Nurses are the backbone of the entire medical field. If you work as a nurse already, you know about long hours, hard conversations, and empathetic caregiving. You have mastered the knowledge of general healthcare and your own specialty. Working as an RN gives you many opportunities in clinical settings, family practices, and more. However, there are still many places you can go with your nursing career. For nurses who want to go back to school to eventually do advanced practice nursing, you’re probably looking into getting your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
There are many different reasons to get an MSN and ways to go about getting that master’s degree. Perhaps you have a specialty you’d like to research, you want more responsibility within your practice, or you’d like a little extra income and a higher degree can help you get there. Whatever the case may be, getting an MSN is no walk in the park. You’ll be studying at a high level in a great program that will help you reach your ultimate career goals. Just don’t forget to find some work-life balance along the way. Here are just three tips for pursuing your MSN degree, finding a great program, and aligning your priorities.
1. Know what you want to do with your MSN.
Before jumping into a program, it will be helpful to know exactly what you want to get your MSN to do. With so many different paths to explore, you’ll want some sense of direction. Are you studying to become a nurse practitioner? Would you prefer to spend time as a nursing administrator? Or is a job as a nurse educator your main goal? Knowing what you want to do will help you figure out the exact path to pursue.
There are so many different career options for individuals with an MSN. A master’s degree gives you a better ability to specialize in one area of medicine. This can help you get into a lot of cool stuff. Maybe you want to work with skincare and explore new methods for something like tattoo removal. With an MSN, you can do that research and become an expert on laser tattoo removal. Help people get rid of their permanent tattoo mistakes by giving them a new look just like they do with tattoo removal San Antonio, TX. No matter the skin type, you can help. This may feel a little out of the box from traditional nursing paths, but these are the opportunities you’ll be able to explore with your advanced degree.
Going back to school can also help you understand complicated and technical areas like health insurance and life insurance. Having a life insurance policy is important for your patients, especially if they are dealing with a chronic or terminal illness. As a primary care nurse or family nurse practitioner, you may be asked questions about how people can gain financial security while getting treatment. While your graduate program will mainly teach you more about healthcare itself, you can get your questions about life insurance policies answered as well. Compare prices, and understand eligibility to better help your patients.
2. Find a great program that fits your schedule.
With a high demand for advanced practice nurses around the world, there are plenty of MSN programs out there for you to choose from. You need to find a program that offers you a good amount of credit hours and the right clinical experience without breaking the bank or overwhelming your schedule. Perhaps you want to look into an online program that you can take over a few semesters while working as a registered nurse. Many nurses going for an advanced degree will continue in their current clinics while studying to do more. With online post masters NP programs, you can stay in your clinical placement while getting the hours and education you need for your post-master’s certificate. Online options give you the flexibility to complete coursework on your own time and fit your education around your already busy schedule.
Before you decide on your program, do your research to see what benefits you’ll get from that school. Networking can be incredibly important during your term life, especially if you want to work in a specific field after graduation. With so many schools to choose from, it’s important to decide on your specialization and find a program that gives you everything you need without charging a large sum.
3. Align your priorities for work-life balance.
Nurses can become incredibly burnt out after working long hours and putting their heart and soul into the job. If you are working and studying at the same time, your mental health could take a hit. This is a friendly reminder that you can’t do everything yourself, and work-life balance is important. Take some time off when needed, make sure you still have a bit of a social life, and align your priorities, so you don’t get burnt out with school and work.