Why You Should Get a MSN in Nursing and When to Get One

November 13, 2016

If you have seen a newspaper or heard a news report lately, chances are that you've heard that there is a nursing shortage in the U.S. With an aging population and an increase in serious health problems, the demand for experienced nurses is higher than ever.

For those who want to enter the field though, the array of educational options is dizzying. BSN, RN, MSN . . . which degree to pursue and when? The answer is up to you, but if you want to reach the upper levels of the field, then look into earning a Master of Science in Nursing.

Why You Should Get an MSN

The simplest answer to the question of why you should seek a Master of Science in Nursing (or a MSN nursing) is that is opens doors. While a Bachelor of Science of Nursing paves the way to earning a license and becoming an RN, going the extra step to get an MSN allows you to fill higher level positions both in patient care and administrative roles.

For example, earning the MSN allows to you perform care that was previously limited to physicians, in roles such as Nurse Practitioner or Certified Nurse Midwife. Holding the degree and specialized training also opens doors to opportunities in clinical research and training.

When to Get Your MSN

Opinions vary as to when you should seek your Master of Science in Nursing. Some choose to seek their MSN after earning a degree in another field. With this approach, called a direct-entry MSN, you'll be given credit for the liberal arts courses you took as an undergraduate, and then focuses on entry-level nursing coursework. Direct entry students then combine the course work and experience necessary for an RN license with master's level work in a specialty area. The benefit to this approach is that it works well for career changers who have some experience working in another field, or for those who want to open up career opportunities beyond direct patient care.

Another option is to seek a MSN directly after earning a Bachelor Science in Nursing. In this approach, registered nurses who already have their licenses can tailor a program that focuses on their goals without duplicating the work they already completed in the BSN program. A Master of Science in Nursing can also be combined with another degree, such as an MPH degree earned through MPH programs. Earning a Master of Public Health along with a MSN opens up a wide range of career opportunities in health education, public nursing and more.

The bottom line, though, is that you can earn a MSN when the time is right for you. Students in these programs range from recent graduates and new nurses to experienced professionals with a decade or more of experience. Whenever you are ready for more opportunities and greater earning power, and have the drive and commitment to devote to your studies is the right time to start working toward your advanced degree.

Posted by Jean Jayston