One of the main differences between MSN and BSN careers is the level of patient interaction in each. While BSN nurses continue in a patient-centered role, those with an MSN may become more involved in policy, leadership and clinical decision making. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing are both popular degree options for today’s nurses, and both provide unique career options. Fortunately for time-pressed nurses, both are also available online.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2014 and 2012, nursing employment will grow about twice as much as the average occupation.1 The population is aging, America’s healthcare system is changing, and nurses are taking on more responsibilities than ever before. All of this means that nursing is an extremely in-demand career, and nurses are encouraged to pursue education beyond their Associate’s Degree or nursing diploma.
Sacred Heart University offers a number of nursing degree programs, including an online RN to BSN, MSN, and even an RN to Bachelor to Master of Science in Nursing degree.
Considering BSN career options.
BSN nurses perform the same jobs as RN at a higher level. Employers also prefer to hire BSN nurses, so nurses with this degree also enjoy more opportunities for advancement. They can also begin to take on some leadership responsibilities, develop treatment plans and increase their role in treating patients. This makes the BSN an ideal degree for nurses who enjoy personal interaction with their patients.
Some jobs are available exclusively to nurses with a BSN.2 These include:
Critical care nurses work with critically ill patients. They assess patient condition, help with diagnosis, identify outcomes, implement care, and evaluate patient progress. They work in hospital ICU and step-down units.2
Informatics nurses ensure that medical data is accurately communicated among doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. They incorporate information systems into the clinical environment, and can even assist with research by optimizing data.2
Surgical nurses assist during surgeries and other medical procedures. They prepare equipment, set up IVs, monitor vital signs, and provide pre- and post-op care.3
Hospice nurses provide palliative care, both in hospices and also a home setting. They provide palliative care and emotional support for both patients and their families.3
A closer look at MSN careers.
People who are more interested in initiating policy change, implementing research-based reforms and contributing to cures and medicine might prefer an MSN career path. Nurses with a MSN can enter more specialized practice, and a MSN is also required for most nursing leadership positions. In some states, nurses with an MSN can even prescribe medicine.4 The salary for MSN nurses is also higher, jumping from $64,000 to $86,000.5
Some of the positions included in MSN careers are:
Research nurses help gather, examine, and evaluate data as part of a research team. This research can lead to changes in medical policies and procedures.5
Nurse educators serve as instructors and professors in a variety of settings including community colleges, major universities, and even hospitals.5
Nurse administrators take a leadership role in a variety of healthcare institutions, helping with all aspects of management and administration. They are responsible for the day-to-day workings of healthcare facilities and assist with hiring.5
Clinical nurse leaders focus their leadership responsibilities on the clinical side of healthcare. They ensure that treatment is coordinated and nothing is being overlooked, while implementing research-based improvements to the clinical setting.6
Advanced practice nurses select one field of study to specialize in and take a high-level clinical role within that field. With a MSN degree, nurses can have true specializations, and these specializations include mental healthcare, oncology, family practice, maternity, and more.7 Under the supervision of a physician, these nurses can act as a patient’s primary care provider.5
Nurses deciding between a BSN and MSN can be confident that both degrees will advance their careers, and should consider what type of career they want when making their decision. Nurses who love patient interaction should know that a BSN will keep patient care at the heart of their work. Nurses who are more passionate about policy, research and medicine might prefer an MSN career path, which will prepare them more for those responsibilities.
If you’re interested in advancing your nursing career while continuing to practice, an online degree may be right for you. Learn more at SHU’s website.