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7 Reasons Why Now Is the Time to Get Your MSN

Posted by Julie Cerney, revised by Sara Giboney Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024

Why Now is the Time to Get Your MSN

Getting your Master of Science in Nursing has never been more convenient, cost-effective, career-boosting and important for you, your patients and your profession.

While there are many great reasons to go back to school, here are seven MSN degree advantages:

1. Enhancing Patient Care with an MSN Degree

To provide evidence-based care for the best possible patient outcomes in this constantly changing healthcare environment, advanced education is key.

“When I talk to other nurses and nurse leaders, I always encourage them to get more education,” said transitional healthcare leader Diane Koyasu Heine, a graduate of the MSN - Nurse Educator program at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC). “Education always benefits you and your patients.”

Koyasu Heine also received her Post-Master’s Nurse Executive certificate, and she considers both her master’s and post-master’s certificate to be pivotal to her success and to improving patient care.

The need for a more educated nursing workforce, with more nurses pursuing graduate degrees to assume advanced roles, is the focus of a consensus policy statement from the Tri-Council for Nursing, which includes the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives and National League for Nursing.

Research shows that there is a relationship between higher educated nurses and better patient outcomes, according to the Tri-Council for Nursing.

“A more highly educated nursing profession is no longer a preferred future, it is a necessary future in order to meet the nursing needs of the nation and to deliver effective and safe care,” the Tri-Council for Nursing said.

Leadership Skills Development in MSN Programs

Healthcare executives have the opportunity to lead teams and impact policies that improve patient care.

If you’d like to take on executive leadership roles, the MSN Nurse Executive track provides you with management skills and business knowledge focused on the healthcare industry. 

If you become a manager, you get more say in the policies and strategies that impact the patient experience. Nurses make fantastic supervisors and executives precisely because they’ve been on the floor and witnessed firsthand how decisions at the executive level can trickle down to impact care.

2. Elevating Nursing as a Profession Through MSN Education

An MSN empowers you to increase your impact as a nurse to further enhance and elevate the profession of nursing. 

With advanced knowledge and a graduate degree, you will be in a better position to affect greater change within and beyond your own unit or facility.

For example, with an MSN in nurse education, you can teach future nurses. You’ll help shape nursing care and healthcare quality for generations to come. 

As a master’s-prepared nurse executive or nurse informaticist, you can improve the quality and effectiveness of processes as you lead people and organizations to positive and lasting change.

Nursing Education: Teaching the Next Generation

Nurse educators mentor and train students who become skilled and compassionate nurses.

"Our aging population and changes in healthcare continue to escalate the demand for more nurses. We need nurse faculty to provide that education," said Marla Kniewel, MSN, EdD, RN, director of the MSN program.

In the MSN Nursing Education track, students learn to become a teacher to nurses-in-training, giving them their introduction to the clinical world.

While you can make a significant impact on patients’ lives as a registered nurse, the effect you have on patients as a nurse educator is immeasurable.

3. Analyzing the Cost Effectiveness of an MSN Degree 

A graduate education is an investment, which means you should carefully evaluate the cost and value of an MSN degree.

You may want to research and apply for financial aid, including:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses is $81,220. The average annual salary for nurses with a master’s degree can be up to $100,000 per year, depending on the role, location and experience.

7 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Get Your MSN

4. Flexibility of Online MSN Programs: Balancing Life and Education

As you’re pursuing your MSN, you’ll most likely be balancing work and MSN studies with your personal and family responsibilities.

An online program will offer you the flexibility and convenience that you need. You can complete your degree day or night, weekdays or weekends, from wherever you are.

Earning your degree will take a lot of time, dedication, and hard work. So be sure to choose a program with courses scheduled in a format that’s right for you.

“I used to say I can do anything for five weeks,” said Anne Boatright, a graduate of NMC’s MSN - Nurse Executive program and Nebraska’s State Forensic Nursing Coordinator. “The unique nature of the online program makes the difference, with five weeks of intensive study followed by a week off. Getting my MSN wasn’t easy, but every one of the instructors understood we had full-time jobs and families. They supported us, challenged us and kept us engaged. I’ll be forever grateful for that.”

NMC created its MSN for working nurses, so you have the flexibility and support you need to succeed.

5. Career Advancement Opportunities With an MSN

Maybe you’re tired of 12-hour shifts or tired of working nights and weekends. Maybe you want to increase your earning potential. Maybe you want to advance your career within or beyond your current organization.

