Career Outlook and Prospects with a Masters of Nursing

While many other industries are struggling in today’s economy, the medical field continually has job openings available. The average age continues to rise due to the aging baby boomer population, meaning there’s a larger elderly population in need of care. Add that to the growing general population, and you can see why nurses with advanced degrees are in demand and the nursing field continues to grow.

Nursing Career Outlook

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for the nursing field is rated as “excellent” with employment expected to grow much faster than average job growth in all fields. From 2008 to 2018, there will be about 22 percent more nursing jobs available, bringing the overall total to over 3.2 million jobs. That’s a lot of nurses!

Of course, some types of nurses are in higher demand than others. In terms of employers, nursing job growth will increase most in physician offices, home health care services, and nursing home facilities. Hospitals will also continue to need a high volume of nurses.

The graph below shows the projected growth rates for RNs in different work environments:

Advanced Nursing Careers

When you earn a master’s degree, you’ll be able to choose from one of four advanced nursing paths: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, or certified nurse anesthetist. Nurse practitioners are in highest demand, in part because this is a more general field where you’ll specialize in a certain type of medicine and work directly with patients. However, you can make more money in one of the specialized certified fields, or by specializing as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist, in a type of medicine where nurses are in high demand, like critical care or geriatrics.

Due to the decreasing number of physicians going into general practice, the demand for qualified nurse practitioners continues to rise. In my facilities, the nurse practitioner often fills the role of a general practitioner, seeing patients of all ages to treat general ailments and educate people about their health. In some cases, the nurse practitioner will work under the supervision of another doctor; in others, they have the ability to run their own practice. This depends on state regulations; in some states, nurse practitioners even have the authority to prescribe medication.

Reasons to Earn an Advanced Nursing Degree:

  • To qualify for higher-level positions
  • The ability to earn a higher salary
  • To remain competitive in the field
  • To advance your current career
  • To go into nursing education
  • To fill management or leadership positions

Daily Responsibilities

If you earn your masters of nursing, how will your duties differ from your current tasks as an RN with just an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree?

In general, your level of responsibility will increase, since you’ll have advanced training in your field. In some states, earning your master’s degree even allows you to practice medicine without the direct supervision of a doctor. This means that you will see patients from start to end, following through with their entire medical care.

Your specific daily responsibilities will depend greatly on the advanced track you choose to take. Your degree can qualify you for many positions, including management roles, educator, advanced nurse practitioner, and more. You could end up leading a team of nurses, go into practice for yourself, teach nursing at a college or university, and more.

In addition, with a master’s degree, you’ll be able to specialize in an area of medicine that interests you, rather than doing general nursing work with many different types of patients.

Online Master’s in Nursing Degree Programs

Earning a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree can open a world of career possibilities within the nursing profession. Listed below are featured online universities that confer MSN degrees.

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