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A master’s degree in nursing can open the door to more senior nursing, education or management jobs that are less focused on direct bedside care nursing. But job descriptions for MSN holders vary a great deal from one hospital to another. There’s often a lot of flexibility based on what an individual nurse wants to do. Many, after all, don’t necessarily want to completely stop with bedside nursing as their careers advance. Some key points on the subject of MSN’s and bedside nursing:
Jobs Vary From One Hospital To Another
If you earn an MSN and keep on working at a hospital you were at previously – a scenario that’s very likely if the hospital helped pay for your MSN program – there may not be a nurse educator or manager position open right away, you can step into on a full-time basis. Hospitals have all kinds of budgetary ups and downs, and it’s not unusual for them to ask an MSN holder to remain in bedside care nursing on a part-time or even full-time basis until a completely non-clinical position opens.
Do You Really Want To Stop All Bedside Nursing?
A key attraction of advanced nursing positions is that they may involve less physical stress – a big consideration as a nurse ages – as well as a regular schedule involving less work on weekends, holidays or on night shifts. That said, some MSN holders like to keep a hand in bedside nurses to keep their skills sharp, and because they simply find the human contact with patients to be rewarding. Some MSN holders actually hold a few part-time jobs, some of which involve direct patient care and some of which don’t. Finally, some hospitals may require MSN nurses to spend some part of each day in bedside care either to maintain patient care skills, or to simply provide RNs with someone who can offer clinical leadership at the bedside.
Which MSN Specialties Involve Less Bedside Nursing?
It’s not unusual for nurse educators to do significant bedside nursing. Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Certified Nurse Midwives tend to become less involved in it. Some nurses also go for an MSN or even a DNP because their goal is to get out of direct care nursing entirely and work 100% as a teacher in an academic setting.
Is It Possible To Get Out Of Bedside Nurses Without Getting a Masters?
There are a variety of jobs where a nurse will either spend less time in bedside care, or in some cases stop doing it entirely. They include: Case Manager, Patient Advocate, Patient-Facing Clinical Nurse Educator, Preceptor and Risk Manager.
Are Nursing Salaries Better In Bedside Care Or Management Positions That Require An MSN?
Conversations with nurses and a review of key nursing forums make it clear that the answer to this question is all over the map. Some nurses report that they actually earn more doing bedside care that requires a BSN than they do educating nurses in a job that requires an MSN.
Clinical leaders are in interesting case. In hospitals that use them, getting a master’s degree may be rewarded with a small increase in salary. But there are often other ways to add points to a nurses’s clinical ladder, and some of them are far easier than getting an MSN. They can include development of a more advanced work role, continuing education or pure experienced, based on an individual hospital’s nursing ladder program.
AllNurses Forum, Nurse Journal, Monster.com, Mastersinnursing.com