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MSN education

Posted
by carrob carrob (New) New

Has 11 years experience.

Hello all:

I need some serious advice from those who are contemplating, completing or have an MSN degree. First of all, this is not regarding MSN degrees in fields known as "advanced practice nurses" (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or nurse midwives). I am talking about general MSN degrees in education, administration, policy, informatics, etc. The question is whether these paths are really, really worth the time and money... well, at least in my situation. Your honest feedback is appreciated and will be considered.

I did start an online MSN education a couple years ago. This University allows 7 years to complete 10 courses and a 6 month practicum. The total cost is over $25,000 for 36 credits (approx. $2000 per course and $4000+ for the practicum). I was only able to get a few hundred dollars in scholarships. I took four courses already and have truly enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow students, the learning and all the research involved. I started this program with a desire to achieve a goal for myself and a vague hope of improving my career/financial prospects with a position in education or something similar.

My doubts have been building for several reasons. I am 52 years old and would likely finish the degree by the time I reach 55 at my current rate. I wonder how many advancement opportunities I will really get and for how long. While I have been a nurse for many years in a variety of specialties (long-term, acute, home care, infection control, etc.), I realize that I have always been a shy person and never an extroverted leader type. I tend to gravitate to jobs at night without as much exposure to administration, physicians, family members, and other pressures. I know my job well enough to handle most situations and am comfortable and secure.

To the point, where will all this additional time, money and stress (especially the six month practicum at the end) really get me in the end? Most instructor positions now require a PHD/DNP. Most other jobs I have had or considered really only need a BSN. In all seriousness, the DON of the nursing home I work at per diem only has her ADN! I have spent $8000 already, but don't want to spend even more money when I plan to retire or go part time by the time I reach 60. I am contemplating whether I should simply work a bit more to save more for retirement instead of spending another $17,000 and a lot of time on this degree.

Again, all opinions are appreciated...

~carrob

Edited by carrob

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Moved to post-grad forum

There's a lot of push in nursing now for people to go back to school for graduate degrees. I see lots of people posting here about how they want to return to school and get a graduate degree but they don't know what one they want to get and they don't know what they're going to do with it. To me, that's putting the cart before the horse. Unlike "basic," generalist nursing education, graduate education in nursing, in most cases, locks you into a specific professional role and career path (including the ones you characterize as "generalist," like administration, education, IT, policy, etc.). It makes much more sense to me to figure out what you want to do in nursing, where you want your career to go, and then figure out what degree you need to get you there.

I've known several people (and I'm sure those individuals that I know personally are not the only people to have found themselves in this situation) who either entered nursing through a direct-entry MSN program or rushed into a graduate program right after nursing school, only to find, after they have invested the time and effort into getting the degree, that they don't enjoy doing what the degree prepared them to do. Then, they're stuck with a degree and career path they don't want, the student loans to pay for them, and they're trying to figure out what they do want to do and what other degree they're going to need to get in order to get there. Not a good situation to be in.

Also, there are plenty of interesting and worthwhile career options in nursing that don't require a graduate degree, but require some kind of specialty education and certification instead. There are so many options in nursing, it is really the ultimate "big tent" -- there's something for everyone.

If you've already spent $8k toward a degree you're not sure you want, and you don't know what you're going to do with, I certainly would not spend any more time or money until I've figured a (career) path that makes sense to me and suits my interests and needs. You're also right to be concerned about putting a lot of time and money into getting an additional degree this late in your career. What is the return on your investment going to be? Have you looked into what MSN-level education jobs pay, and whether that's going to be an improvement in your financial situation? Most of the MSN-prepared people I've known teaching in schools of nursing, including myself, took significant pay cuts in order to do so, compared to what we could make working clinically. Working in professional/staff development in a clinical setting, like a hospital, is a different matter, though. (Is that something that interests you?)

FWIW, while it's increasingly true that college/university nursing programs are only hiring doctorally-prepared faculty, most community college ADN programs use (depend on, in fact) MSN-prepared faculty, and, in fact, those are the only schools that I've seen advertise that they are specifically looking for people with MSNs specifically in education (just my personal experience; I'm not in a position to make any sweeping statements about the entire country or all of nursing).

Best wishes for your journey!

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I think elkpark's post is one of the best posts on allnurses I have read in years. Everyone should read it -- and read it again. Only you can know whether or not the expense of time, energy, and money will be worth it to you, but elkpark has given lots of great things to think about.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

BSNbeDONE, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

Hello all:

I need some serious advice from those who are contemplating, completing or have an MSN degree. First of all, this is not regarding MSN degrees in fields known as "advanced practice nurses" (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or nurse midwives). I am talking about general MSN degrees in education, administration, policy, informatics, etc. The question is whether these paths are really, really worth the time and money... well, at least in my situation. Your honest feedback is appreciated and will be considered.

I did start an online MSN education a couple years ago. This University allows 7 years to complete 10 courses and a 6 month practicum. The total cost is over $25,000 for 36 credits (approx. $2000 per course and $4000+ for the practicum). I was only able to get a few hundred dollars in scholarships. I took four courses already and have truly enjoyed the camaraderie with fellow students, the learning and all the research involved. I started this program with a desire to achieve a goal for myself and a vague hope of improving my career/financial prospects with a position in education or something similar.

My doubts have been building for several reasons. I am 52 years old and would likely finish the degree by the time I reach 55 at my current rate. I wonder how many advancement opportunities I will really get and for how long. While I have been a nurse for many years in a variety of specialties (long-term, acute, home care, infection control, etc.), I realize that I have always been a shy person and never an extroverted leader type. I tend to gravitate to jobs at night without as much exposure to administration, physicians, family members, and other pressures. I know my job well enough to handle most situations and am comfortable and secure.

