8 Compelling Reasons to Study an MSN
Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a huge commitment. The degree will typically take two years of full-time study to complete and requires intensive coursework and assessments. Education is also getting more expensive, and the average RN to MSN degree costs between $35,000 and $65,000. That said, more and more registered nurses are choosing to complete an RN to MSN program, and many feel that the benefits of the qualification far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
An RN to MSN degree will equip you with the specialist skills and knowledge needed to become an advanced practice nurse. Having this post-graduate degree will open up more job opportunities in the field of nursing, boost your future job prospects, and give you a competitive advantage when applying for promotions. This is why so many registered nurses are choosing to invest in their careers by completing an RN to MSN qualification. If you’re considering enrolling on an RN to MSN program but are unsure of the benefits, then here are eight compelling reasons to study an MSN.
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Learn advanced nursing skills
The main advantage of completing an RN to MSN qualification is that you will learn advanced nursing skills and expand your knowledge and expertise. Registered nurses have to complete either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become licensed. These courses teach student nurses the minimum requirements needed to practice in a clinical setting. An RN to MSN degree is designed to advance a nurse’s skills and prepare them for leadership and managerial roles. This means that nurses with an MSN typically have a much higher skill set compared to their colleagues without the qualification. Most registered nurses enjoy continuing their learning and expanding their knowledge of their chosen field.
Improve your job prospects
One of the major reasons why graduate nurses enroll in an RN to MSN program is to improve their future job prospects. An aging population and a shortage of nurses means that skilled healthcare professionals are in high demand. According to Franklin University, only 19% of registered nurses have completed an RN to MSN. It is also anticipated that available jobs for nurses with an MSN will grow by over 16% by 2024. Earning an RN to MSN qualification will therefore put you in a strong position when applying for promotions or other career advancement opportunities. Nurses with an MSN qualification are a sought-after commodity in healthcare facilities. This means that they enjoy a wide variety of job opportunities and a fantastic career outlook. Better job prospects are one of the most attractive benefits of enrolling in an RN to MSN program.
Make a positive impact on others
Many people go into nursing because they want to help people and make a positive impact on the lives of others. Nurses help people every day and play an essential role in the healthcare system. Completing an RN to MSN degree will mean that you can provide your patients with the highest standards of care. You can apply your advanced nursing skills to help patients and save lives. Many nurses get a great sense of pride and fulfilment from completing an MSN and then using their skills to improve their standards of care.
Enjoy higher job satisfaction
Numerous studies have found that meaningful work is linked to higher job satisfaction. Doing a role that helps others gives people a sense of purpose, which boosts happiness. For that reason, nurses often report higher job satisfaction when compared to people in other occupations. One study by Harvard Business Review even found that most people (90%) are willing to take a lower salary to do meaningful work. You are likely to be working for many years, so you must get enjoyment from your job role. Pursuing a career in nursing can be an excellent way to improve your happiness and overall job satisfaction. Nurses who earn an RN to MSN are likely to be even more satisfied in the workplace as they will be given more responsibility and control over their work activities. They may also be promoted to leadership roles and have the opportunity to manage a department and a team of skilled nurses. Moving up the career ladder and being successful in your chosen career should result in higher job satisfaction.
Boost your earning potential
Nurses earn a good salary across the board, but nurses with an MSN typically enjoy higher compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses can expect to earn an average annual salary of $73,300. Whereas, a nurse practitioner typically earns $115,800 per year. Job opportunities for nurse practitioners are also expected to grow by an impressive 45% by 2029. This is much higher than the average across all other occupations, including registered nurses. Having a higher salary and earning potential will mean that you can enjoy a better quality of life. It will also make it easy to save towards your retirement and achieve your financial goals. As mentioned, nurses with an RN to MSN degree are in high-demand and sough-after in most healthcare organizations. This means that nurses who earn an RN to MSN qualification can usually negotiate a larger salary package, along with other job perks. This may include free private healthcare cover, annual bonuses, and paid overtime. Being well compensated for your work often leads to higher job satisfaction as you will feel more valued in the workplace.
Take advantage of travel opportunities
Skilled nurses are in huge demand in countries all across the world, especially those who have advanced their skills through an RN to MSN degree. Earning an RN to MSN qualification will open up plenty of travel opportunities. In most cases, a nurse with an MSN has the freedom to live and practice in any city or country of their choice. Nurses can also volunteer to travel abroad and provide medical assistance during emergencies, i.e. following a natural disaster like an earthquake. Volunteering to help those in crisis can be hugely rewarding and allows MSN nurses to use their advanced nursing skills for the greater good. Travelling for work will enable nurses to explore the world and experience different cultures. According to americantraveler.com, some additional benefits of a travel nursing career include higher pay and bonuses, free private housing, and tax advantages. With the job outlook for healthcare professionals being so high, there is likely always to be a demand for nurses around the world.
