Nurses are some of the hardest working and most dedicated professionals in the entire health care industry, and it’s a good thing since they form the frontlines of care for patients. Increasingly, nurses are being asked to know and do even more, and that trend shows no sign of slowing. If you’re already a registered nurse, you may be wondering whether or not additional schooling might help you succeed even more in your job and career. As the demand for nurses continues to grow, here are seven reasons to get your MS in nursing now.
1. So You Can Lead
Not every nurse wants to be in charge of other nurses, but for those who enjoy leadership roles and the responsibilities such roles entail, a master’s of science in nursing can be a boon. Whether you’re interested in being a Clinical Nurse Leader or you’d like the opportunity to take on more administrative roles in your hospital, further schooling — especially when it results in a master’s degree — can help you achieve the leadership roles to which you aspire.
2. So You Can Teach
Once you earn your master’s degree in nursing, you’ll be qualified to be a nurse educator. For nurses who feel passionate about mentoring and preparing the next generation of health care providers, this option can feel like a dream come true. It can also be a welcome change after a couple of decades working rounds. For nurses who are getting older or who just feel less excited about those 12-hour shifts, transitioning into education can be a welcome career change.
Entry-level nurses and those with their bachelor’s degrees are trained to perform the more general duties of nursing, and while this kind of work is varied, interesting, and demanding, for the nurse who wants to achieve greater specialization, more education is needed. Whether you want to be a certified nurse midwife, a nurse practitioner, or a clinical nurse specialist, a master’s degree is a requirement that will help you gain the increased experience and education that can make your desired specialization a reality.
4. More Money, More Jobs
The average salary for a nurse with her BSN is around $70,000 a year, and the profession is slated to continue growing in demand until at least 2022. In other words, nursing is a good career to be in even when you just hold your undergraduate degree. When you achieve your master’s degree, however, that good career gets even better. You can make as much as $95,000 — an increase that can definitely make the additional time and money spent getting an advanced degree worthwhile. Also, that advanced degree increases your job prospects and opportunities even further.
5. Future Licensing Requirements
Another reason to go ahead and get your MS in nursing now is because of the likelihood that future licensing requirements will grow more stringent. Currently, it’s possible to be a registered nurse with just a bachelor’s degree, and a nursing license can be maintained relatively easily with professional education coursework. However, the odds are good that future licensing will require a master’s to keep a nursing license up to date. If you’ve got the time, resources, and energy to put toward your MSN now, it makes sense to go ahead and do so.
6. Less Supervision
Another benefit of getting more education and an advanced degree is that you’ll be allowed to do your work with less supervision. The reasons for this reality are many. Not only does holding a master’s degree in nursing prove that you have more learning than the average RN, but it also proves that you’re committed to acquiring as much knowledge and expertise in your field as possible. The result is a greater autonomy that can make your day-to-day work environment much more satisfying as you make well-informed health decisions born out of your own knowledge and experience.
A nursing career in the United States is both lucrative and secure with just a bachelor’s degree. However, if you want to advance in your career beyond working shifts, you’ll need to get further education. Whether you have your sights set on becoming a coordinator, a manager, or a hospital administrator, a master’s degree is the first step toward true career advancement.
Getting your master’s degree in nursing has much to recommend it. From improving your salary to ensuring an easier path to career advancement, an MSN is something every nurse should look into getting as soon as possible.