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MSN programs??

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by GARN912 GARN912 (Member) Member

GARN912 specializes in Pediatrics, Med-Surg, ER.

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Hi,

I was looking for some advice on master's programs. I have my BSN, 2 years of Med-Surg and 4 months (so far) of ER experience. I would like to stay working in a hospital setting at least PRN but I know that my ultimate goal is to teach at the community college or university level. I'm wondering if an MSN nurse educator degree is the way to go? I've read that some people are earning master's in other fields of nursing (CNS, FNP, etc) and still managing to teach. I'm wondering if people in those fields would have an advantage over me because they have a specialty:confused:

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AgentBeast has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing.

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Go with the CNS specialty end of story. The knowledge you gain through this program will be of enormous value to your future students as well as your coworkers. Nurse Educator is more of a hospital role where you are responsible for training new grads and new hires at least that is what I have seen.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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I respectfully disagree with this advice. In many places, Clinical Nurse Specialists educated at a master's level are having trouble getting hired. A friend who was taking a CNS/NE track in grad school was just informed that her school is dropping the CNS portion because of low demand as well as difficulty in finding CNS preceptors. My experience is that when budget cuts hit the hospital, the CNS is often the first person to go.

An MSN in nursing education will prepare someone for a role in either staff development or academic nursing education. You take courses that will help you learn how to write tests, evaluate student performance, utilize learning theories and different teaching approaches, evaluate and change curriculum, write rubrics and syllabi, create course objectives and evaluate individual and group learning. You don't get that in other master's programs.

If the OP wants to teach, especially in a community college, the best route to go is to get a MSN in nursing education. I've seen colleagues who have had advanced practice nursing degrees struggle with teaching---and end up not being very effective---because they have not had those valuable core courses in nursing education. Some schools now require either an MSN in nursing education or a post-master's certificate in nursing education (which can take two to three semesters, depending on the program.)

In most schools, the NE track is usually shorter than an advanced practice track. Many schools are also dropping their MSN advanced practice tracks in favor of the DNP.

Lastly, while it can be challenging in some parts of the country to find teaching jobs with an MSN, many schools are in dire need of master's prepared faculty. Many colleges and universities prefer PhD preparation but do hire MSNs for clinicals and some didactic. Community colleges prefer MSNs.

I would strongly urge you to do a NE track if that's where your heart is. In a CNS or NP track, you will gain valuable knowledge, but not knowledge you can really use when you're teaching pre-licensure students. You'd be much better off to get a good foundation in education as in an NE track.

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As a student, I'd rather be taught by a subject matter specialist rather than a generalist or someone who received a master's with an education focus. I took some grad courses in education and received an exorbitant amount of training in pedagogy and evaluation in the short-time that I taught high school. For the most part it's all common sense subject matter that you can hone with experience. It's the same material you'd get in an education or trainer course so it's not like what I'm saying doesn't apply to NE.

Too often in my BSN program people are teaching nursing material that they haven't worked around or had any significant experience with. I realize there isn't anything they can do about that individually (it's what they're paid to do), but they, many times, lack the scope to answer questions that don't arise from information presented on the PPt. slide. That's not a slam. That's an honest evaluation that I'd quickly put my name to and have on EOC evaluations. Only two of our faculty members hold doctorates although another is slowly chipping away at it. Despite that I don't see them as being better clinicians or teachers.

If you look around higher education you'll find that faculty of other departments don't largely study biology education, mathematics education, art education, etc. They're subject matter specialists in fields like ecology, geometry, and ceramics. Only those that teach education and pedagogy study that for a graduate degree.

Just my two cents.

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HouTx has 35 years experience as a BSN, MSN, EdD and specializes in Critical Care, Education.

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I agree with Moogie - Teaching is a whole different animal. You can't compare Nursing to non-practice professions that do not require a license. Subject matter specialists are great -- as long as they are not asked to do anything outside their very limited scope.. such as creating course curricula, developing evaluation and testing instruments, analyzing and determining solutions to learning problems, etc...

If you're committed to this career direction, you need to understand the discipline of education. Other graduate roles will not provide this. I was very fortunate my MSN program (U of TX) included both a functional and clinical focus. In my case, it was Education & Critical Care, but one could choose among any of the different combinations they offered.

