You’ve been through college. You studied hard. You earned your degree. You even got through the NCLEX with flying colors.
But now, you’re months or years removed from school, and you’re not sure if you should pursue a master’s degree in nursing.
Maybe you’re seeing the high demand for nurses with graduate degrees, or perhaps you enjoy learning new things or you want to become an expert in your field.
Graduates from Nebraska Methodist College’s (NMC) Master’s of Science in Nursing program often want to take on a leadership role in nursing, teach college courses in nursing, focus more on population health or be a part of the team that optimizes patient outcomes.
Whatever reason you have for thinking about starting graduate school to earn your Master of Science in Nursing, we’re here to tell you that your instincts are probably right.
There’s never been a better time to leap from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to a Master of Science in Nursing. The following are just a few key reasons to apply to get your MSN.
A Master’s in Nursing Makes You a Leader
Nurses’ voices are more important than ever, and healthcare administrators are listening to what they have to say.
Chief nursing officers and other nursing executives are in demand, and nurses have an unprecedented opportunity to specialize where they want to within their fields.
To reach a higher degree of specialization or to get the chance to lead within healthcare, you need a Master of Science in Nursing. The BSN gets you in the door, but an MSN allows you to advance your career.
The MSN is the minimum education requirement for many of the advanced roles in nursing. If your goal is to manage personnel or oversee an entire facility, the nurse executive option gives you that opportunity.
The ability to prescribe medication has also been granted to nurses in many states. This permission only comes once a nurse has further demonstrated his or her skills by earning their master’s or even doctorate degree in nursing practice.
The master’s level nursing degree demonstrates a heightened level of specialization sought out by healthcare institutions. If you want your career to continue on an upward trajectory, it’s essential to meet this benchmark.
The nurse executive track within the MSN program provides you with management techniques and business knowledge. Combined with your specialized skills as a nursing professional, you’ll be prepared to take on an executive leadership role.
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.
A Master’s Degree in Nursing Expands Your Role as a Nurse
With a bachelor’s in nursing, you’ll most likely provide direct care to patients. A master’s in nursing allows you to take your career beyond acute care and other clinical care settings.
An MSN doesn’t mean that you’re getting away from the patient interaction that made you passionate about nursing in the first place. Instead, you learn how to provide for patients in additional ways, big and small.
If you want to continue working directly with patients and their families, you may want to pursue a master’s in nursing as a care coordinator.
A nurse care coordinator works to improve health outcomes for patients with complex diseases. You’ll provide emotional and supportive care and assistance navigating the healthcare system.
The care coordinator track provides you with the skills and knowledge required to coordinate the care of patients, families and communities.
For those who want to move away from direct patient care but continue to impact patients’ lives, nurse education or nursing informatics may be the right fit.
If you take the nurse educator route, for instance, you learn to become a teacher and a mentor to future generations of nurses, giving them their introduction to the clinical world making an impact on more patients than you would ever see providing direct care.
Nurse educators are imperative to improving the shortage of nurses in healthcare.
The nurse educator track within the MSN program allows you to gain experience teaching so that you can impart valuable knowledge and skills to future nurses.
If you like data, analysis and implementation of procedures, nursing informatics may be for you.
The nursing informatics track within the MSN program gives nurses the tools they need to harness data into actionable insights for a care system. You’ll be able to turn those insights into actionable health system policies that optimize patient outcomes.
Your clinical care experience provides you with the skills you’ll need to absorb the data and determine how decisions can affect healthcare.
Never think of an MSN as an end to clinical care (although it can be if you want to transition out). Think of it as an opportunity to take that care to a different level.
Earn a Competitive Salary with a Master’s in Nursing
Getting your graduate degree in nursing will advance your career, but it will also allow you to earn a competitive salary.
As an MSN-qualified nurse, you can expect to make more money in most roles than a BSN-qualified nurse.
This will be the case even if you don’t immediately take on a new job. Numerous health systems have a pay scale that will adjust your wages based on your degree.
But even if this isn’t the case, the new roles you can now transfer into will likely carry a higher salary due to additional responsibilities or team management, thanks to your expanded knowledge base and experience.
So yes, it’s possible and even likely that pursuing and earning your MSN will put you in a position to command greater earning power over time.
Salaries for nursing care coordinators, nurse informaticists, nurse executives and nurse educators vary in the U.S. and are based on geographic location, job duties, specialty and experience.
The median annual salary for nurses with master’s degrees ranges from $76,000 to nearly $100,000, depending on your career path.
Get Financial Assistance for Your Nursing Master’s Degree
Nursing is one of the most in-demand industries in the country. Nurse educators, those responsible for teaching future nurses, are also in high demand.
The Nurse Faculty Loan Program provides students studying nurse education with financial assistance. Because of the nursing shortage, the federal government has stepped in with a system that offers loan cancellation for those who commit to teaching full-time at a nursing college.
To qualify for this loan cancellation, you must begin work as a full-time faculty member at an accredited nursing college within 12 months following graduation.
However long you work full-time directly impacts how much of the loan is canceled. For example,if you work for four years, 85% of your loan will be forgiven.
This program's availability makes going from a BSN to an MSN an attractive prospect for someone specifically interested in teaching.
If the nurse educator track isn’t for you, there are many other financial assistance options to help make graduate school more affordable.
When is the Right Time to Get Your Master’s in Nursing?
If you’re considering applying to graduate school, then our biggest piece of advice is this: don’t wait.
We often hear people say that they must wait for the perfect time to pursue their master’s degree. Whether that means waiting for kids to graduate high school, waiting to pay off debt or waiting for life to slow down, there will never be a perfect time.
“There might never be the perfect time to go back to school. But if it’s something you want to do, you can make it work,” said Jane Herman, NMC recruitment and admissions coordinator. “Our graduate programs offer flexibility for students just like you who have busy work and family lives. We will work with you to find a plan of study that fits your lifestyle, and you will have the support of faculty who understand that you have many other obligations in your life.”
At NMC, you can get your master’s degree in nursing online. The 100% online programs allow you to get a professional education on a convenient schedule.
“The NMC faculty is dedicated to the students, fostering an environment of learning and support throughout every course,” Melissa Overholt, a graduate of the MSN nurse executive program. “The faculty genuinely cares for the well-being of every student and recognizes they have a life outside of the program. They provide every opportunity for students to be successful with timely and open communication to share concerns or ask questions.”
How to Apply to Get a Master’s Degree in Nursing
Follow these steps to apply for graduate school at NMC:
- Apply to the program of interest
- Submit required official college transcripts
- Written Statement evaluation
- Complete the Program/Career Awareness Questionnaire (if applicable)
- Submit Resume
- Submit proof of unencumbered healthcare license (if applicable)
- Non-Nebraska Residents meet State Authorization
Visit the program webpage to review specific application requirements for your program of interest. The list above may not include additional requirements necessary for your intended academic program.
If you have questions, reach out to an admissions coordinator at (402) 354-7200 or email@example.com.