Are you ready to take your first step toward a rewarding nursing career by applying to nursing school? The first step is figuring out which path you should take. Should you get a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree? Which degree will allow more opportunities? With Marquette University’s Direct Entry Masters of Science in Nursing (DE MSN) program, not only will you earn your master’s degree, but you will be able to further advance your nursing degree.
Now, new MSN graduates don’t get to jump right into nursing. Like physicians who must complete residency programs upon graduating, our Direct Entry MSN graduates spend time learning the ropes of nursing. But as a master’s educated nurse you have a lot of options when it comes to the nursing field. We’ll explore the places new MSN graduates work, the various specialties you can pursue, and how getting your MSN could be just the beginning.
First Step: Experience
Even though you’ll graduate with a master’s in nursing, you will still technically be seen as an entry level nurse. This means that you’ll need to gain some invaluable experience on the floor. Typical tasks for an MSN-educated nurse include:
- Assess patient conditions
- Discuss and explaining conditions to patients
- Manage lower-level nurses
- Oversee patient records
- Research when necessary
- Educate patients on improving health
- Develop treatment plans
What you do day-to-day will depend on your official title and where you work. Nurses who hold an MSN typically work in the following places:
- General medical and surgical hospitals: There is and will always be a need for MSN-educated nurses in the hospital setting. With an MSN, you might work in the maternity ward, the surgical ward, or in the emergency room. If you choose to pursue a more administrative role, you could be managing the facility or a specific department.
- Schools or universities: Getting your MSN doesn’t mean only working in a hospital, MSN nurses could work in the health office of a college campus. Many universities employ on campus nurses to provide medical care for students in elementary, secondary, and high school settings..
- Physicians’ offices: With your advanced degree in nursing, you could work in a physician’s office that provides either general or specialized care. While your duties in a physician’s office may vary, generally MSN-educated nurses can diagnose and prescribe treatment plans for patients.
Next Step: Specializing
After you’ve gained some experience working as a nurse, you might consider continuing your education and getting an advanced nursing certificate. Marquette University offers several post-master’s advanced nursing certificates. Designed for students who already have their MSN, graduates of the post-master’s programs will be able to sit for the national certification examination in their respective field. The following are the four Post-Master’s Advanced Nursing Certificates that Marquette University offers:
1. Nurse Practitioner
The most common advanced nursing certification, nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, and provide physical exams.
We offer the following four specialty tracks to become a nurse practitioner:
- Adult-Older Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Adult-Older Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
2. Adult-Older Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
An adult clinical nurse specialist has advanced clinical knowledge of human responses, illness prevention, good health education, and diagnosis and treatment of diseases or other health problems.
Graduates of the Direct Entry MSN program who complete the Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist post-master’s program will be able to sit for the national certification exam for adult gerontology clinical nurse specialists.
4. Systems Leadership & Healthcare Quality
If you want to become an administrator or executive, this is the certification for you. This post-master’s program prepares MSN students for leadership and executive roles in healthcare environments. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam for nursing administration.
If you want to independently care for mothers and newborns before, during, and after pregnancy, then consider going into nurse-midwifery. Nurse-midwifery has seen exponential growth in the last two decades – a growth that will only continue. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the national certification exam of the American Midwifery Certification Board.
While Marquette University offers many post-master’s advanced nursing certificates, there are more opportunities to build upon your MSN. Here are a few more options:
Nurse anesthetists work in a variety of settings, including hospital surgical suites, OB delivery rooms or specialists’ offices like podiatrists or dentists. Their primary role is to collaborate with surgeons and anesthetists to administer local, regional or general anesthesia. For an MSN-educated nurse, the first step to becoming a nurse anesthetist is to complete an accredited nurse anesthesia program.
We mentioned that MSN-educated nurses can work at universities as a nurse, but with an advanced education, you could work as faculty members in the schools of nurse. Like any teacher, a nurse educator prepares lesson plans, develops curriculum, conducts lectures and advises students as they explore various career options.
With the right amount of experience, nurse educators may be able to author textbooks or even manage groups of other nursing instructors in their program. This is a great way to make your mark in the industry by training and mentoring the next generation of nurses.
Why Stop Now: Getting Your Doctorate or PhD
Once you have your Masters of Science in Nursing from Marquette University, why stop there? If you truly want to become a leader in nursing, consider getting a doctorate or Ph.D. Like nurses with master’s degrees, nurses with doctoral degrees are expected to have tremendous job demand over the next ten years. Nurses with a Ph.D. are true experts in their field and able to complete important research or teach at the highest university level. Doctorate and Ph.D. programs – while long and strenuous – prepare nurses for careers in health administration (a PhD is preferred for nursing executives), clinical research, and advanced clinical practice.
Your First Step
Become an expert in the nursing field with an accelerated MSN degree from Marquette University. Now is the time to take the first step towards your future. Contact our admissions team today to see how you can get started!