Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Nursing Worth It in 2022?
Taking your career to the next level in nursing often requires getting an advanced degree. Whether you are a nursing candidate thinking about a bright future ahead or an RN already working in healthcare, a graduate-level degree such as an MSN can speed up the process of career development.
The need for higher education is urgent because of the growing demand for nurses. Currently, healthcare is facing an acute shortage partly because of many nurses retiring every year. The aging out process of these experienced nurses is widening the gap in the demand and supply of new nursing candidates. Another reason for this urgent need for nurses is an increasing number of baby boomers who require more frequent healthcare services. As life expectancy has considerably improved, people are also living longer thanks to better medication and treatments. Hence, they need patient care services for a more extended period now.
But on the other hand, diseases and infections have become more assertive, requiring more qualified staff to treat them. Hence, there is a need for highly qualified nurses who can fulfill multiple and diverse roles. Getting higher education like an MSN is a big investment too. So, before making a decision, you must consider crucial factors that can impact the trajectory of your future.
Things to consider before getting an MSN degree
As an aspiring candidate, you must consider where you want to see yourself in the next ten years. Do you want to continue with basic bedside care? Or are you aspiring for a more meaningful and high-responsibility role? You also need to consider the mode of the degree. If you want to work alongside studying, a masters in nursing online degree is a much better option. Else, you can go for an on-campus program too.
Moreover, you have to decide which type of MSN you want to get into. Do you want to pursue a BSN-MSN degree, an RN-MSN, or an ADN-MSN degree? Answering these questions needs time and careful analysis of all your available options.
Let’s elaborate on some other pros and cons of this degree, so you can make an informed decision.
Advantages of an MSN degree
Now that we know what an MSN is and the various routes to get into this degree, let’s first look at the advantages of the degree.
New career opportunities
There is no doubt that you will have more job opportunities after an MSN degree. It is backed by the fact that MSN nurses are more knowledgeable and can provide better patient care services. Certain specializations require you to have a master’s qualification. Moreover, hospitals these days also require their nurses to be better equipped to work in fast-paced healthcare settings.
Focus on one area of nursing
If you want to focus your entire practice on one area of nursing like nursing informatics, nurse manager or nurse practitioner, you need an MSN degree. Having in-depth knowledge about a specific nursing area can make you an expert in this field. Some more roles that require an MSN degree include Nurse Midwife, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Anesthetist.
Earn a higher salary
The higher you excel in your career, the more is your potential to earn a better salary. The same is the case with an MSN nurse practitioner. If some hospitals and nursing areas require you to have an MSN, they compensate with better pay too. For instance, the salary of a Certified Nurse Anesthetist is $183,580 as of May 2020. This is one of the highest-paid careers in nursing.
Get better patient outcomes
This program aims to enhance the clinical prowess of nurses. Nurses get a better and more in-depth understanding of preventive care and evidence-based practices. Hence, they can garner better patient outcomes. Nurse practitioners are allowed to work independently too.
Demerits of an MSN degree
MSN programs are very attractive and give all benefits mentioned above. But if it were easier to get an MSN, everyone would have one. So, here are some challenges in getting an MSN degree.
Cost of the program
The cost of these programs is one thing that may make you rethink your decision. Put simply, MSN programs need considerable investment. Even though you will earn enough to get the return on the investment later in your career, in the beginning, it seems like a substantial out-of-pocket expense. The typical cost of an MSN degree varies but ranges from $35,000-$70,000.
Advanced degrees are challenging
Studying for advanced degrees in nursing is not a walk in the park. There are lengthy books, assignments, and homework that you must manage. You also have to manage your grades. You will be allocating a considerable number of hours every day or week to prepare for your exams or tests. It becomes even more challenging to juggle between kids, family, and work. However, it’s still possible as thousands of students are getting MSN degrees every year. But you might need time management and organizational skills as a prerequisite.
Nursing schools are demanding and need time to prepare for the tests and homework. You might be juggling between various work and family responsibilities. But think about the result and what you will get out of it. A
better earning potential, more job opportunities, more specialization options, and getting better patient outcomes are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless benefits of MSN that we might not be able to cover within the scope of this article. But it is not difficult to conclude that it is worth getting an MSN in 2022.