Currently, healthcare is facing a shortage of skilled nurses. The bureau of statistics predicts that the nursing career will increase by 45% between 2019 and 2029. While this might be a positive sign, the problem is that not enough skilled nurses are available to fill these positions. The employment trend of registered nurses in these positions may grow more than six times slower than nurses needed during that time. It means there is a perpetual surplus of career opportunities and a higher demand for highly qualified nurses.
The shortage intensifies as the baby boomers increase and demand more healthcare services and older nurses age out of the profession, creating a vacuum that marks an urgency to fill these positions. In addition, numbers suggest that some nursing careers will achieve more limelight and offer more job security to those preferring these specialized nursing areas.
But landing these specialized roles needs nurses to attain a certain level of education. Like doctors, it is essential for nurses to keep learning and acquiring higher education to advance their careers. As a result, many ambitious and career-oriented nurses are fast-tracking their education. Online education has made it easier for nurses to study while working. Hence, many registered nurses can now enroll in an online RN to MSN degree program. With the popularity of online programs, it has become easier for nurses to enroll in remote learning programs and continue their nursing practice simultaneously.
Importance of an MSN degree
MSN is an advanced degree in nursing that equips students with the most current industry knowledge, imparts new skills, and prepares nurses for more important, highly specialized roles. Individuals with an MSN degree have more career opportunities available and can work across various settings. As these nurses dispense high-responsibility duties and assume leadership positions, they can also earn higher salaries than ADN and BSN graduate nurses. Moreover, employers are also eager to take them on board; the impending nurse shortage is already vouching for this fact.
Nursing careers open to you with an MSN degree include:
- Nursing Educator
A nurse’s job does end at bedside care, certainly not in recent times. Today, nurses are making a mark by imparting education. Nurses are eligible to apply for teaching positions in universities, teaching hospitals, and nursing colleges with an MSN degree. These highly qualified nurses convey knowledge to the new aspiring nurses bubbling with enthusiasm to make an entry in their field. Nursing educators transfer invaluable theoretical knowledge and train students with their life stories and experiences, giving students a taste of real-life nursing practice.
As nurse educators, you are also responsible for designing, evaluating, updating, and executing new nursing curricula. Most nurse educators also work in clinical settings in addition to their teaching job. To be the best nurse educator, you must display exceptional leadership skills, effective communication ability, and comprehensive knowledge about your field. Nurse educators also earn a handsome salary. They can earn $88,944 per year, which increases with experience and time spent in the field.
- Geriatric or Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
The elderly are expected to demand more healthcare services in the coming years as their population increases nationwide. As a result, Gerontology nurses will be high in demand; hence, this is considered an attractive career for nurses. As a Geriatric nurse practitioner, you must be proficient in working with patients who have dementia, hearing impairment, arthritis. You have to conduct diagnoses, give them treatment, develop care plans, and provide prescriptions. You can work in acute care, private practice clinics, public hospitals, ambulatory care, and long-term care units. The average salary of a geriatric nurse practitioner is $172,645 /year.
- Nurse Manager
If you aspire to work in the management part of healthcare, you can adopt the career path of becoming a Nurse Manager. You will be responsible for supervising teams, creating work schedules, managing human resources, budgeting, and handling a department’s finances. In addition, you will be accountable for the performance of your department or work unit, making sure it reflects the overall organizational goals.
As a nurse manager, you work with other nurses, delegate responsibility, measure performance, make reports, and present them to department heads. You have to communicate with healthcare professionals such as physicians and administrators frequently. Nurse Managers also make sure the staffing and development needs of the staff are met, and nurses don’t experience burnout under their leadership. To perform their job effectively, a nurse manager must possess strong leadership skills, the ability to motivate and encourage staff, effective communication skills, and problem-solving and decision-making ability.
It is not uncommon for you to change your career or advance after working for a few years; the same goes for nurses. The thrill of assuming new responsibilities and performing new tasks can reinvigorate their careers. Another reason for nurses to advance their careers is the availability of new job opportunities in the next few years. Often, nurses follow the path of getting a new degree to advance their careers. An MSN degree opens vast opportunities for nurses. You can work at various places inside a hospital or expand your career to administrative jobs, increase your potential to earn, and improve your lifestyle.