When you think of important career paths around the world, nursing might be one of the first to come to mind. Without nurses, we would not have the healthcare systems that we enjoy today. Nurses are often the main professionals who are responsible for providing their patients with the high standards of care that they are entitled to, advocating for patients and ensuring that everybody is treated with compassion, respect and empathy no matter their situation.
Choosing a career path in nursing is not only highly rewarding, but it also comes with a number of excellent career progression opportunities that you can pursue with a master’s degree in nursing. Some of the main roles that are on offer for nurses that have this advanced training include:
Nurse practitioners are some of the most in-demand professionals in the healthcare industry right now. After getting your masters of science in nursing, you can access MSN FNP bridge programs from Marymount University to complete your family nurse practitioner training before sitting the licensing exam to get into this role. In many states, nurse practitioners have full practice authority, giving them a higher degree of responsibility compared to registered nurses by allowing them to diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, and refer patients for additional treatment without the supervision of a medical doctor. Nurse practitioners in states that offer full practice authority are able to run their own clinics and have more career freedom and authority.
Nurse Leadership and Management
Every nursing and healthcare team requires a person who leads the team to ensure that patient care is well-managed and up to standards. With a master’s of science in nursing, nurses who enjoy working with people, can handle being responsible for big decisions, and have good leadership skills might be an ideal fit for these roles. Nurse leaders and managers often move into a more administrative type of position and spend less time at the bedside and more time coordinating and managing teams to ensure that tasks are delegated correctly and patient care is provided to high standards.
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Today, the shortage of nurses in the US is largely down to a shortage of nurse educators. It is not that there are fewer people applying to study at nursing schools, but often nursing schools and colleges are turning applicants away because they simply do not have the staff to manage the large numbers of students. More nurse educators are certainly needed to provide education and training to the next generation of nurses and close the gap caused by the shortage. Getting a master’s degree in nursing is just one step in the right direction to becoming a nurse educator, as this role will often require a DNP or doctorate of nursing practice in order to share your knowledge and skills with nursing students at the bachelor’s degree level.
Along with general nursing master’s degree programs, you can also choose from a wide range of specialty master’s qualifications that are designed to take your career further in a certain area of nursing. Whether you are interested in working as a nurse with a specific patient population, want to focus your work on certain diseases, or want to work in a specific healthcare setting, a master’s degree can help you get closer to your goal of working as a nurse in a certain specialty area.
A master’s degree in nursing is often required to work as a nurse midwife, a specialist type of nurse who focuses on working with pregnant people and babies. Nurse midwives are a key part of prenatal care and will work directly with parents throughout pregnancies to offer advice, monitor health and more. Nurse midwifes are also trained to deliver babies and look after newborns for their first few hours and days of life, along with providing mothers with post-natal care and support.
Neonatal nursing is a highly specialized type of nursing that involves the care of newborn babies who are premature or otherwise sick at birth. Neonatal nurses will typically work in a neonate intensive care unit, which can be a high-pressure environment. They are required to undergo specialist training since newborns are a patient that cannot communicate to you what is wrong and are often more likely to see sudden changes in their condition compared to patients of an older age. These nurses also need to be highly empathetic and good with people, since they are often the first point of contact for new parents who are often going through one of the most stressful and heart-breaking times of their life.
What to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Master’s Degree
Not all master’s degrees in nursing are created equally, with some designed to help you get a foot in the door in certain nursing specialties while others have a more general focus on advanced nursing. There are several things to consider when choosing the right nursing master’s degree for you, but most importantly, it’s important to make sure that the program you choose is designed to help you get into the role that you want to eventually reach. Some other key points to consider include:
If you want to continue working full-time as a nurse while getting your master’s degree, studying online might be the best option for you. Although you may be required to undergo advanced clinical practice on-site as part of the program, for the most part you will be able to enjoy more flexibility, the ability to study from home and set your own study hours making it easier to fit around your nursing career.
Finally, if you’re currently working as a nurse, it’s worth speaking to your employer about the support that they might offer for nurses who are getting a graduate degree. Getting a master’s degree can benefit both you and your employer, so many are willing to offer support with tuition and practical support as you study.
Nursing is a career with many opportunities – these are just some of the great roles you could get into with a master’s of science in nursing.