Nurses who hold the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree are highly sought for a range of opportunities. The number of opportunities for nurses with the MSN is rapidly increasing. The degree opens a number of doors for both specialization and to pursue additional education and have the opportunity to hold greater responsibility.
Several paths are open in the Nursing MSN program: to remain a generalist, to pursue a doctorate and a career in teaching or in research, or to become an Advanced Practice Nurse. There are four types of Advanced Practice Nurses:
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Many nurses who choose to pursue the MSN without the Advance Practice Certification choose to obtain additional training and expertise in a specialty area (triage, psychiatric, neo-natal, surgery, geriatrics, pediatrics).
In addition the course work at this level provides more training and skill in dealing with and resolving workplace issues (as a supervisor or manager), analyzing and making decisions about ethical issues, critical thinking, analysis, research, communication and inter-personal skill and problem solving. Nurses who hold the MSN are expected to hold leadership, management and independent working positions. They might continue to work as nursing supervisors in hospitals, etc. or they might be the only medical professional working with patients in home health care, crisis intervention or other managed care relationships, as well as public health settings.
As one would expect, as nurses obtain academic degrees their earning capacity increases, as does their responsibility and accountability on the job. It is increasingly common today to find Advanced Practice Nurses in physician’s offices, hospitals, emergency care centers, operating rooms and childbirth and women’s health centers.