general msn online programs

Choosing a Specialized vs. General MSN Degree

To become a nurse is a great choice. When you put your mind to committing to the nursing profession, you’re setting yourself up for competitive pay, rewarding work, and a lifelong career path. The sense of responsibility that you sign up for as a nurse – living and working by the Code of Ethics for Nurses – is enough to make most feel empowered and connected to other humans at a deep level. As the Reflections in Nursing magazine explains, because nurses spend so much time with patients (even more so than Doctors!), therein lies a beautiful opportunity to bond with patients and be their guiding light through illness, healing, recovery, and to health.

Feeling like you want to provide more comprehensive care than an RN? Want to increase your earning potential, and advance from your BSN to your MSN? The first step will be to choose an MSN degree that is right for you, which takes a bit of research.

There are a few different MSN degree options out there, and the choice that you make in this instance will indeed shape the near future of your career. For example, it might affect what jobs you’ll be able to apply for, what environment you’ll work in, which demographics you’ll work with, and how much money you’ll make. Each MSN degree is offered at a different pace, with different requirements. First, let’s find out what makes a person decide to go the general MSN route, versus picking a specialization.

General MSN Degree Programs

A general MSN degree covers all the bases that you’ll need to take on an advanced role in nursing. Whether you’re using your clinical practice skills in the ER, educating the rising generation of nurses at a College, University, vocational or tech school, or exercising your management talents as an administrator, a general MSN prepares you for a rich experience as a nurse leader. You can also consider earning your general MSN degree first, and then later building upon it. You may decide to enhance your abilities with a specialization later on. Regardless, if you begin with a general MSN degree, you will be eligible to take on roles like Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, or a Director of Nursing.

One of the biggest benefits to earning a general MSN degree, is that you graduate with a well-rounded skill set. For example, at Goodwin College, you’ll cover advanced pathophysiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology. You’ll study leadership, policy, politics, and theory. Population health will be a cornerstone to your education, and you’ll even dive into informatics, research, and technology. To boot, this curriculum is available in a fully online, flexible format, that can be completed in as few as 20 months, part-time. No one said it was easy, but it sure is efficient to enroll in a general MSN program that is fast, comprehensive, and accredited. Perhaps most importantly, when you are trying to get a job just out of school, you will be eligible to apply – with a competitive application – for a variety of roles, increasing your chances of landing a job that you love right away.

Specialized MSN Degrees

There are surely benefits to shooting for a specialization first, however the career approach will be different. With an MSN degree that dives right into focus  on a particular subject, you’ll have to set out into the workforce with fairly specific jobs in mind. Yet, there are lots of options, and you can specialize in your studies for the following roles, and more:

  • Midwife: caring for women, including gynecological care, prenatal, birth, labor, and beyond
  • Nurse Anesthetist: providing appropriate anesthesia for patients in preparation for operation
  • Orthopedics: treating musculoskeletal disease such as osteoporosis and arthritis
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: concerning patient mental health
  • Gerontologist: working with the elderly’s healthcare
  • Pediatrics: child healthcare and physical development
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: providing primary care for patients of all ages
  • Public Health Nurse: helping in-need populations get the quality healthcare they deserve

The type of specialty you select will dictate the healthcare environment in which you work. Do you see yourself working in, for instance, a mental health facility, or a rehabilitation center? An operating room, or a delivery room? What about pace? Assisting at the operating table for brain trauma is quite different than providing vaccines to children. You’ll also want to think about whether there’s a specific population that you enjoy working with – babies, older people, at risk or marginalized groups, or the more general potpourri that is an ER.

There really is no bad choice with pursuing your MSN. With so many different master’s degrees in nursing programs to choose from, you can truly elect the scope of healthcare that you, personally, want to impact. After all, nobody studies for their MSN because it’s easy! They do it because it’s worth it. Call Goodwin College for more information today at 800-889-3282, or visit us online.