Nurses can build fulfilling careers as leaders in a variety of settings. Earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides a way to get a start in the field, but nurses who seek advanced leadership roles or wish to teach at the college level take the additional step of pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing.
The University of Southern Maine (USM) offers an online Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing with two concentrations: Nursing Administration and Leadership or Nursing Education. Students who fulfill RN to BSN requirements through the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK) can seamlessly complete BSN to MS in Nursing coursework through USM.
Why Should You Get an MSN?
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree provides a number of benefits for nurses, including a higher earning potential. MSN-prepared nurses earn $95,734 per year, according to April 2021 averages from PayScale. The average annual salary for ADN holders is $70,535 and $86,341 for BSN-prepared nurses.
MSNs also qualify for career advancements and specialization options. An increasing number of employers value nurses with graduate degrees, yet, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that only 17.1% of nurses held a master’s degree in 2018.
For nurses with an MSN, nursing specialization roles include:
- Supervisor, administrator, director or manager
- Clinical nursing educator or faculty member
- Utilization or risk management specialist
- Nursing informatics professional
- Industry expert or medical science liaison
The Benefit of One Program Rather Than Two
USM’s online RN to MS in Nursing allows students to save time and money, earning two degrees through just one program. They complete the RN to BSN portion in UMFK’s online program, finishing MS in Nursing requirements through USM.
“Students pursuing the RN to MSN can complete this degree with 6 fewer credits than if they went the more traditional RN to BSN, then BSN to MSN route,” said Dr. Linda Samia, associate professor of nursing at USM. “Students don’t have the learning curve of new systems and delivery methods.”
MSN – Nursing Administration and Leadership
An MSN with a focus on nursing leadership and administration can prepare you for several healthcare roles. In fact, many Magnet facilities only consider MSN-prepared professionals for leadership positions or require leaders to pursue a master’s degree within a certain time frame because good team leaders are crucial to an organization’s success.
The program’s concentration in leadership and administration allows students to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of nursing, humanities and theory
- Communicate effectively and build professional relationships
- Utilize research to address challenges and improve practice
- Advocate for policy and strategy changes
- Synthesize organizational, financial, economic and culturally appropriate concepts
MSN – Nursing Education
MSN-prepared nurses with a concentration in nursing education are also in demand. A lack of nursing educators is one of the largest contributors to the nationwide nursing shortage. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for qualified and committed professionals will continue to increase, with an estimated 1.8 million RN vacancies emerging between 2019 and 2029.
Maine, in particular, has a desperate need for qualified nursing professionals. A 2017 analysis from Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Maine System projects a state nursing shortage of 3,200 registered nurses by 2025 without sustainable action.
The dearth of nursing school faculty is causing U.S. universities to turn away qualified applicants from bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs, perpetuating the nurse shortage. Earning an MSN and becoming an educator empowers nurses to make a difference.
Nurse educators can hold several different roles, including:
- Instructor, lecturer, professor, teaching staff
- Staff development expert, hospital educator
- Clinical educator, liaison or education specialist
- Nurse educator specialist, education development specialist
An MS in Nursing with a concentration in either nursing administration and leadership or nursing education provides endless opportunities for career acceleration and pay increases while addressing the nursing shortage.