Nursing professionals are in high demand and earn considerable salaries for their expertise. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is an option for individuals who want to improve their skills and obtain the credentials required for higher-level positions. There are numerous advanced clinical and managerial positions available for a person with a MSN degree.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice registered nurse. Upon graduation from a master's program, a CNS can select the field of medicine that he or she finds most rewarding. Their primary role is to provide specialized patient care as well as supervise and develop nursing staff in a hospital setting. A clinical nurse specialist develops uniform quality care standards and works with staff nurses to ensure that those standards are met. A Master's in Nursing provides training in the managerial skills and abilities required to anticipate potential conflicts between patients and staff members.
Managed Care Nurse
A managed care nurse acts as a liaison between patients, health care providers and insurance companies. They advise patients on how to manage financial expenditures during periods of illness. Managed care nurses also educate patients on preventative care routines like encouraging regular checkups that can mitigate the possibility of future health problems. The goal is to help patients to stay as healthy as possible and receive consistent quality care while trying to keep medical costs down. Managed care nurses work primarily with the elderly and those with lower incomes who rely on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Increasingly working as the primary care provider in medically underserved areas, a nurse practitioner supplies basic preventive health care to patients. Specialty areas include family practice, pediatrics, women's health and gerontology. Nurse practitioners perform comprehensive physical examinations and treat acute illnesses and injuries. They also help patients manage chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, and provide education on healthy lifestyle choices. Nurse practitioners order and interpret diagnostic tests, such as blood work, X-rays and EKGs. These advanced practice registered nurses are authorized to prescribe medications. In addition to private practices, nurse practitioners work in clinics and hospitals.
Nurse administrators are leadership professionals who oversee the complex and multifaceted health care delivery environment. These professionals apply problem-solving and analytical skills to develop intradepartmental and facility-wide programs and standards that create an efficient and effective nursing workforce. Nurse administrators implement policies and encourage the collaborative relationships required to meet specified goals. They work in a variety of settings from private hospitals to large public medical centers and often serve as the liaison between various staff, management and executive levels of the organization. In addition to overseeing training and staffing levels, nurse administrators establish budgets and monitor expenditures.
A nurse researcher typically works as an analyst for a private company or nonprofit organization engaged in health policy. They study various aspects of health, illness and the health care system in an effort to improve delivery systems and patient outcomes. Nurse researchers develop and conduct studies, collect and analyze the data and publish the findings related to medical, nursing or pharmaceutical products or practices. Along with writing grant proposals, the job may entail teaching in a clinical or academic setting. Nurse researchers may also collaborate with scientists in other fields to address complex questions and help solve medical-related problems.
As the nursing field continues to grow, career opportunities also increase for credentialed professionals. An MSN enables nurses to move their career forward in more ways than a Bachelor's degree alone would.
Additional Resource: 30 Most Affordable Masters in Healthcare Administration Degree Programs 2015