5 Reasons to Get a MSN

5 Reasons to Get a MSN

Jennifer Fink | NursingLink

2: Increased Demand

A physician shortage – especially a shortage of primary care physicians – has been looming for decades. Experts predict that the recent healthcare reform bill, which promises to provide healthcare to thousands of formerly uninsured patients, will only exacerbate the shortage. That’s why people are looking at advanced practice nurses to fill in the gaps.

In its report, The Future of Nursing, The Institute of Medicine recommended removing scope-of-practice barriers that inhibit the practice of advanced practice nurses. They recommend paying nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, for instance, the same amount physicians receive for similar services. So far, 28 states have considered legislation that will address the current barriers to practice. These changes will combine to increase opportunity for MSN-prepared nurses.

3: To Teach

Nurse educators are in great demand. Despite the current nursing shortage, schools of nursing are turning qualified applicants away because there simply aren’t enough teachers to handle additional students. According to the AACN, in 2010, accredited nursing schools turned away over 67,000 promising applicants.

While doctorally-prepared nurses are the most in-demand nurse educators, MSN-prepared nurses are qualified to teach and lead clinical classes. A master’s degree can also be a stepping stone to a PhD and a long career in academia.

4: More Money

Advanced practice nurses consistently earn the highest salaries. Seven of the top 10 highest paying nursing specialties – certified registered nurse anesthetist, nurse researcher, psychiatric nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist and gerontological nurse practitioner — require a MSN.

If you want to make an annual salary in the $80 – 90,000 range, it’s time to head back to school.

5: It’s Never Been Easier

Earning a master’s degree take a huge amount of commitment and education. But nurses today have more options for advanced education than ever before. Online programs give nurses the chance to earn their MSN without leaving their home community (though some programs may require a brief, on-campus stay). Accelerated degrees, such as RN – to – MSN, and direct-entry MSN programs (appropriate for career changers who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another discipline), allows certain professionals to bypass a full BSN program. And almost all accredited nursing schools offer flexible, part-time attendance options that enable adult students to work or care for their families while attending graduate school.

Grants and scholarships are also available for qualified nurses who want to pursue a MSN. Check with your employer as well. Some may provide at least partial tuition assistance.

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