Nurses looking forward to furthering their professional careers have the option to get their master’s degree, otherwise known as an MSN.
This is an advanced graduate level of study that can be completed anywhere from two to three years, depending on how much time you can allot for the program every semester. Usually, you would need a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for the MSN, but there is more than just one way of pursuing further studies.
There’s a program for ADN-level nurses, as well as BSN-level. There is also an option for RNs that are non-holders of a bachelor’s degree, or a nursing diploma. But if your choice is locked in on the MSN program, here are some things you need to know.
The MSN program is specifically designed to turn RNs into highly qualified APRN. This means Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, and you get to practice in your own chosen speciality.
Before you get to that point, however, you first need to go through some basic courses, including nursing research, clinical prevention, and population health, health policy and advocacy, evidence-based practice, and other speciality courses.
Each of these courses provides the foundation for a more specialized role, not just as a nurse practitioner, but also as a clinical nurse specialist, anaesthetist, as well as educator, and director. Whatever your track maybe, you would still need to go through these basic courses, regardless.
After the basic courses are the specializations. You can choose from either APRN or Non-APRN specializations, which total to 17. Once you get a better understanding of what each of them has to offer, then you can make a better choice about the path you’ll take.
Under the APRN specialization, for example, you have the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) specialization, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP), for example. As for the Non-APRN Specializations, there’s Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), Nurse Educator, Public Health Nursing, and Nursing Executive/ Administrator.
Bigger Roles, Better Opportunities
With a master’s degree in nursing, you can expect to have better chances of landing bigger professional roles, with bigger responsibilities. What this usually means, though, are better opportunities not only in terms of career advancement, but also in getting a higher pay grade.
Ultimately, therefore, taking up an online masters degree in nursing for a couple more years could be the personal investment you need to improve your career for life.