When the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation first put out its recommendations for 80 percent of all nurses to have their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020, it was seen as a radical shift to improve the quality of nursing in America. Within the group’s prescription for the future of nursing was also a directive to increase the number of nurses with advanced degrees.
Today, as we get closer to that 2020 deadline, the BSN degree has become de rigueur for Registered Nurses (RNs). It is those professionals with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees and above that will stand out and become the nursing leaders that the profession will depend upon for years to come.
Specialize Your Education
The most valuable online Master of Science in Nursing degrees are those that offer the opportunity to specialize your studies. The MSN is your foundation for a career as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). This credential can open many new doors for you, including the chance to become an Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) or even more.
All of these roles are vital to the future of effective, efficient and safe health care delivery. The capacity of APNs continues to grow in response to a shortage of primary care providers, an aging population, changing regulations, and ever-increasing economic pressures.
Evaluate Your Options
Your first criteria for choosing the right MSN degree should be the level of accreditation. Accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is widely recognized as the gold standard for advanced nursing education.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommends that you also have a good idea of your specialty focus and career goals before you start researching MSN programs. Once you know for certain which path you want to follow, then it is time to look at school rankings, faculty, and curriculum. You’ll also want to consider financial aid, class scheduling, and other practicalities of pursuing your online Master of Science in Nursing degree.
Realize Your Potential
Growing your opportunities as a nurse comes with many advantages that impact job security and satisfaction. There are the intangible benefits of being exposed to challenging new situations, garnering greater respect from physicians and other nurses, and working directly with patients in the community to promote health and reduce risk.
Of course, there is also the tangible aspect of increased earning potential. The AACN suggests that APNs can earn $60,000 to $90,000 right out of school, depending on specialty and geographic location. After five years of advanced practice experience, a six-figure salary can be within reach.
Getting your online MSN degree is the best way to elevate your nursing career within a reasonable amount of time, with curriculum and scheduling that can be tailored to your needs and goals. This is your time – your chance – to stand out among the millions of practicing nurses within the industry today.
National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, Health and Medicine Division
American Association of Colleges of Nursing