You’ll have many opportunities for career growth with an MSN. 

“I still love direct care, and I’m not ready to be off the floor yet,” said Monique Summers, a graduate of the RN to MSN - Nurse Executive program. “This program really helped me understand the hospital floor, why policy changes are made, how to protect the budget and how to better help my colleagues.”

With her new insights and a greater depth of knowledge and experience, Summers says she is well-prepared to take the next step to advance her career, by starting the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at NMC.

6. Diverse Career Paths Available Post-MSN Graduation

Nursing remains one of the most respected and high-demand career fields overall. To help you stand out and greatly increase the career options open to you as a nurse, get an advanced degree in an area you’re passionate about.

At NMC, you have four options for advanced nursing specializations:

  • Care Coordinator.
  • Nurse Educator.
  • Nurse Executive.
  • Nursing Informatics.

“I immediately embraced computers and loved their impact on nursing,” said Jae Wright, a graduate of the MSN - Nursing Informatics program. 

“All of the professors were amazing, very engaging and always going above and beyond,” said Wright, who developed a close connection with the informatics program director who hand-delivered Wright’s diploma to her in Indiana. “I was so impressed by her as a teacher, and she was so instrumental in my success, that she is a big part of the reason I now know I want to teach.”

With her MSN, Wright has the option to teach, she has more opportunities to work in the specialty field she loves, and she may return to school to earn a doctorate.

Impact of an MSN on Nursing Informatics and Technology

Healthcare is becoming increasingly data-driven, which means there’s a demand for professionals who understand how data can be used to improve outcomes.

The MSN Nursing Informatics track gives nurses the tools they need to use data and provide actionable insights for a healthcare system. You’ll be able to implement health system policies that optimize patient outcomes.

7. Personal Growth and Development in MSN Programs

You do so much for your patients, family and community. Perhaps now is the time to focus on you.

You may want to ask yourself:

  • Is it my turn to grow my knowledge? 
  • Am I ready for new challenges and responsibilities? 
  • Do I want to lead in a more confident and impactful way? 
  • Am I ready for nursing leadership opportunities?
  • Do I want to teach the next generation of nurses and nurse leaders? 
  • Should I prepare for the doctorate that will open even more doors and opportunities in academics or as an advanced practice nurse?

Whatever reasons inspire you to return to school, do your research to find the MSN program that’s right for you.

Selecting the Right MSN Program for Your Career Goals

As you’re searching for the right MSN program for your career goals, you’ll want to pay attention to each college’s:

  • Accreditation.
  • MSN format
  • Specialty tracks.
  • Program start dates
  • Tuition cost. 
  • GRE requirements. 

You may also want to check each school’s success in undergraduate nursing education. Is there a solid Bachelor of Science in Nursing program with a high NCLEX-RN pass rate? 

Once you’ve done your online search, schedule a virtual or in-person visit with an admissions coordinator.

Dolores Diaz had never been to Nebraska, yet she listened to a friend’s recommendation and chose the MSN Nurse Executive program at NMC.

She worried about how hard going back to school would be after so many years in a staff role. She also worried about trying an online, out-of-state program.

“Since I’m in Dallas and they’re in Nebraska, could they really know me and help me? The answer is yes, they do,” said Diaz. “I wasn’t just another student or a number to the faculty and staff. I’ve had an entire team of people coaching and supporting me.”

For Diaz, the timing of starting graduate school was challenging but right. She’d been offered a management position and needed more advanced education to be the effective, confident and compassionate leader she wanted to be — and now has become. 

“I’ve told my coworkers that when they are ready to go back to school, go to Nebraska Methodist College,” said Diaz. “They want you to succeed and they won’t let you fail.”

An MSN in Care Coordination Combines Patient Care and Public Health

Navigating the healthcare system can be challenging for patients and their families. But having a compassionate and knowledgeable advocate makes the process more manageable.

Care coordinators, also known as patient navigators or patient care facilitators, collaborate with healthcare teams to help facilitate the trajectory of patients’ conditions and provide support.

The MSN Care Coordinator track prepares students to integrate their clinical experience with leadership, public health and advocacy. 

Taking the Next Step in Your Nursing Career

Ready to take the next step in your nursing career? Discover how our MSN program can open new doors for professional growth and leadership opportunities. Click here to learn more about our comprehensive MSN degree offerings and how you can enroll today to start shaping your future in nursing!

Topics: nurse education, nursing, online education, graduate programs, msn