graduate a bedside nurse with graduate training (who may be allowed to take the new CNL exam, but that's another kettle o' fish )

    I intend on honing my entry-level nursing skills in a kick butt internship before I move on. Education, NP, CRNA, CNS- maybe, but not for another five years, if not more.

    The best graduate degree is the one that fit your career goals and your pocketbook.

    I am way off topic, I know.
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Jan 3, '07 : Reason: i kern't spel....lol!
  13. by   llg
    Quote from pinoyNP
    I can't help but notice the direction this thread is going to. I know that a lot of experienced nurses resent the fact that accelerated programs exist for advanced practice nursing fields. ?
    I for one, do NOT resent the MSN entry level programs. If I already had a BS or BA in another field and wanted to switch to nursing, it is definitely the route I would take myself. I particularly like the programs that either prepare MSN's as generalists or that give sufficient time and clinical practice as part of their curriculum to give the students a chance to discover their talents and preferences prior to choosing a specialty.

    I also have great respect for those people who graduate from such programs who understand that when they graduate, they still need to spend a little time doing some direct patient care prior to being ready to teach nursing or manage a nursing staff.

    What I find sad are the students who rush into a graduate program (either direct entry or quick enrollment following BSN) who are not ready to make the choice of a specialty or role for themselves. I have talked with many students who say, "I want to be a NP" or "I want to be a CRNA" or whatever without knowing much at all about what those roles entail. When I ask them to tell me what they know about the role and why they think it would be a good fit for them, they admit that they don't know much about it, but heard it was a good career choice. When I ask about other possible roles, most admit they are unaware of what those roles have to offer. Perhaps if those people would take the time to learn about themselves and about the various career options in nursing BEFORE investing in an expensive advanced education, they would find the right niche for themselves a be happier with the choices they make.

    I am NOT in any way against the existence of the MSN entry programs in general. For some people (but not everyone), they are a great option.
  14. by   llg
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    Good post.

    For the record, my program is a generic Master of Nursing with no advanced practice implications. I chose it because it provides the best training in the fairest amount of time for my limited dollars.

    I will graduate a bedside nurse with graduate training (who may be allowed to take the new CNL exam, but that's another kettle o' fish )

    I intend on honing my entry-level nursing skills in a kick butt internship before I move on. Education, NP, CRNA, CNS- maybe, but not for another five years, if not more.

    The best graduate degree is the one that fit your career goals and your pocketbook.

    I am way off topic, I know.
    Great! Now that's what I'm talking about. That's the way it should be. If you happen to discover your niche sooner than you expect, then you'll know it and be ready to do whatever you need to do to pursue it. If it takes a little longer, you won't have made any terrible mistakes wasting time and money on something that really won't suit you.

    Good luck with whatever career path you choose.

    llg

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