Advancing in Nursing


Hey everyone. I've recently decided to go into Nursing. I am SO excited about this field b/c of the flexible days/hours, direct contact with patients, and the satisfaction from helping others. However, I do have a few concerns. I often hear that nurses are the most underappreciated, underpaid people. I'm wondering what specialties Nurses can get their Master degrees in to advance in the field and make more money? I only know about becoming a Nurse Practioner, who averages at around 80 k a year, and a Nurse Anastheseologist (sp?), who averages at around 100 k a year. What other options are there? I've heard that promoting for drug companies can lead to great opportunities and advancement? Is that a load of BS? What can Nurses Master in? Any advice? I want to know all my options b/c I do plan on getting my Masters... some day... :)

And, just to clarify, I am not doing this for the money. If I was, I would become a doctor! But I still want to make as much money as I can in this field, who doesn't?!

Thank's everyone! Hope I get some replies :)


TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I worked at a very well-known consumer products company for three years. The nurse who ran the comapny's Health Services was an RN with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) and a master's degree in business (MBA). She was in charge of the company's Health Services as well as the global business office.

I also attended a fast-track LVN program last year. One of the clinical instructors was a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) with a master's degree in education (MEd). Nurses can, basically, major in anything.

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Nurses can get a Master's Degree and specialize in any field of nursing. There are advanced positions possible in all the areas that nurses specialize in. Some of those positions focus on direct patient care, such as Nurse Practitioner roles and Clinical Nurse Specialist roles. Other roles focus on the fields such as nursing administration, nursing education, patient education, etc. Still others focus on the legal aspects of nursing, case management, nursing informatics, etc.

In other words ... there are nurses with Master's Degrees working in just about every aspect of the health care industry. And within each possible field and role, some people make more money and some less.

The important thing for you to focus on now is to graduate from an accredited school of nursing and learn the basics of the profession. Also, you need to actually experience a few different specialties and different aspects of the profession so that you can identify your particular preferences and talents. You should get some of that experience in nursing school and in the entry-level jobs you take during your first few years after graduation.

Then ... after you have identified which aspects of nursing you are best suited for, explore the different options within that field and choose the one that fits you the best. It's OK to use money as one of the factors in making your choice ... but you should start by FIRST assessing your strengths and weaknesses as a nurse as well as your particular likes and dislikes. That will help you identify the field: then find the role within that field that is right for you.

Good luck,



245 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatry, Case Management, also OR/OB. Has 39 years experience.

I agree with llg... the beauty of nursing is that you can specialize in just about any field that you enjoy. I work with students a lot in my hospital case management job, and encourage them to find whatever they are passionate about whether it's critical care, peds, forensics, nurse informatics, case management, home health, LTC... well you get the idea. I adivse you to seek your basic undergraduate ed., and work perhaps for a year or two in med-surg or critical care. Master's programs typically want 1-2 years of general nursing experience before they will consider your

Grad school app. In today's health care environment, nurses can do basically anything they want to do. Advanced education will increase your salary and options for employment, and will likely become the "basic degree" in the future. Soooooooooooo.... enjoy, good luck, and welcome to nursing.

Morghan, ARNP

Has 21 years experience.

Edited because what I had to say just wasn't all that worth writing...

Specializes in Emergency Room.

As everyone else has posted, there are tons of opportunities for RNs to continue education. Education - teaching in nsg schools, pt education, staff education; NP - primary care, women's health, nurse midwife; CNS - you can specialize in pretty much anything. I knew a guy in nursing school who became an orthopedic surgery CNS and assisted in surgeries with the doc. I've also gone to a dermatology CNS - she worked with a popular dermatologist and saw his pts for follow up. You can get your MSN in nurse leadership and become an administrator (couldn't pay me enough to do that, but its an option!).

Just make sure to go for your BSN in the beginning to make your path that much shorter. Good luck!

PS- You can actually make pretty good money doing bedside nursing. Between base pay and overtime pay/pick up pay, many nurses make as much as an NP.

This topic is now closed to further replies.