A Bachelor’s in nursing is good enough for an entry-level job in the nursing world, but a master’s is the best choice if you want to climb the stairs of success. Nurses with an MSN are more skilled and academically advanced. It is why, on average, they earn $42000 more than BS RNs and have a better job outlook.
If you are a nurse ready to start your MSN journey, you must select a specialization. The specialization you pick will decide your pay, working hours, and daily routine. It can be a confusing decision, but we’ve got your back; we have some tips to help you make the right choice. So let’s get right into it.
1. Know Your Working Style and Personality Traits
Healthcare duties can vary significantly. Some tasks need close-knit groups and interaction with other professionals regularly, while others can be a one-person job. Therefore, it would help if you explored your working style before deciding on a specialization.Whether you are a people person or prefer to work individually can help you narrow down your options when deciding on your specializations.
As an introvert, you might prefer posts where you don’t have to interact with many patients; in this case, forensics and informatics specializations are great options for you.If you like working independently, you might be an excellent fit for research-based roles such as nurse researcher and clinical research specialist. Independent nurses usually prefer learning independently too, which is why you might also like the master of science in nursing online programs. Online learning programs are accredited and yet offer a flexible learning pace.
If you are extroverted and prefer collaboration, you might enjoy high-touch specializations where you have to work in a team and frequently interact with many patients. Extroverted nurses fit well in the frontline specialties such as medical-surgical and critical care nursing. With strong communication skills, you might also thrive in educator and management roles where you have to instruct the inexperienced nurses around you.
Although empathetic andcompassionate nurses can conform to any specialization which allows patient interaction, they might be a better fit for sensitive patients who need mental healthcare. On the other hand, if you are a big-picture person with high ambitions to improve healthcare, managerial and administration-oriented specializations might be your thing.
2. Pick Your Work Environment Preferences
During your internship or your time as an RN, you must have witnessed the intense environment in a hospital. Most nurses love this agile and challenging environment that would keep them on their toes. If you are one of these nurses, you would love to work in an urban hospital. It is why you should look into a critical care concentration or a specialization that would land you in the ER or outpatient department.
Nevertheless, not everyone is built for a constant high-stress workplace; you might like working in a comparatively peaceful atmosphere. Luckily, the work opportunities are not limited to the hospital lobby; you have plenty of calmer options. For example, nurses with research specializations can work in research laboratories or academic medical centers. Even if they choose a hospital as their research haven, they are far away from the chaos.
You can also work at schools and cooperations where you will provide clinical service in more comfortable conditions. MSN graduates with the Family Nurse Practitioner certifications can work at hospice centers or patients’ homes.
3. Decide Your Preferred Patient Group
From infants to senior adults, every age group requires medical attention. The type of health provision usually depends on the diseases and medical conditions most prevalent in that age group. Moreover, every age group has different behavioral patterns, reactions, and general communication styles, which you would have to deal with.
Nurses spend most of their time closely with patients,so finding the age group you would be most comfortable working with is crucial.
Senior citizens utilize health provision services the most. Although they might have trouble understanding the medical procedures, their life stories might make clinic duty more fun. If you prefer working with mature patients, you can select a specialization that can help fill the shortage of senior adult healthcare providers.
Likewise, the children might be hard to communicate or connect with for some nurses. But if you are great with children, you would make a great MSN pediatric nurse practitioner or work as a schooling nurse. The road to Family Nurse Practitioner certification is ideal for nurses with no particular age group preference.
4. Evaluate the Importance of Salary and Career Growth
Careers can be fulfilling and high paying; it is why you should evaluate the significance of your future salary and career outlook in your career choice. After that, you can focus on selecting from the concentrations which lie within your desired wage range.
Even though all master’s degrees help increase the amount on the paycheck, some MSN specializations are more lucrative than others. For example, Nurse Anesthetist and Nurse Midwifery specializations result in the highest paying jobs with a six-figure median salary of over $123,000. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these MSN degrees will also have a 45% job growth between 2020 to 2030.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners and Primary Care Nurse Practitioners – pediatrics and adult-gerontology – are on top of the high-income nurse practitioners. BLS also reports that Nurse practitioners are amongst the fastest growing careers, with a growth rate of 52%.
While the more academic specializations, such as the ones leading to Nurse Educator roles, don’t result in a six-figure salary. They have job growth of 9% and high satisfaction rates because of contributing to the future nursing workforce.
With so many options, choosing one specialization in a master of science in nursing can be an overwhelming decision. However, keeping these tips in mind, you can make the right choice in no time.Remember to consider the work environment and the type of patients you will be dealing with. The more comfortable you are at your workplace, the easier it will be to work through the strenuous duty hours. So pick the specialization which excites you but also pays well and ensures stability and growth.