I would also advise anyone to be aware of the salary associated with an academic career... it's much lower than the compensation for those of us in workplace education roles. It doesn't make any sense, but that's the reality. Personal Disclaimer -- I do not consider 'commercial / investor-owned' schools as academic environments ... those instructors are more like temporary or PRN staff that are not even treated as well as adjunct faculty at a community college.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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I see your point. I agree that an instructor should have relevant clinical experience in whatever he/she is teaching. However, I've seen schools assign clinical instructors to areas outside their clinical expertise; one instructor with whom I worked was assigned to a peds clinical although she was an experienced adult med-surg nurse. The instructor had no choice but to accept the assignment; she had signed a contract and it was in her contract that she taught in whatever facility, whatever classroom the school wanted her. It was a lose-lose situation for her and the students and a stupid move on the part of the school. But that's how things happen.

Graduate education in nursing used to focus on a clinical specialty rather than on a practice area. Many of my instructors at the ADN and BSN level had master's degrees in mental health nursing or medical surgical nursing, not in nursing education. Back in those days, someone could become a nurse practitioner with training at the certificate level; people could become NPs with only an ADN and no bachelor's degree in nursing or any other field. Times have changed.

I disagree that learning about pedagogy is all "common sense". I've taken many classes from educators who are experts in their field who cannot write exam questions and have no idea how to evaluate student learning. Moreover, if it's so unnecessary for nurse educators to understand principles of teaching and learning, why do many PhD nursing programs require this type of coursework? The program from which I just graduated requires its PhD nursing students to take all the nurse educator core classes alongside the master's nurse educator students, because these courses are important.

The OP asked if she should consider getting a NP MSN because some faculty do have this educational preparation. A master's is not a master's is not a master's. The type of coursework in a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice program will prepare the student to be an advanced practice nurse, not to teach in a clinical or educational facility. A nurse practitioner and a nurse educator have far different roles and different functions. Many of the core classes are the same. I've taken advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, health promotion, family nursing, advanced pharmacology and health care policy and finance, same as the NP students.

Again, I agree that clinical expertise is necessary. It's also necessary for faculty to be well-prepared and understand what they're teaching. If all there was to teaching was reading off a PowerPoint, then anyone could do it and this discussion would be a waste.

OP, I strongly suggest that you check out some of our other forums such as the Nurse Educators forum as well as the Post-Graduate forum. You will see many threads that should help you make an informed decision. You may also want to check out the websites of various schools of nursing in which you are interested so you can compare and contrast curricula as well as the AACN website, which provides a wealth of information about nursing education as a career. I wish you the best in your journey.

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Teaching and doing a job is a whole different animal indeed. That's why you need to be a specialist in the field you're teaching so you understand the ins and outs and can fully explain what you're delivering to the students. Teaching also requires the teacher to step back and think about how they can best present the material. You don't need a master's degree in that - whether it's a regulated field like nursing or not.

I don't think schools should assign instructors to topics they know nothing about. I've seen it in my nursing program, I saw it with my first bachelor's degree, I saw it back even in high school, and I lived it when I was assigned to teach a section of chemistry with only two undergrad courses in chemistry my first year of college. It didn't go over well but not because I couldn't stand on the pedagogy. I didn't know what the heck I was talking about well enough to teach stoichiometry, etc. What can you do though? You're hired and paid to do a job so you do it. It's an administrative error and often unavoidable. Somebody has to do it so someone gets appointed.

Pedagogy is pretty much common sense. If you think about it I'm right. However, we know everyone doesn't have common sense, and some people, including teachers, are outright idiots. It's a fact of life. Not everyone is intelligent. Teach a teacher pedagogy but don't teach them what they're teaching and what do you get? An elementary teacher! (Inside joke among school teachers.)

I couldn't care less what's required in a Ph.D. It's a research oriented degree and the recipients of them commonly become teachers. That's why pedagogy courses are a required component. They've got to do something to sell the program.

We all know practitioner and educator roles are different functions. It says so in the title. Most probably know they share certain courses. I just want someone who knows a little more about what's going on than what they read in one undergraduate textbook. Not that I have had these "professors," but my state university has faculty on staff with BSNs and nothing past that. And do instructors read from the PPts? You're darn right they do. I won't get into that because I know it'll offend people, but we're all keenly aware of teachers out there (in ALL fields) who don't know what they're talking about.

