5 Career Opportunities with an MSN Degree
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Nurse Educator
- Research Nurse
- Nurse Consultant
With the rising costs of medical school as well as a higher demand for healthcare professionals due to an aging population and easier access to healthcare coverage, there is an increasing demand for nurses who have earned their Master's in Nursing degree. While the careers available to these graduates include different roles depending on personal strengths, many professionals are choosing direct patient care. Forbes reports that more than 20 states allow advanced nurses to practice medicine without a supervising physician in an effort to reduce costs and expand the availability of healthcare. Not all nurses go this route, though, and there are many different paths for Master's level nurses, some of which are listed below.
Related Resource: 50 Best Graduate Nursing Schools in America
1. Nurse Practitioner (NP)
This is one of the most common fields for graduates of a Master's in Nursing program. These professionals diagnose and treat patients and can earn qualifications in different specialties including family medicine, gerontology, and women's health. Nurse practitioners are increasingly found in psychiatric practices, often handling medication management. Depending on the particular state, nurse practitioners can either work independently or need a physician to approve certain prescriptions and medical decisions.
2. Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
CRNAs help administer anesthesia during surgical procedures and observe patients as they awaken in the recovery area. Sometimes they work alongside an anesthesiologist, whereas for certain less complicated procedures, CRNAs work alone. According to a Forbes list in 2017, nurse anesthetist programs ranked first in terms of Master's degrees with the highest salaries. This is one of the fastest growing specialties in advanced nursing practice.
3. Nurse Educator
In order to teach future nurses, educators need to complete a Master's degree in nursing education. Many of these professionals have worked in the field, either as a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner. There are opportunities to teach ranging from community colleges to graduate schools. As demand rises for practicing nurses, more teachers are also necessary. Some nursing schools offer part-time teaching positions for educators who want to continue working in the field.
4. Research Nurse
This is a position geared more toward the academically-oriented nurse. There are opportunities across all fields of medicine but especially in medication and medical device development and testing. Research nurses work on teams that includes physicians, lab technicians, and data scientists and often are in charge of running clinical trials, evaluating data, reading medical reports and journals, and writing papers. Other researchers study nursing practices, looking for ways to improve patient safety and outcomes.
5. Nurse Consultant
This is one of the least traditional careers for a graduate of a Master's in Nursing program. These nurses sometimes work in other industries like business or law. They are an integral part of many legal cases providing a medical perspective on issues involving malpractice or personal injury. Some consultants do work in the medical field, though, and are often brought into a clinic or hospital to evaluate processes, identify potential problems, and offer suggestions to increase accuracy and efficiency. Often, nurse consultants work independently from a home office.
No matter what certification, every part of the nursing field involves improving the lives of others through health promotion, illness prevention, and advocacy. Further education allows for a more advanced role in a patient's care, and regardless of a person's individual skills and preferences, there is a fulfilling position for anyone looking for a career with a Master's in Nursing.