To the point, where will all this additional time, money and stress (especially the six month practicum at the end) really get me in the end? Most instructor positions now require a PHD/DNP. Most other jobs I have had or considered really only need a BSN. In all seriousness, the DON of the nursing home I work at per diem only has her ADN! I have spent $8000 already, but don't want to spend even more money when I plan to retire or go part time by the time I reach 60. I am contemplating whether I should simply work a bit more to save more for retirement instead of spending another $17,000 and a lot of time on this degree.

Again, all opinions are appreciated...

~carrob

As I was reading this, I was thinking, "OMG! I'm finally losing it! I don't even remember typing this!!". This was me right up until a week ago, when the lightbulb finally came on. I just started a wonderful new job with the VA with an awesome salary and benefits (especially the night and weekend diffs). Absolutely Perfect! But, I decided to enroll (did so a couple of days ago for the October 23rd start date--sounds like we might even be attending the same institution based on your description) for the MSN in Education track, so that when I retire in 5 years (10 years tops, [i am your age, by the way]), I will retire on the MSN salary.

I plan to keep my current position, only volunteering and/or accommodating the unit manager with various unit-specific/veteran/family one-on-one teaching on my unit only. I've already been approached about becoming a regulatory 'champion' on my unit (because of my background in the regulatory arena) after I complete the orientation/preceptorship period. The MSN, for me, is simply a means to an end, since I will be receiving an substantial increase in salary once I'm done.

I've reviewed each of the courses for any required practicum hours, and have mapped out my program plan to have this completed (hopefully) by December 2018. So, my suggestion to you is to finish what you've started. It will pay off in the end. Good luck to you...your lightbulb is flickering now, but it will shine brightly in a bit, just like mine did!

carrob

Has 11 years experience.

Thank you elkpark for your detailed analysis and input. I decided NOT to complete the degree. I will invest the remainder of my time and finances toward my future and retirement. As you stated, it may be more beneficial to achieve specific education or certification on a much smaller scale. I do feel that the nursing profession has quite a ways to go in setting up consistent, specific, and necessary guidelines for what RNs really need in their professional endeavors...I mean seriously, they still have not even made the BSN the minimal entry point for RNs - lol. There is, at least IMO, very little financial incentive for me to achieve my MSN-EDU (e.g. no loan repayment, no tuition reimbursements, lesser pay in education careers, etc.)

Thank you again - you were VERY helpful:)

Edited by carrob

woodsyny, MSN

Specializes in ICU,ER, Radiology, Online education. Has 37 years experience.

Carrob,

I went back for my MSN in Education at Chamberlain at the age of 58. I graduated in Feb. I still work in the hospital, as the money and benefits are too good to give up. I also teach online for Chamberlain now as a visiting professor! Love it! It will be my "play money" in retirement. I thought it was worth it, not great money but love grading papers in my jammies drinking coffee :)

carrob

Has 11 years experience.

woodsyny~

Thank you for your comment. It is well appreciated!!! That is the reason why I kept telling myself it would be worth it in the end: As I become tired, old, and/or feeble, I could likely use the degree in some way online, perhaps working much longer than I had originally anticipated. The thought of grading papers in comfy wear with a cup of coffee sitting and in my own home sounds very appealing. I am happy for you that you achieved your goal and have no regrets.

Can I ask: did the hospital reimburse you at all? I was told that most normally do not as the MSN degree is not required for most positions (unless you are *already* in management). Perhaps you are getting loan forgiveness through Chamberlain? Is there any "push" or incentive for you to get your DNP/PhD? Or are you secure in what you do with your MSN?

A former nursing supervisor (who had her Master's in HCA, NOT as MSN) achieved her PhD/Nursing in her 60's!!! She ended up teaching online courses full-time and loved working! I actually think (but not 100% certain) that it may have been Chamberlain as well.

LOL – now I am having some doubt on my "final" decision. If I could guarantee some type of loan forgiveness, I would be happy!

Thank you again. I am glad for the opposing views

woodsyny, MSN

Specializes in ICU,ER, Radiology, Online education. Has 37 years experience.

Hi Carrob!

My hospital is 1199 union. Nurses are reimbursed up to 30 credits a year. My whole MSN was paid for. Minimal out of pocket, and no loans! One of the reasons I pursued a higher degree also! I have seriously thought about going for my DNP/PHD

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 9 years experience.

I just finished an MSN in Informatics. It is very specific but also has many paths. I have a masters in teaching so I didn't want to do nursing education. I can teach in my field with the Informatics specialty. I see this becoming an entry degree in the future. I have the benefit of working for a teaching hospital so I was able to get tuition assistance which allowed to get a degree I would have never been able to afford.

I think working and finding a niche that YOU like/love is the best way to find out what path to take. I agree with elkpark about not getting a degree just to get one and then figure it out. I am an orthopedic nurse, certified, and I struggled with becoming an ortho NP but wasn't sure I wanted that responsibility. I KNOW that love the informatics-I had an unusual affinity for EPIC when we adopted it so I knew I wanted to go that route.

I think you made the right choice, I believe those credits you earned will not expire for a while in case you change your mind.

Hope find you way :)

carrob

Has 11 years experience.

Just a quick update: I have a new job that offers tuition reimbursement after 6 months employment. $5000 per year for education! I resume by the end of this year.