If you are a travel nurse looking for better career opportunities, getting an advanced degree, such as an MSN (Master’s in Nursing) can be your stepping stone towards your goal. In this article, we explore RN to MSN as your career advancement option, why you should consider it, and how to get started.
What is MSN?
Similar to other fields, a Master’s Degree in Nursing will equip you with advanced training and skills to provide high-quality nursing care. It is often a requirement for travel nurses who want to apply for specialized roles, such as a nurse practitioner or a healthcare administrator. Apart from advanced nursing care, you will also learn about leadership, management, policies, and finances.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle attached to pursuing an MSN degree is the cost. Like other master’s degree courses, MSN is expensive. According to the U.S. News & World Report, tuition fees for MSN range anywhere from $35,000 to $65,000. Luckily, you can get financial aid from government-funded programs or you can consider a personal loan online.
How Long Does the Program Take?
Typically, a master’s in nursing takes two years to complete. A major requirement to enroll in this program is a BSN degree. Most schools also require that you are a registered nurse and have clinical experience. An MSN program is intensive and challenging. It takes dedication and commitment to complete the course with flying colors. If you are a travel nurse, it’s basically going back to school again and experiencing another two years of sleepless nights preparing for exams, exhaustive classroom discussions, and rigorous practical tests and activities.
But good things come to those who wait… and work hard.
A master’s degree in nursing will open doors to so many opportunities, such as:
- Expertise in a specific area. You can choose a specific area in healthcare that you can specialize in, from running healthcare facilities to practicing alternative therapy, conducting research, making policies, and so on. It is, therefore, an opportunity to achieve your personal dreams and matching them to the needs of the healthcare industry. Yes, it’s basically achieving your career goals and being of greater help to your community.
- More career opportunities. Currently, you only need to be a registered nurse to work at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. But once the shortage in nurse has been combated, it is predicted that the licensing requirements will become more stringent and eventually, an MSN certificate will be required for most nursing jobs.
- Your work, your terms. One of the best things about holding an MSN degree is the flexibility it provides. Whether you are a travel nurse or a resident nurse, you know how demanding your job can be. Most nurses work on a variety of shifts and it can be both mentally and physically taxing. An MSN degree provides you with some leverage when choosing your schedule. Additionally, you get more options when it comes to where you want to work. With your expertise and skills, there will be more job opportunities waiting for you from almost anywhere in the globe.
- Higher salary. Earning a master’s degree can bring a significant increase in your salary. MSN holders earn $92,000 on average per year while BSN holders and RNs earn $80,000 and $67,000 annually.
RN to MSN – Quicker Way to a Master’s Degree
What is an RN to MSN program?
An RN to MSN program is an accelerated course that allows you to earn two degrees (BSN and MSN) in a single program of study. Traditionally, you need a BSN degree before you can pursue a master’s degree in nursing. The RN to MSN program lets you skip the need for a bachelor’s degree as long as you are a registered nurse. While this entails an extra year in the MSN program, the effort is all worth it. This accelerated program is intensive but is no doubt the best way to earn your master’s degree.
Speaking of the cost, choosing an RN to MSN program can save you a lot of time and money in the process. In some universities, RN students can take master-level classes at undergraduate tuition rates. Apart from this, you will also be saving a year’s worth of time (and hard work) and money because you’re skipping another program.
Even though the RN to MSN programs are relatively new, they are intensive and research-based. They focus on leadership, management, and interpersonal skills to prepare you for higher or more specialized roles. Meanwhile, the RN to BSN program is more focused on clinical experience and front line delivery. If you already know what specific job in nursing and healthcare you want, attending an RN to MSN program is more suitable for you.
Online RN to MSN – Solution for Travel Nursing
One of the biggest challenges that most travel nurses confront when it comes to advancing their degrees is the fact that they don’t have a permanent location while working. Travel nurses fill short-term positions, working at hospitals and facilities anywhere from 8 to 13 weeks. This means that you won’t be able to attend a regular school.
Fortunately, an online RN to MSN programs are available. Taking an online course will greatly lower your stress and will make studying easier and better. You can attend lectures, complete your homework, and perform other tasks you can typically do at a regular school right from your personal computer. Plus, you can choose from any school in the country.
Putting it All Together
If you are a travel nurse looking to advance your career, taking a master’s degree could be your stepping stone. Having an MSN degree gives you so many opportunities, from developing expertise in your chosen field or area to a higher or a more specialized role, and an increase in your pay rate. An RN to MSN program is the quickest and least expensive way to earn a master’s degree. It’s an intensive education but it’s all worth the effort. Luckily, online MSN courses are provided by many universities. Student loans and government-funded financial aid are also available if you are struggling with funds.
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