5 Signs It’s Time to Get Your MSN

After graduating, an MSN leads to better job opportunities with higher pay, better work/life balance, and more manageable work hours. But it’s also a two-year commitment with a large tuition price attached. Because of the time and money necessary to complete this degree, you should take time to reflect on if this is the next career milestone for you. To help, here are five signs you should apply for your MSN in 2024.

You’re Passionate About Nurse Education

If you want to become a nurse educator, you often need an MSN degree to do so. In fact, nurse education is one of the most common nursing specializations. Standout programs include the ones at Eastern Carolina University, University of Central Florida, and Indiana University.

Nurse educators provide training to other nurses, healthcare workers, and, at times, the general public. This role is ideal for those who want to provide mentorship and motivate other nurses.

If your reason for getting an MSN is to enter nurse education, find a program with this specialization as opposed to another MSN concentration.

You Want to Take on an Administrative or Managerial Role

The other most common MSN specialization is nurse administration or management. In these roles, you manage other nurses and ensure healthcare procedures are running smoothly and efficiently.

Thanks to the current emphasis on healthcare efficiency, there are plenty of opportunities in this field, from working at larger hospitals to insurance companies to health tech startups. However, most of these opportunities don’t involve providing direct patient care.

Stand-out schools with MSN degrees in the nurse administration specialization include:

Even within nurse leadership, there can be many job types, ranging from being a nurse manager to optimizing healthcare technology. Make sure you find a program that either has a specialized degree in the area you’re interested in or provides student support resources to help you figure out how to leverage your MSN to improve your career.

You Like Mentoring Other Nurses

As we’ve discussed, an MSN often leads to roles in nurse leadership or education. In both scenarios, you are responsible for providing guidance and mentorship to other nurses. If you’ve been working as an RN for a couple of years and find yourself providing other nurses with advice, help, and unofficial tutorials on how to do things, it might be time to hone that talent in a master’s program.

Along with mentoring nurses, many MSN nurses also work with healthcare administrators, allied health professionals, and others to ensure they understand how to provide patient care and optimize people management in healthcare organizations so patients can receive better care.

MSN nurses are often mentors and advocates for nurses and other healthcare professionals, which is awesome but may not be the career move if you often shy away from communication, conflict resolution, and managing other people.

You Want More Job Opportunities

We won’t lie. No matter what type of nursing degree you have, there are plenty of job opportunities out there. But while many employers are hiring, most prefer candidates with a higher education level, especially for competitive roles that offer better work/life balance.

In fact, a 2023 study, found nurses with a MSN had more job opportunities and better pay, work/life balance, and more manageable work hours. They also were more satisfied professionally. Getting your MSN doesn’t just lead to more job opportunities, but better ones.

You’re Interested in Remote Work

Going remote is the ideal work style for many Americans, including nurses. However, many nursing roles include providing direct patient care, which can be hard to do on a remote basis. With a MSN, you’re trained to take on managerial roles, and administrative duties, and provide training. All of these tasks can be performed in a remote or hybrid format, opening you up to more work styles and control over your schedule.

If you get your MSN online, employees may see you as even more eligible for remote roles because you have experience learning and working remotely.

Who it Isn’t For

An MSN can provide better job opportunities, more flexible work arrangements, and the opportunity to explore your passions. But while it’s a great degree, it’s not for everyone.

If you’re interested in providing patient care at a more advanced level, becoming a nurse practitioner may better suit your interest. This is a different degree than an MSN and leads to leadership positions within patient care, while an MSN usually results in an administrative or managerial role.

No matter what degree is right for you, an MSN or NP degree is an investment in your future. It provides better opportunities, higher earning potential, and the chance to hone in on what you love.

Other Objections to Getting a MSN

For some, an MSN doesn’t provide the right type of advanced education. For others, it simply seems inaccessible due to the time and financial burden of getting a master’s degree. If time is a concern, look into part-time options you can complete while working full-time.

To make the degree more affordable, there are a few steps to take:

Your career matters, and an MSN can take it to the next level. If you’ve been searching for ways to make more money, have better work/life balance, or pursue your passion for nurse education or leadership, this is a sign to get your MSN.