Will other nurses look down on me as a direct entry MSN with no experience?

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Will other nurses look down on me as a direct entry MSN with no experience?

Hello Nurse Beth,

Do you think that I would be looked down at by other nurses if starting my nursing career after completing my direct entry MSN program? I'm not even sure what type of job I could get with a direct entry MSN and no experience. What do you think? Employers accept the direct entry MSN degree just like the traditional nursing program?

Thank you so much. 

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,211 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Direct Entry MSN,

Starting your nursing career with a direct entry MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) program is a valid path. While there might be some differences in experience compared to traditional nursing programs, it doesn't necessarily mean other nurses or employers look down upon you.

While traditional nursing programs often provide more hands-on clinical experience, an MSN program may emphasize theory, leadership, research, and advanced nursing concepts to prepare you down the road for advanced roles such as nurse educator or clinical nurse specialist.

Experience-wise, new grads start at the same point, regardless of their educational path. They all are newly licensed and lack experience as a practicing RN. 

Employer Acceptance. Employer acceptance of a direct entry MSN degree can vary. Some employers might value your advanced degree and potential for growth. It's important to research potential employers and job postings to understand their preferences and requirements.

Here are some points to consider:

Direct-entry MSN programs are often structured for students with a non-nursing BSN.

Diverse Backgrounds. Nursing is a field that values diverse backgrounds and experiences. Having a direct entry MSN means you might have unique skills or knowledge from your previous education or career that can be beneficial in nursing practice. This diversity can be an asset rather than a drawback.

Entry-Level Positions. When starting your nursing career,  look for entry-level positions where you can gain clinical experience. These positions could include staff nurse roles in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings. 

Respect and Professionalism. Earning respect among colleagues is about demonstrating professionalism, competence, and a willingness to learn. As long as you approach your nursing career with an open mind and a dedication to providing quality care, you'll likely find acceptance among your peers.

Continuous Growth. Your nursing career is a journey of constant growth. As you gain experience and build a track record of quality care and professionalism, your educational background will become less of a focus.

Ultimately, it's important to have confidence in your education and skills. Every nurse's journey is unique, and what matters most is your commitment to delivering excellent patient care, continuous learning, and contributing positively to the nursing profession.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth



2 Posts

Just be humble. You'll be a baby nurse, just like everyone else in your residency.

Lipoma, BSN, RN

272 Posts

Specializes in ED | CCU | CEN | CCRN.

No. No one truly cares what your degree is. At least, not where I work. An RN is an RN no matter the degree (Diploma, ASN, BSN, MSN). We're all in the trenches at the bedside. Go in with a "I am here to learn" attitude. 

Specializes in Geriatrics.

The better question is will you care what others think? I am a very young NP with a doctorate. I know what I have to bring to the table. What other people think is their own affair and none of your business. Go to school, follow your dreams, do good work, help people, go enjoy your life. Work hard, be a team player, and if there is a negative Nancy out there, oh well.

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