Which area to pursue for masters


Specializes in Surgery, ICU.

I am a new grad who has been nursing for about 8-9 months now. I am struggling quite a bit with bedside nursing and the clinical aspect of it. I have pre-existing issues with anxiety and the high levels of stress that acute care brings is just too much for me and I can't see myself doing this for very long. I feel really burnt out, which is not normal for a new nurse. I just want to love what I do.

With that being said, there are some attributes of nursing that I do enjoy. I want to apply for a masters degree for next fall, or the year after that. I know that there are non-clinical BScN areas, but I appreciate higher education and graduate school is something I have always wanted to pursue.

My options for MSN are:

- teaching

- leadership

- research

They all sound so interesting and I would love to further my education in all of these areas! It is so hard for me to pick just one. So I was wondering if anyone has a masters degree in any of these areas and would be able to tell me a little more about what you do, work environment, stress levels, salary, and anything else that would be important. Apologies for the length of this post. Also thanks in advance for any replies I might get - I appreciate all of the insight on this forum!!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 224 Articles; 27,608 Posts

I'm currently enrolled in an MSN program with a specialization in nursing education. Like you, I feel anxiety when contending with floor nursing.

With my MSN degree, I hope to qualify for positions such as employee health nurse, hospital unit educator, infection control nurse, or utilization review.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience. 9,051 Posts

EDUCATION!!! We're getting older by the day - :dead: We need qualified reinforcements.

But (you knew it was coming, right?). If you want to pursue a (non-academic) nursing education career, you'll not only need to establish clinical competency, but also begin to accumulate education experience with an entry-level educator position. As they say in research an MSN is "necessary, but not sufficient" to advance your career in clinical education. Most of us start as a unit-based educator/BLS instructor.

Education is an entirely different skill set & I really haven't seen any MSN programs that do a good job in this area... they usually just touch on the basics. They don't include sufficient content on areas that are essential to the discipline of education such as program evaluation, education law, instructional design, instructional media, classroom management, etc. Most colleges/universities that have schools of education will have those 'extra' courses we need - usually as part of the 'educational leadership' curriculum.

Education is certainly not stress-free, especially since we are increasingly accountable for achieving measurable outcomes with very limited budgets. The hours are long and there are very few kudos. But, honestly - I wouldn't want to do anything else. It's never boring or routine. We're constantly challenged to figure out new and better ways to obtain results. IMO, it's the most creative aspect of health care delivery - as evidenced by the fact that we are the only department that still gets to play with glue sticks and construction paper on a regular basis.

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