MSN Nursing Careers
There is no better time than today to pursue a career in the healthcare industry. An aging population plus changes in the healthcare system have further increased the already critical need for nursing professionals. By earning an MSN degree, you are preparing yourself for advanced opportunities in hospitals, healthcare facilities, medical centers, and other healthcare environments across the country. And while it’s important to note that job responsibilities and specific tasks may vary depending on the state, company, and a variety of other factors, there is general agreement on how each nursing position plays an important role within the healthcare system. Here are just some of the nursing opportunities that prefer or require an MSN degree.
Clinical Nurse Manager
Clinical nurse managers are the leaders for a specific team of nurses or a particular nursing unit. Clinical nurse managers are highly trained in patient care. However, the responsibility of this position is to direct and oversee patient care by the team members, rather than deliver care to individual patients. Consulting and collaborating with other health care professionals besides the nursing team to ensure the best patient care possible is also the responsibility of a clinical nurse manager.
In addition to coordinating patient care, clinical nurse managers also perform a number of administrative duties. They manage budgets, medical records, and the supply chain. They also manage the human resources of their team or unit by carrying out such responsibilities as employee evaluations as well as staff recruitment and retention. They maintain up-to-date knowledge of nursing care practices and ensure the team does as well by ensuring that adequate training is provided.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical nurse specialists use their advanced knowledge and specialized skills in nursing practice in order to take care of patients, often times providing direct nursing care. They will also assist the staff nurse in putting together the Nursing Care Plan and help set priorities that are specific to the needs of the patient and the patient’s family. They are responsible for evaluating the quality of patient care given not just by themselves, but others as well. They may perform research to improve patient outcomes. They are experts in the processes and procedures of their health care setting.
Advanced Practice Nurse
Advanced practice nurses work with physicians and other health care providers to provide high quality health care to patients. They may perform assessments of patients at the time of admission, perform ongoing assessments and evaluations of a patient’s progress, identify the needs that the patient may have, and recommend further resources and makes referrals to see to it that these changes will occur. Advanced practice nurses also document patient care and progress on a patient’s chart and provide necessary education to patients and their families based on the needs that they may have. Their care isn’t limited to the healthcare environment; advanced practice nurses will also often maintain a relationship with patients through phone calls as well as outpatient visits when necessary.
Nurse educators use their skills and experience to help future nurses build a solid foundation of knowledge necessary to enter the nursing profession and provide effective patient care. They will often work with students in a clinical setting, but they can also teach in the field. Sometimes their interaction with students is minimal, and they are instead responsible for developing instructional strategies in addition to shaping the nursing curriculum and ensuring that it stays current to fit the needs of present-day health care environments.
Another career that might prove a viable option for those who want a nursing position that falls outside of the typical experience is the role of the nurse administrator. As the name implies, these individuals are responsible for the administrative side of a healthcare organization. Nursing administrators have a few options when it comes to what context they would like to apply their organization and managerial skills. They can work in hospital management, in health clinics, on a particular floor or wing of a hospital, or in a doctor’s office.
Nurse midwives play an important part in the childbearing process. Working primarily with pregnant women who are in what is considered to be good health, they can practice in hospitals and medical clinics, as well as in birthing centers. A nurse midwife will also be present if a patient opts for an at-home childbirth. Nurse midwives can prescribe medications as well as provide therapeutic solutions, medical devices, treatments, and more. These individuals will also often work in conjunction with obstetricians and gynecologists, as well as other physicians, if a patient requires additional care. It is interesting to note that the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) estimates that soon, one in ten babies in the U.S. will be delivered by certified nurse-midwives.
While the different career opportunities that exist for students who have earned their MSN degree vary greatly, one thing is consistent among them: the demand for MSN-degreed nurses continues to remain high, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With so many different paths available and such a great need for skilled and compassionate individuals to provide their time and energy towards the recovery and care of patients across the country (and world), now is a good time to consider a career in nursing.
American College of Nurse-Midwives, “Our Scope of Practice.” http://www.midwife.org/Our-Scope-of-Practice (accessed November 3, 2011)