Forensics or NP?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am trying to figure out how to get to the next level of education correctly. I will finishing up my BSN in March and will be going on to my MSN. The MSN degree I want is the MSN with a forensic nurse specialization. But I also want to get my NP. (probably in Gerontology). I know the NP will guarantee income as opposed to the forensic nurse. How should I go about accomplishing these goals?

    Dear Wants MSN,

    Congrats on finishing up your BSN!

    Getting your Masters is a good next step towards advancing your career. Unlike a BSN, MSN programs require a speciality focus, for example, such as you describe, NP or forensics.

    These are two very different career paths. A forensic nurse may work with sexual assault victims, gather evidence and testify in court. An NP will serve as a primary care provider and treat patients.

    Since you can't do two programs at the same time, you have to pick just one. The first thing you said was "I want my MSN with a forensic nurse specialization". Is this what you would love doing? Get some ED experience if you don't already have some, as forensic jobs often require ED experience. Shadow a forensic nurse to learn what they do.

    Overall, an NP job would probably pay more but pay is more of a dissatisfier than a satisfier. Meaning low pay is dissatisfying, whereas higher pay may not make you happy in and of itself.

    Once you complete your MSN in the speciality of your choice, it is possible to go back and get a second Masters- the question would be, for what reason? You would be starting over and incur further debt.

    Best wishes with your decision.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Nov 2
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,536; Likes: 4,549
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho