No RN experience and pursuing a master's?

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I graduated in 2021 and the only RN experience I have was in a COVID testing center. I saw that the job market was not giving me many opportunities that I liked (specifically away from bedside) so I have been thinking of pursuing to get my master's degree! Is this something clever or plainly stupid? Do you guys think one can get a job away from the bedside just by having a master's degree?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,985 Posts

Can you? Yes, in some cases. Should you? Not really in many cases. Most positions that require a masters degree are going to require bedside experience (think education... why should someone be allowed to educate who doesn't know how to do?).

What is your career goal? Look at that and then decide if a masters with no bedside experience will get you there.

AndreaH

AndreaH

3 Posts

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to pursue a master's! But it is best to get more experience as a RN before you do so or while you are in school. Try to think outside the box. Could you work outpatient? Home health? Hospice? For an insurance company? Telephone triage? Case management?

Also, what do you want to get your master's degree in? If you want to be a NP, you need experience with patient care. It's also important to work as a RN to learn what master's specialty you would like. For example, if you want to get a master's in nursing leadership and run a nursing infusion clinic you should work as an infusion nurse beforehand. You might love working as an infusion nurse or hate it and I'm sure you don't want to waste your time. Good luck! 

FashionablyL8

FashionablyL8, CNA, LPN

Has 1 years experience. 141 Posts

I'm not sure what area of nursing interests you, so it's hard to say whether you would specifically need a master's for your "dream job". However, I do think that bedside experience is invaluable in many areas of nursing that are away from the bedside. There is no book knowledge that can replace knowing the look that a patient gets when they are starting to go bad, what interventions work best for what, what to watch for when certain lab values come back abnormal, the first symptoms that usually appear with particular diseases- all those things require experience. 

What were your goals when you entered the RN program? And how did you realize that bedside care is not something you want to do? I'm genuinely curious, not trying to sound rude 🙂

I should mention I am generally a sensitive person. I grew to dislike bedside from the bad clinical experiences I had, including the ungrateful patients & families that you try to do everything for and yet its never enough, the toxic management that drop you under the bus when they don’t need you, the other miserable nurses that backstab you even if you are just a nursing student learning…and so many other things I saw in different units! Hopefully I can get something away from bedside, more like office job, that would be something I am hoping to achieve by pursuing master...

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 467 Posts

Having a master's degree won't fix those people. What's your goal to be have an MSN, RN? 

That is true...but I am just hoping that by geting an MSN it would open more doors for me as I would be able to get a job in something like case management or admin jobs. 

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 467 Posts

6 hours ago, Beautiful Ladybug said:

That is true...but I am just hoping that by geting an MSN it would open more doors for me as I would be able to get a job in something like case management or admin jobs. 

I'm not familiar with management, but I do know that our admin and management were nurses for many years watching the doctor(s) performing procedures by the bedside. What do you think? They told me the nursing field "opens many opportunities." 

Edited by Honyebee

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 659 Posts

If you want to work in a clinic, what is your goal? Supervisor? You don’t need a Masters. Manager? A Masters would help. I would recommend working as a clinic RN first. Knowing the ins and outs of the clinic is extremely important. There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot to learn. The nursing part is the easy part. Navigating coworker relationships is another can of worms! You’ll have to learn to schmooze with the best of them!

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,436 Posts

On 6/3/2022 at 2:55 PM, Beautiful Ladybug said:

That is true...but I am just hoping that by geting an MSN it would open more doors for me as I would be able to get a job in something like case management or admin jobs. 

Unfortunately, those require bedside experience

FashionablyL8

FashionablyL8, CNA, LPN

Has 1 years experience. 141 Posts

I understand that ungrateful patients, demanding families and nasty co-workers and management are difficult to deal with. In some areas of nursing, you can avoid the patients/families. However, toxic coworkers and management are a part of the working world. Working as an RN will teach you to deal with that plus manage your time and teach you how to be a nurse. You don't learn that in school, it's earned by experience. So even if you are working in a position that is nowhere near a patient or a nursing unit, it is often necessary to know how to care for patients and how a nursing unit runs to do your job. Hiring managers know that. Therefore, even if the jobs you want don't REQUIRE nursing experience, most will hire someone with it rather than without. 

I personally think that you should try a few different places/positions before deciding not to do bedside care, since that really limits the nursing field for you. Also, earning your masters takes years- you could be earning great $$ working as a nurse while you are in school. Unless you are fortunate enough not to have to work, $$ is usually a consideration. 

Best of luck no matter what you decide! 

nikxi36

nikxi36, MSN, RN

Specializes in Case Management, CCM, CNL. Has 5 years experience. 30 Posts

MSN RN here. I did go into an entry level program with a non-nursing background. I initially thought I wanted to work bedside and ended up doing that for a short time (outside the hospital) before getting into case management.  

I do suspect my MSN helped me get into case management sooner but I also had an amazing opportunity available to me after doing a year of non-hospital bedside nursing. Sometimes luck and a little networking can come in favor. I used that experience to get into outpatient clinic…where ALL of my coworkers are ADN/BSN.

Look at the MSN curriculum. It often times has very little to do with the ADN/BSN/skills curriculum (depending on what the focus of your MSN program is.) It’s more about philosophy, theory, research, leadership, systems, public health, health promotion as a concept. This was my experience. It was a bird’s eye view of nursing practice rather than  hands-on, clinical application.

Let’s not forget that nursing is a philosophy and is NOT all bedside practice. Show your future employer in non-hospital jobs what you see of nursing beyond the hands-on application and what you bring to the practice.

If ultimately you don’t want to be at the bedside, keep that in mind when you’re pursuing your next job. Take the path that makes the most sense. A master’s might help but it probably won’t be required if you’re simply looking outside the hospital and honestly there are jobs outside of the hospital that you will apply your nursing experience you do have. 

What would I do? Maximize the experience I have, apply like crazy for  non-hospital jobs, and in x-time apply for the masters degree IF the curriculum truly interests you and it would be something you definitely in your career path will want to accomplish. FWIT, I feel like once you’re on the path you want to be on (which could just be landing one job!) you won’t need the masters. 

You’re welcome to DM me. Good luck!