Advanced Nursing Opportunities for MSN Graduates

Like many professional career options, experience and education are crucial for achieving success in a nursing career. Whether you plan to work as a nurse in the future or are already a registered nurse looking to take your career to the next level, you are probably already aware that this profession is one of the best options for advancing your career and choosing from a wide range of high-level careers to get into. Nurses have countless opportunities to choose from when it comes to working in a variety of different specialty areas in the industry or moving up the career ladder.

Getting an advanced degree is usually the main requirement for nurses who want to work in an advanced position. Typically, nurses will choose to get a master’s degree in nursing, whether they decide to get a general master’s degree or a program that is designed to prepare them for a specific role such as a nurse practitioner master’s degree or a master’s degree focusing on nurse leadership. If you are a registered nurse and are thinking about taking your education up a level, here are some of the opportunities that you could take when you have a master’s degree in nursing.

Nurse Practitioner

BSN to FNP programs are designed to prepare you for a role as a family nurse practitioner. These advanced practice registered nurses are in very high demand in the healthcare industry right now, so it’s no surprise that a higher number of nurses than ever are now deciding to pursue this career path when getting a master’s degree. Nurse practitioners have full practice authority in twenty states, meaning that they have the authority to practice independently and provide care to patients without supervision or authorization from a primary care physician. This provides nurse practitioners with the autonomy and freedom to run their own clinics and work in a role where they are permitted to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication to patients. A nurse practitioner role is one with a competitive salary and a lot of respect in the healthcare industry. In recent years, nurse practitioners have become increasingly more important to primary healthcare due to the fact that fewer medical students are choosing primary care, causing a shortage of primary care physicians that is driving the need for nurse practitioners to fill the gap.

Nurse Management and Leadership

Another advanced career option to consider as a nurse with an MSN is management and leadership. Nurses often make ideal managers and leaders in healthcare since they can lead with empathy and compassion for both their colleagues and their patients. Nurses and other healthcare professionals need somebody who is dedicated, experienced, and has the expertise required to manage teams and oversee the delivery of patient care. If you enjoy leading teams, taking on more responsibility and inspiring others to improve results by driving better standards of patient care, nurse management or leadership could be an ideal career choice for you. Nurse leaders and managers are responsible for making the right decisions for the team and always keep patient care and outcomes at the forefront of any decision they make. They’re often put in charge of managing clinics, hospital departments, and many other healthcare settings.

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Specialty Nursing Roles

Nurses can also get into a wide range of advanced specialty career roles with the right advanced training, education, and professional certification. You can choose an area of nursing to specialize in at any point during your career. Gaining a master’s degree in nursing will qualify you to focus on more advanced areas of nursing care, such as acute care and trauma nursing, operating room nursing, nurse midwifery, neonatal nursing, and many other specialisms where an advanced level of training is required due to the advanced care that patients will require. Many nursing master’s degree programs today are designed with these popular specialty areas in mind, providing nurses with a training option that not only provides them with the qualification that they need to advance in their career, but allows them to focus their efforts into preparing for a certain role and learning as much as possible about it.

Nurse Education

Nurse Education

Today, the shortage of nurses in the US isn’t down to fewer people wanting to get into this role. In fact, there are hundreds and thousands of students each year who are turned away from nursing school or have to postpone starting their program. This is because there is currently a worrying shortage of trained educators who have the skills and qualifications necessary to prepare nursing students for their future role as a nurse. Nurse educators are absolutely crucial to the nursing field, as without them, it would be very difficult to become a nurse. If you enjoy teaching others and want an advanced nursing role where you have the option to split your time between working in clinical and educational settings, nurse education could be the perfect choice for you.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Advanced Nursing Program

Advanced nursing degree programs such as an MSN are often required if you want to get into a more advanced nursing role and enjoy more autonomy and responsibility in your role. If you want to take your nursing role to the next level and get into one of the popular advanced career pathways mentioned above, there are several important factors to consider before choosing the right advanced degree program to meet your goals. Some of the most essential things to think about before you apply to and enroll in a master’s degree in nursing include:

Your Career Goals

The specific goals for your career that you have in mind will be one of the biggest influencing factors when it comes to choosing the right advanced nursing degree program for you. It’s important to consider what you want to do in your career and how a certain degree program might be the best option to help you get there. While a general MSN degree program might be enough to get you into a variety of different advanced nursing careers, there are also more specialist degree programs to consider that are designed to prepare you for a specific career. A master’s degree in nursing leadership, for example, is a great choice for registered nurses who are interested in running a department in the future, while family nurse practitioner master’s degree programs place more focus on advanced practice work directly with patients to prepare you for this role.

