Students who graduate from a masters in nursing degree program are in great demand as many hospitals call for a certain percentage of their nursing staff to hold graduate degrees. A masters degree in nursing can open up several different career options and allow you to develop the skills and training necessary to enter advanced or specialized nursing practice, which can include advanced clinical research or teaching positions among other areas. This could also include pursuit positions such as advanced practice nurses, or APNs, and can move to Advanced Practice Registry Nurse (APRN) positions. APNs and APRNs are currently in very high demand because of their specialized skill set.
What is a Masters of Nursing Degree?
A Masters of Nursing is a graduate level degree for those who are looking to advance their nursing career to a more challenging practice. The masters of nursing degree is most commonly known as the Masters of Science in Nursing, or MSN. However, students are not limited to just the MSN as there are various subspecialties of the degree including (but not limited to):
• Clinical Nurse Specialist
• Family Nurse Practitioner
• Nurse Administration Degree
• Infection Prevention and Control
• Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
When you graduate with a masters degree in nursing, you then can pursue more specialized positions with additional education. These options include:
• Nurse Practitioner
• Nurse Educators
• Clinical Nurse Specialist
A nurse practitioner, or NP, is an APRN who can diagnose certain diseases and treat patients using select prescription medications. They are also able to order and interpret diagnostic testing. Because of this, it is possible for a nurse practitioner to be a patient’s sole medical provider.
A certified registered nurse anesthetist, or CRNA, is an APRN who specializes in the administration of anesthesia to patients prior to surgery. CRNAs can practice in a wide range of different settings including outpatient surgery centers, small community hospitals, academic medical centers, pain clinics and physician’s offices.
A clinical nurse specialist, or CNS, is an APRN who mentors other nurses and helps them to advance their careers as well as improve patient care. A CNS has several different specialty options including disease or medical subspecialty, type of care, setting (emergency department, long-term care, etc.), or population (geriatrics, women’s health etc.).
A certified nurse midwife, or CNM, is an APRN who has specialized training in both nursing and midwifery. CNMs practice in birthing centers, medical clinics and hospitals. They also attend to at-home births and can prescribe some medications and treatments.
How Long Does it Take?
A masters degree in nursing program is typically two years in length, but this can vary depending on the school and program. The typical curriculum for a masters of nursing degree can include:
• Healthcare concepts
• Patient Care Management
• Nursing Research
A masters degree in nursing can be very beneficial in advancing your career in the healthcare field. It can lead to greater responsibility, more challenging and fulfilling work, and higher salary, and most programs offer financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants, making the program accessible to anyone who wants to advance their career.