If you are a registered nurse, then chances are you have thought at some point about career progression and the option of getting an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degree.
However, something is holding you back.
Could it be a lack of confidence?
A perceived lack of time, perhaps?
Or, maybe you simply aren’t aware of all the professional, financial, and social benefits that come with gaining advanced skills in nursing?
Whatever the reason, read on to discover the many ways in which obtaining a master’s in nursing could and will improve your life.
You can instantly earn more money
Top on most people’s list career-wise, earning a master’s in nursing will instantly increase your earning power.
The average registered nurse earns $73,550
The average qualified family nurse practitioner earns $109,021
A massive $35,500 difference in annual wage.
Making the decisions to look for RN to MSN schools and actively carrying out a two-year degree program to earn your masters in nursing can be daunting, but think about the money. Consider how much better you could provide for your family with a $35,500 wage increase.
Not to mention, the sign-up bonuses that are being offered, with around 12% of nurse practitioners being given a bonus in 2018 compared to 11% in 2017.
Your salary will increase over time
Not only will you earn more money as soon as you qualify, but your earning potential further down the line is also dramatically improved.
Nurse practitioner wages are up 6.6% since last year, with an increase in demand, meaning this figure will likely grow in the next few years. This is good news for those who choose to improve their career prospects by earning a master’s in nursing.
You are also likely to see a significant salary increase once you have been practicing for more than ten years, and again after twenty years’ service; this profession rewards loyalty.
You will be more respected
Most people know that although nurses carry out a vital and difficult job, providing much-needed care to patients, they often receive little in the way of thanks or benefits.
However, once you earn a master’s in nursing, that will all change. Your status will immediately be elevated, and you will find that your colleagues and other healthcare professionals suddenly seem to take notice of you more.
They may ask for your opinion more often than before, speak to you more as an equal and come to you for advice.
This may seem sad, but it is true. If you want to be respected more, and taken advantage of less, then pursuing a master’s in nursing is a good option for you.
You can impress your family and friends
Most people want their families and friends to be proud of them, especially when it comes to their chosen career path. Being in the same job with no prospects to move up the career ladder can make some people feel like they are letting their family down, that they are not doing enough to improve upon themselves or to improve their family’s situation.
Although, of course, this is not true. If you do feel this way, then you could do a whole lot worse than earning a master’s in nursing to show your loved ones that you mean business.
It takes drive, ambition, hard work and determination to earn a master’s, especially whilst working full time as a nurse too.
What could impress your family and friends more than that?
Your career opportunities are endless
Once you have a master’s in nursing, there are so many job opportunities available to you including;
- Nursing Consultant
- Nurse Educator
- Advanced Nurse Practitioner
- Research Nurse
- Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Nurse Administrator
Not to mention the fact that you don’t need to stop once you have achieved your masters; you could go on to study for a Ph.D. in nursing and have the opportunity to progress into a more leadership focused role.
You can enjoy a longer and more fulfilling career
Sadly, the job of a registered nurse can be exhausting and strenuous, both physically and mentally. A combination of long shifts and irregular shift patterns can leave you feeling overwhelmed and over-tired, which in turn can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Not to mention the fact that being an RN can be extremely stressful, adding to the mental demands of the job. Be sure to look after yourself.
Having an MSN can ensure that you work in a less stressful environment. By doing so, you are more likely to be able to continue working for longer and be happier whilst you do it.
RN’s also commonly suffer from physical afflictions such as joint pain and chronic backache due to the heavy lifting that they are required to do and due to being on their feet for very long periods of time. MSN roles are a lot more sedentary and admin-focused, meaning you should be able to continue to work comfortably until you reach retirement age.
You can work more flexibly
If you are searching for that perfect work/life balance but never seem to be able to get it quite right, rising in the ranks from an RN to an MSN could be the key you are looking for.
Nurses with a master’s in nursing hold a lot of authority as their vital skills and experiences are highly valued and in demand. This means that as an MSN holder you are able to request certain privileges that RN’s are not privy too.
This can include:
- Flexible working hours
- More conveniently timed shift patterns
- Days off
- Remote working where applicable
You can experience more job satisfaction
Being a registered nurse can be hard work. You give and you give, and very often you get very little back, both from patients and from your employer. This can lead to low job satisfaction levels as well as feelings of resentment.
Seeing as you spend around 35% of your waking hours at work, you want to try and ensure that you are as happy as possible; not only for your own sanity but also for your family’s. Remember, most people do not leave a bad day at work in the office, but they also take it home and inflict their bad mood on their loved ones.
However, improving your career in nursing can help you become more satisfied at work.
In fact, according to the AANP (Association of Nurse Practitioners):
77% of nurse practitioners are either satisfied or very satisfied with their current job
Family Nurse Practitioners enjoy a very low unemployment rate of 7%, five times lower than the national average.
Therefore, if you are looking for a job that will make you happy and keep you in secure employment for many years to come, pursuing a master’s in nursing is a step in the right direction.
You can give back to your local community
Many MSN holders decide to work in the field within their local community, which can lead to an increased sense of job satisfaction. You truly feel as though you are really making a difference in people’s lives.
A career as a Family Nurse Practitioner, for example, will allow you to actively help the underserved members of your community. You will be getting to know them on a personal level for an extended amount of time, giving them health advice and improving the overall quality of their lives.
This can be extremely rewarding for many nurses.
You can choose a specific area of expertise
Depending on the MSN program that you pick, you should be able to funnel your studies towards a particular advanced nursing job.
For example, if you are passionate about holistic care and want to work on preventative treatment, then you could look for a master’s in nursing program that will prepare you for working as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
The beauty of a master’s in nursing is that you can be specific in the line of nursing that you want to study to ensure that the program you choose can help you achieve your dream job.
You will feel a sense of achievement
You may not believe it, but some RN’s undertake a master’s in nursing but do not look for a new job within the medical profession once they have completed their studies.
Other reasons to study for your master’s in nursing include:
- Increasing your confidence levels in your current job
- Testing your abilities
- Acquiring a sense of achievement
- Proving to yourself and others what you are capable of
- Widening your horizons
- The excitement of taking on a new challenge
- The possibility of career advancement further down the road
The important aspect to remember is just because you have decided to study for a master’s in nursing, that does not mean that you need to utilize your new qualification straight away. You can take a step back, evaluate your life and your career aspirations and take it from there.