How to Study

How to Study

One of the main decisions that you will likely need to make is the way that you want to study for your advanced degree program. Today, online advanced degree programs are quickly becoming some of the most popular choices for registered nurses who want to take their career up a level. Studying online is an ideal choice if you require more flexibility and freedom to fit your studies around your commitments, which is often important for students who want to continue working as a registered nurse full-time while improving their education. There are many benefits to studying for an online degree alongside the flexibility of these programs. Nurses who decide to get their advanced degree online can typically save more money, since there are fewer costs to pay in terms of commuting to class or buying equipment. And, there’s a lower opportunity cost since the flexibility allows nurses to continue working as normal without having to reduce their hours to fit around studying.

Type of Degree

If you have decided on an online advanced nursing degree as being the best option for you when it comes to moving up in your nursing career, it’s important to be aware that not all online degree programs are created equally. Before you send off your application and decide to enroll in a degree program, it’s crucial to spend some time looking into the finer details to make sure that the program is going to be a suitable fit for you and your needs. Some online degree programs are more flexible than others, giving you the option to choose when to study based on your schedule, while others allow you to study from home but will require you to be online at certain times for lectures and classes. Other online degree programs are hybrid courses, where you will be studying online sometimes but also have the option to go on-campus and attend classes, lectures and seminars there. Spend some time considering the type of degree that might be the best option for you depending on what you are going to need the most to succeed as an advanced nursing student.


Considering the cost of getting your advanced nursing degree is unlikely to be a factor you can avoid if you’ve decided to take your career up the ladder. It’s important to weigh up the cost of getting your online degree and determine how you are going to get access to the funding that you need if you are not in a position to cover the cost from your own pocket. Online nursing degree programs, as mentioned earlier, are an ideal way to save some money while getting your advanced qualification since there are fewer costs associated with distance learning and continuing to work full-time is easier. Consider all the options that are available to you when it comes to funding support including employer funding programs, scholarships, grants, fellowships and more along with comparing different student loan options to get the best value.

Employer Support

In the healthcare industry, advanced nurses are in high demand so it’s no surprise that a greater number of employers are now putting support options in place for nurses who want to take their career to the next level. It’s definitely worth setting up a conversation with your employer to find out more about any kind of support that they can offer you as you commit to improving your education. Some employers offer financial support, where you can claim expenses back from them to cover some or all of your tuition fees, while others may not be able to offer help with finances but can certainly help to make things easier for you by offering flexible hours and other types of support that can help you achieve your career goals.

Nursing School

The nursing school that you attend for your advanced degree is going to have an impact on the rest of your career. There are several main factors to consider when you decide on the right nursing school for you. With various nursing schools and colleges to consider, this is an important decision that you’ll need to spend significant time researching. One of the most important things to ensure when choosing a school is accreditation. A nursing school that has accreditation awarded by a reputable accrediting body will provide you with peace of mind that the school and programs meet rigorous academic standards.


How much time do you have to commit to learning? Getting an advanced nursing degree such as an MSN in no easy task, so it’s important to be honest with yourself when it comes to determining if you’re going to be able to fit it all in. If you need to continue working full-time as a registered nurse while you are studying for your advanced degree, then it’s important to be fully aware of the high workload and level of effort and dedication that studying for a full-time degree at the same time is going to take. The last thing that you will want is to burn yourself out or deal with high stress levels as this is not only potentially harmful to your health but also to your nursing career. Weigh up your options and be honest with yourself about your commitments before deciding if a part-time or full-time degree is the best choice for you.

Nursing is a career with endless progression opportunities to consider. If you want to work in one of the most popular advanced nursing careers, an MSN or other advanced nursing degree can provide even further opportunities.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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