Master of Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is an advanced graduate program intended to provide students with specialist training in the field of nursing as an advanced practitioner. The set of skills and knowledge gained through an MSN program qualifies students for a broader range of job opportunities in higher positions.

Earning an MSN degree positions you at the forefront of the nursing profession, a profession which is expected to grow substantially over the next few years.

Why Should I Get A Master of Nursing?

Enrolling in an MSN program allows students to focus on a specific area of nursing and increase their knowledge, skill set, and qualifications. To illustrate, a registered nurse has general knowledge about nursing and can provide basic care to patients. An advanced practice nurse has specialized knowledge of a particular area of nursing, such as pediatrics or gynecology, and is qualified to provide more advanced care.

With an MSN, degree holders also have the option to explore other areas of the profession such as various leadership and managerial positions, or teaching roles.

This is because the MSN gives students a more holistic understanding of the nursing profession. That means you get to explore how nursing affects the health care industry through an understanding of policies, management techniques and practices, leadership, and finances.

MSN degree holders may also benefit from potentially higher salaries since the degree increases their qualifications and thus may open doors to higher positions.

Is This Program For Me?

A Master of Nursing program is intended for those nursing professionals who are interested in increasing their qualifications and gaining advanced nursing positions. It is also meant for those individuals who are looking to specialize in a particular area of nursing, thereby qualifying them as specialist nurses in that area.

Areas of Specialization

A Master of Science in Nursing offers candidates the chance to specialize in a number of different areas within the nursing profession. Some of the areas in which you may choose to specialize in include:

  • Acute Care Nursing
  • Psychiatric and Mental Care Nursing
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Infection Prevention and Control
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Management
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nurse Education
  • Certified Nurse Anesthetist
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

Types of Master’s programs

There are a few ways in which you can go about getting an MSN:

  1. Getting a BSN and applying for a 2 year MSN program
  2. Doing a 3 Year MSN program with one year spent on entry level nursing
  • Dual Master’s degree – here you can combine graduate nursing courses with another related, field. Some of the most common types of dual degrees include those with business (MSN/MBA), public health (MSN/MPH), and public administration (MSN/MPA) concentrations

What are the Requirements For This Program?

In order to get admission into a traditional MSN program, candidates must have:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • A specific minimum GPA and GRE scores (determined by program)
  • A registered nurse (RN) license
  • A certain amount of clinical experience

This program can usually be completed in two years’ time.

For those who have a Bachelor’s degree in another subject

Individuals who have a Bachelor’s degree in a different subject area may also apply for an MSN program; however the degree will likely take three years to complete. This is because the first year normally focuses on entry level nursing coursework, and the remaining two years are spent on master’s level work. Students can then take the National Council Licensure Examination test or NCLEX-RN in order to become a licensed nurse.

MSN degree programs are offered at a number of different universities and may even be pursued online. When looking for a school to enroll in, take particular care to apply to institutes that are fully accredited.

What Can I Expect To Learn?

The curriculum for MSN programs is a mixture of advanced specialized courses, as well as practical hands on training.

Some of the courses which make up the curriculum of an MSN program include:

  • Health care ethics
  • Management and advanced practice nursing
  • Health care policy
  • Theory and practice
  • Advanced biochemistry
  • Advanced pharmacology

Job Prospects & Salary

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for nursing professionals is expected to be 31% from 2012 – 2022. This is well above the average growth rate for other professions and nurses with advanced qualifications can expect to benefit from a high percentage of available job opportunities.

The average median salary for the following professionals in 2012 was as follows:

  • Nurse anesthetists – $148,160
  • Nurse Practitioners – $89,960
  • Nurse Midwives – $89,600

Nursing is a dynamic and challenging field within the health care sector. These professionals are trained to provide a range of basic care to patients. Nurses who hold a Master of Science Degree can expect to have a broader skill set and advanced qualifications which can open doors to higher positions. These include roles in administrative and managerial capacities.

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