Dear MSN to Be,
Thanks for the question. I take it you mean advanced degree as you already have your BSN? I really get excited talking about advanced education for nurses! The career choices for nurses with advanced degrees are almost endless.
Higher education opens doors for you in ways you can’t imagine. In addition, education changes you as a person and gives you increased credibility to influence the practice of nursing.
Graduate nursing programs prepare you for numerous advanced roles. Nurses at this level are in high demand as Clinical Nurse Leaders, Nurse Managers, Clinical Educators, Health Policy Consultants, Research Assistants, Public Health Nurses, and much more.
The key is discovering your passion. What is it that gives you energy and makes your heart beat faster? Start talking with other nurses in advanced roles. Pay attention to what inspires you.
- Teaching/precepting: You love it when when someone has that “Aha!” moment. MSN: Nurse Educator Track
- Leading: You enjoy heading groups and committees. You are visionary. MSN: Nurse Executive Track
- Informatics: You are drawn to technology and appreciate how it can influence patient care. MSN: Nursing Informatics Track
- Nursing Provider: You want to provide healthcare services. Advanced Practice RN (APRN): Nurse practitioner (NP), nurse anesthetist (CRNA), nurse midwife (CNM), or clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
- Healthcare Policy: You are an advocate and want to bring about change. MSN: Healthcare Policy Track
There are many more choices. Research colleges and the programs they offer. Don’t get too worried about being unsure where you will end up. Many nurses choose one graduate track, such as Education, only to end up in a different field down the road, for example, Administration. Life brings unforeseen opportunities along the way, and, good news! Many employers give more weight to the “MSN” than to the specialty or track.
Be sure and select an accredited school when you apply.
Best wishes and keep us posted.
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