I struggled with this same decision, and the answer is: There is no right or wrong way to go! It just depends on your individual interests and goals. I decided to do a masters in nursing education for several reasons. 1) I had NO desire to be an NP. I wanted to be an educator. 2) I did not have a desire to teach in an NP program. 3) I knew how to be a nurse; I wanted to learn how effectively educate and inspire others, and be the best nursing instructor possible! 4) I (rightly) believed that there was much, much more to being a nursing faculty member than being a knowledgeable clinician.
I worried the whole time I was in school, wondering if I had made the right choice. I loved what I was learning, but had concerns about whether I would be limiting myself, professionally. I worried needlessly. Just before graduation I was offered a management position in my ED, which I accepted. My MSN actually complimented my management role very nicely. So much of being an effective manager is about leading, coaching, and mentoring, skills that were well developed in my MSN program. I stayed with the management role for just over a year before deciding I needed to follow my passion for education.
When looking for a faculty position, I found a fair amount of variation in requirements, depending on the school, program, or specific courses. Some favored the MSN in Nursing Education, some favored an advanced practice degree in a clinical specialty, and some just wanted people with an MSN, period. I easily found a full-time faculty position in a college, that I LOVE! I quickly learned that my MSN-Ed coursework was absolutely invaluable to understanding and excelling in my new role. At the time I was hired, the college was in warning status with accreditors, and were specifically seeking faculty with a degree in nursing education to help turn things around. Right from the start, I was able to jump in and be a valuable member of the team that worked on fixing our areas of weakness (we had a successful survey in February). I also had the opportunity to help design a new, concept-based curriculum for our BSN program. Had I not gone the education route, I would have been completely clueless. Our nursing faculty is a balance of nurse practitioners and those with education masters. It makes for a great team, where we balance each other out with our specific strengths.
Recently, I was accepted into a PhD in nursing program, with no difficulty, and will start that new adventure this fall.
My best advice is to think about where your passion is, and work from there. Advanced degree programs are too intense NOT to enjoy what you are learning.
Good luck, whatever you decide! Nursing is such an amazing profession, with so many options. You just never know where the journey will take you!