American Sentinel University Career Coaching Blog Explores When a Master’s in Nursing Makes Sense

An MSN Takes Nurses Places, So It’s Important for a Nurse to Assess Where They Want to Go and Find the Educational Vehicle That Gets Them There

AURORA, Colo. – April 4, 2017 – Nurses who’ve already earned their Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing may be wondering if it’s time to double down on their education in pursuit of a Master’s degree. According to Keith “Nurse Keith” Carlson, a holistic career coach for nurses and author of American Sentinel University’s Career Coaching blog series, there are plenty of reasons to earn an MSN.

Nurse Keith explores several aspects of this important professional and educational decision for nurses.

“When considering another degree, assess where you are and take a clear-eyed look at your nursing career and where you are in the present moment, and think about where you’re going,” says Nurse Keith.

There are plenty of people who may say it’s important to get a Master’s, but their opinion may not be grounded in an awareness of what a nurse wants.

“People believe they know what’s best for you, but the fact remains that only you can make that final decision, and it needs to come from a place of honest self-auditing of your aspirations and goals,” says Nurse Keith.

He recommends that nurses examine their career trajectory and consider where they would like to be in both the mid- and long-term.

Nurse Keith says in looking to the future, a nurse should feel a sense of clarity and an inner knowing that the path is opening up, revealing what should naturally come next.

“If you’re feeling doubtful and fretful, you’re not alone, and there are places to turn for support,” he says.

Ask, and you shall receive

Nurse Keith shares that when a nurse considers making an investment of time, resources, and money into a Master’s program, they want to choose wisely. If a nurse is having a hard time making that choice on their own, he recommends they turn to experienced professionals for advice.

If a nurse is thinking about pursuing a Master’s of Nursing Informatics, that nurse is most likely good with computers, has no qualms about moving away from the bedside, and sees the exponential growth of technology in healthcare. To make this important choice, nurses can seek counsel from the following individuals:

  • A trusted and experienced colleague or mentor
  • An academic adviser at a graduate school of interest
  • Individuals who work in nursing informatics
  • Current students and former graduates from the informatics program
  • Others to whom a nurse feels inspired to turn

“An academic adviser can introduce you to current and former students in the program, or they may also connect you with professors, mentors, and preceptors who can paint a clear picture of what you can expect from the program and after you graduate,” says Nurse Keith.

He also suggests that in using LinkedIn, various professional networks, and other platforms, nurses can reach out to individuals working in the field of healthcare IT and request an informational interview.

“People like to talk about what they do – especially if they love it – and are often willing to wax poetic about the joys and challenges of their work,” he says.

Doing due diligence

If a nurse is going to pursue an MSN or another degree, they need to know what they’re getting into before they sign on the dotted line and enroll in classes. Due diligence means understanding what will be involved and what they will get out of it.

“You don’t want to earn a Master’s just because you think you should or someone recommended that you do,” cautions Nurse Keith. “You want to earn a Master’s degree because it will help you take your nursing career to the next level in a way that would be impossible otherwise.”

He stresses the importance of talking to those who truly know the field and who can speak from the inside. He encourages nurses to ask for advice from trusted individuals who can speak from a nonjudgmental and open-minded place about the choices before them.

“Most importantly, make clear-eyed, sober choices about your career and your graduate education, and you likely can’t go wrong. An MSN can surely take you places, so assess where you want to go and then find the educational vehicle that can get you there,” he adds.

Nurse Keith is a regular contributor to American Sentinel University’s ‘Sentinel Watch’ Career Coaching Nursing blog.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online nursing degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.