Online Master's in Nursing

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Nursing 101: What is an MSN Degree?

Nurses are an incredibly important segment of the healthcare community. They use their advanced knowledge of patient care to comfort and treat patients according to the directives of a physician or senior healthcare provider. What’s the benefit of earning a Master of Science (MSN) degree? Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing can prepare educated nursing professionals to take on a wider range of responsibilities in the workplace.

The MSN Degree: A Possible Solution to the Growing Nursing Shortage

The global population is continually growing, and our average lifespan has increased dramatically. As our populations continue to age, the strain they place on the healthcare system increases as well. Therefore, the healthcare industry needs to employ more nurses to care for all of them.  There is a limit to the number of nurses who can be trained each year, and a large number of active nurses are soon to reach the age of retirement. Because of these factors the nursing profession is facing a critical shortage of professional talent.

MSN graduates are equipped with a broad spectrum of knowledge and practical skills that can be incredibly valuable to an individual’s nursing career. By learning these specialized nursing skills through a postgraduate program, advanced nurses can position themselves to pursue leadership roles in administration or clinical work as advanced nurse practitioners. Outside of one’s individual career, earning an MSN is also beneficial to the nursing profession as an industry. This is because educated nurses are provided with the mentorship skills necessary to get qualified as nurse educators and pass their clinical skills on to future generations.

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MSN Degrees and Leadership

Nurses are given a remarkable responsibility: caring for the health and safety of patients. As this is the case, nurses must be regulated by effective administrators who recognize the importance of adhering to healthcare policies and correctly administering treatments. Through an MSN program, nursing professionals can learn what leadership skills form the core of an effective nursing professional’s expertise.

Nursing leadership roles, such as clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator, and nurse supervisor, all require a combination of nursing expertise and executive leadership skills. For instance, a nurse leader must be able to manage other nurses efficiently in day-to-day operations. Outside of the day to day, the nurse leader must also take into account any goals that have been set by his or her department and by the healthcare institution as a whole. These skills can often be gleaned during practice in the field, but pursuing an MSN may help to accelerate the educational process.

An Advanced Understanding of Preventive Care

Preventive healthcare is broadly defined as any measure taken to prevent a disease, illness, or health-related issue before it affects a patient. One might wonder, “What is an MSN degree going to offer in terms of preventive care techniques? The majority of nurses are taught how to provide patients with common forms of preventive care, such as immunizations, regular health screenings, and blood testing.

Advanced nurses can find themselves responsible for coordinating with other healthcare providers in an effort to teach community members how to prevent certain diseases. This could be through simply explaining preventive methods directly to patients during hospital visits, or through less direct approaches such as distributing educational materials to potentially at-risk members of the community.
Preventive care is incredibly important, especially for people who are at higher risk of chronic diseases, such as the elderly and children. Nurses can help educate people of all ages on the risks associated with obesity and the importance of a proper diet and exercise. Through an MSN program, educated nurses may have the opportunity to master the communication skills needed to pass along preventive care directives to patients in an effective, actionable manner.

The patient population in the United States is growing rapidly. Consequently, the healthcare community will need to be more efficient to keep acute and chronic illness rates in check. In order to do this, experienced nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers should collaborate to keep medical institutions running smoothly. By earning a Master of Science in Nursing, nurses can better position themselves as experts in their field, giving them the chance to provide exceptional clinical care and to offer guidance to the next generation of nursing professionals.

For nurses who want to advance their careers, Maryville University’s MSN program can serve as a stepping stone to more rewarding and impactful careers in nursing. Find out more about Maryville’s online Master of Science in Nursing program here.

Learn more about some of the career options available to MSN graduates.