Specialize in your chosen area
Another fantastic benefit of enrolling in an RN to MSN program is that you will have the opportunity to specialize in your chosen area of nursing. Becoming a specialized nurse will enable you to become an expert in your field and focus on an area of nursing that you’re passionate about. Specialist nurses also tend to have higher earning potential and are more likely to secure the top leadership and managerial roles. Here are some of the top MSN specializations:
Family nurse practitioner (FNP) – FNP’s usually work in doctor’s offices and small surgeries. They care for patients of all ages and are responsible for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of illnesses and health issues. They also order diagnostic tests like X-rays and refer patients to specialists for further medical treatment.
Gerontology – A Gerontology nurse focuses on treating patients from adulthood into their later years. They have advanced knowledge of the effect that aging has on the body and the mind and use their skills to help prevent and treat health issues as people get older.
Nurse anesthetist – Nurse anesthetists prepare patients for surgery, administer anesthesia, and assist surgeons and other medical professionals during surgical procedures. They also provide patients with discharge information and advice following surgery. Qualified nurse anesthetists tend to have many job options and enjoy an attractive annual salary of around $154,000.
Midwifery – Midwives assist women with all aspects of pregnancy, including prenatal care, labor, delivery, and postpartum care for the mother and child.
Become a nurse educator
Gaining an RN to MSN qualification can also open up job opportunities outside of clinical practice. Becoming a nurse educator allows nurses to share their clinical experience and help shape the next generation of nurses. There is currently a shortage of qualified nursing faculty which means that nurse educators enjoy excellent career prospects and job security. You will also gain a great sense of satisfaction, knowing that you are playing a key role in supporting the future of the healthcare industry. Hospitals employ many nurse educators, but they can also find work in colleges, medical schools, and other healthcare organizations.
Tips to successfully complete your MSN
If you’ve decided that you want to earn an RN to MSN qualification, then you must do your research and choose a course that is best suited to you. Studying for an MSN is hard work, particularly if you are already working or have family commitments. That said, it is possible to balance study with work and family without harming your health or wellbeing. Here are some tips to help your successful complete your MSN.
Consider distance learning
There is a wide selection of online RN to MSN programs that offer flexible remote working. Distance learning is ideal for nurses who are in full-time employment or have other commitments preventing them from enrolling in a classroom-based course. An online RN to MSN degree will give you the freedom to learn at your own pace and fit study around your schedule. This means that you don’t need to worry about getting time off work or sacrificing time with your family.
Have regular study breaks
Studying for long periods can cause stress and lead to burnout. You are also likely to become tired and less productive if you try to complete too many learning tasks in one go. For that reason, you should have regular study breaks and factor adequate downtime into your schedule. Some fun activities to refresh your mind during study breaks include walking, having a power nap, meditating, and listening to music. Taking regular breaks to relax and unwind will mean that you can return to your learning tasks feeling productive and focused.
Take care of your health
Studying for an RN to MSN can be demanding and take its toll on your physical and mental health. You must place a special focus on your wellbeing and maintain a healthy lifestyle while studying. Make an effort to prepare nutritious meals and try to avoid processed or junk food. Consider taking a quality daily supplement if you are struggling to include the recommended minerals and vitamins in your diet. You should also stay active and aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. Following an exercise routine will improve your fitness levels, help you maintain your ideal weight, and boost your mood and wellness.
Connect with your peers
Connecting with your peers can be an excellent way to improve your mental health while studying. It will also allow you to get support with learning tasks and seek guidance from people on your course. You can use social channels like Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with your peers online. Many colleges and RN to MSN course providers also set up dedicated Facebook groups where students can communicate and share ideas online.
Earning an RN to MSN qualification requires a significant amount of time and effort. Completing a higher qualification is also expensive and will likely require you to take out a student loan. These drawbacks should be taken into consideration, but for many nurses, the benefits of gaining an MSN far outweigh the negatives. Enrolling in an RN to MSN program is an excellent way to invest in your career and future. The qualification will advance your nursing skills, boost your earning potential, and increase your job prospects. This makes it a worthwhile investment for many qualified nurses who are seeking a long and successful career in the field of nursing.