msn degree definition

What is an MSN Degree?

As with any profession, the proper education is key to either getting your foot in the door somewhere, or advancing within a specific industry. For a nurse, the most common educational degree programs that one can pursue are an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctorate in Nursing. While every nurse’s professional path is different, there is no doubt that after becoming an RN, an MSN degree is a smart next step if you want to advance your career in the field of nursing.

But exactly what is an MSN degree, and why is it a great investment for someone working in the ever-evolving, highly-valued nursing field? Here’s everything you need to know about earning your Master’s of Science in Nursing.

What is an MSN degree?

An MSN degree is an advanced degree for Registered Nurses (RNs) looking for advanced positions and responsibilities within the healthcare system. These may include specialized positions, leadership, managerial, and educational positions in nursing. MSN programs can differ based on the specific focus area. For example, some MSN programs may offer courses in specific concentrations for nurses with specific career goals, such as pediatrics, gerontology, or orthopedics.

Other MSN programs take a more generalized approach and offer courses for nurses looking to advance within leadership and educational roles. The curriculum for these types of MSN programs will focus on advanced clinical nursing topics like pharmacology and physical assessments for advanced nurses, as well as on leadership topics for the modern day nurse leader. These types of MSN programs cover advanced leadership, communication, advocacy, and teaching practices that can be applied for nurses in a variety of care settings and roles. Regardless of the specific program you choose, all MSN programs have a clinical component where nurses have the opportunity to gain advanced practical experience in the field.

What is the MSN degree commitment?

Fortunately, MSN degree programs come in a variety of different formats, making it easier than ever for working RNs to pursue a master’s degree that works with their schedules. Throughout the country, MSN programs are now offered on-campus, online, and hybrid (online/in-person) format. The flexibility the modern MSN program can allow you to still work full-time while pursuing your degree. Not to mention, some can be achieved in a short time commitment. At Goodwin, students can complete their MSN degree in as little as 20 months part-time, making grad school a temporary but invaluable investment.

Why should I pursue an MSN degree?

Before you make the investment, you’ll want to know what is an MSN degree’s return on investment? The career outcomes for nurses who have earned their MSN degrees are extremely positive. Earning an MSN degree will provide you with the skills, experience, resources, and confidence needed to advance into a role with greater responsibilities and earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Registered Nurses is projected to grow 15% by 2026, which means there will also be a growing demand for qualified nurse leaders to manage those RNs. Some of the advanced roles that MSN graduates can obtain are nurse managers, nurse administrators, nurse educators, public health nurses, nursing department directors, and advanced nurse practitioners – All of which are expected to increase in demand and come with a high earning potential.

What is an MSN degree – or what will it be – to you? For many, earning an MSN is hard work but is well-worth the investment, especially at a time when the demand for qualified nurses is extremely high. Still have questions about pursuing an MSN? Contact Goodwin College’s Nursing program to learn about our MSN program and how you can apply today.