I feel if you're teaching a subject on the collegiate level your graduate degree should have foci on the subjects you're teaching. Perhaps I'm too critical, but I don't feel that's asking a lot.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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Moved to Nursing Career Advice.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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ImThatGuy, if you're aware of any graduate programs that still offer master's degrees in clinical areas other than advanced practice specialties such as NP, CNS, CNM, or CRNA, please post them and enlighten me. As I said in my earlier post, many of my ADN and BSN instructors back in the late 1970s and early 1980s had master's degrees in clinical specialties such as mental health, pediatrics, or med-surg. I'm not saying it's right and I'm not saying it's wrong, but things have changed. Most programs are focused on different functional areas such as NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA, nursing administration, nursing informatics, and nursing education.

The OP asked if she should consider a NE master's or do a different track like FNP or CNS. She stated that her goal is to teach. My point is that an advanced practice curriculum will prepare someone for an advanced practice role. A NE track will prepare one to teach in either a staff development or academic setting. A CNS track is a wonderful option for gaining advanced clinical knowledge but unfortunately, many hospitals are doing away with this role. I wish this wasn't happening because I think the CNS is a very valuable role and the advanced clinical concentration is very helpful to nurse educators. Some schools are doing away with their CNS tracks because of lack of jobs for this role---which leaves the nurse educator who wants advanced clinical education the alternatives of doing a nurse practitioner track or pursuing even more education in a doctoral program, either a PhD, which is research oriented, or a DNP, which is practice oriented.

I really don't agree that understanding pedagogy is merely a matter of common sense and intelligence. There are many intelligent people who have little common sense. There are also many intelligent people who cannot teach.

Read the IOM report----nursing education is in dire need of reforming and we need instructors who are able to teach and who have clinical expertise. It shouldn't be an either/or situation. We need to recognize that nursing education requires a specific skill set and that it's a discipline worth our time and our investment.

To each his own....

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traumaRUs - Judy has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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If your goal is to teach, I would do an MS in education or an MSN in education.

I've been thru two CNS programs and felt they didn't teach me to teach anymore than my MSN in management and leadership.

Best to check with your state too: in some states, you MUST have an MSN to teach, not just just an MS.

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ImThatGuy, if you're aware of any graduate programs that still offer master's degrees in clinical areas other than advanced practice specialties such as NP, CNS, CNM, or CRNA, please post them and enlighten me.

I'm really not sure where that's coming from. I'm a bit perplexed by it. I don't think I ever said I was aware of any new master's programs. That's a head scratcher, Moogie.

Fundamentally, what I'm saying is I want to be taught OB by CNM's, acute care by ACNP or CNS's, peds by PNPs or CNS's, psych by PMHFNPs, etc. I want people that have become specialists in those fields. I don't want someone with a MSN-Education teaching them because there really aren't subject specialists.

Generic courses like informatics, issues and trends, research methods, heck even foundations, etc...yeah, let any old master's trained RN come in and teach them. Doesn't matter to me.

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Moogie specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

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With all due respect, you are confusing certification in an advanced practice specialty with floor nursing expertise. There are CNM programs (e.g., Frontier) that admit students who have no labor and delivery experience. There are NP programs that admit students who have never worked on acute care floors. Would you seriously prefer an instructor who had no floor experience but ANP or CNM credentials to an instructor with the appropriate credentials in nursing education who has had relevant floor experience?

You're completely discounting that someone with an MSN in nursing education might have real-life experience on the floor. I did not do an advanced practice specialty because I have no interest in advanced practice nursing. My interest was in nursing education; hence after over eighteen years in a variety of areas, most recently gerontology, I chose a master's in nursing education rather than get a advanced practice specialty that would not fit my career goals.

Again, advanced practice nursing and nursing expertise are NOT the same thing. An advanced practice nurse is educated to fulfill a specific advanced practice role which is far different from the role of a direct care nurse. I think students are better off served by nurse educators who are well-versed in teaching and learning techniques (and, gasp, theories) than by someone with no floor experience but an advanced practice certification.

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