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Why Specialize in Your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree?

For those considering careers in specialized roles like nursing education or administration, Northeastern State University offers an online Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing in Administrative Leadership program and an online RN to MSN in Nursing Education program. Nurses must consider their passions, strengths and the numerous benefits of pursuing one of these programs.

For example, even though a specialized MSN programs have differences in their concentrations, MSN degrees provide nurses with the following career perks: expertise and improved skills, better working hours, higher pay, personal fulfillment, challenging (and more) career responsibilities, expanded leadership duties and networking opportunities.

Nursing Education vs. Administrative Leadership

If you love being a preceptor, doing in-service or guest lecturing, and have a passion for education and mentoring, then Northeastern’s online RN to MSN in Nursing Education program might be right for you. Regardless of your title, you will likely contribute to shaping the next generation of nurses to deliver top-quality patient care. Due to the nationwide nursing shortage, nurse educators are in high demand.

However, if you are interested in healthcare as a business and leading healthcare of tomorrow, consider Northeastern’s online RN to MSN in Administrative Leadership program. This degree helps students learn management and leadership theory, advocacy, practice and policy. In addition, it prepares students for leadership roles on various levels.

Nurse Educator Roles

The term “nurse educator” applies to many roles and responsibilities beyond a nursing faculty position. For example, nurse educators serve in high-demand clinical settings, inpatient and ambulatory care or even pharmaceutical companies as nurse educators/advocates. The following are common nurse educator roles:

  • Nursing faculty. Nurse educators can teach as university professors, seminar speakers or skills-lab instructors in entry-level nursing programs. Nursing faculty may also have clinical supervision responsibilities within an organization. For example, faculty may supervise students doing their first-year clinicals. In addition, they may arrange for nurse preceptors to match students with mentors.
  • Staff educator. Many organizations have nurse educators in a staff development department as part of onboarding new employees. For example, these nurses assess and review skills and critical-thinking abilities. Their primary role is developing and implementing clinical competency programs such as orientation, clinical placement, residencies or internships.
  • Clinical educator. With healthcare becoming more specialized, most service lines hire specialty expert nurse educators. For example, they may support oncology, cardiovascular or intensive care services. Some positions are more unit-based, while others cover a facility or multiple sites.
  • Simulation nurse educator. Larger healthcare organizations are creating innovative educational centers staffed by nurse educators. For example, HCA Healthcare has multiple regional centers for clinical advancement with classrooms, meeting spaces and high-tech simulation and observation rooms.
  • Pharmaceutical nurse educator. Sometimes called industry nurses, these individuals work for pharmaceutical or medical device companies. Positions include education, sales or medical science liaison, and many require or prefer an MSN degree. Education may focus on a particular drug or group of drugs, devices or diseases.

Administrative Leadership Roles

Numerous career paths are open for nurses with an online RN to MSN in Administrative Leadership degree from Northeastern. Titles and roles vary depending on the position and overall responsibilities. Nursing salaries are difficult to estimate since they depend on the duties, coverage and geographical area. For example, according to ZipRecruiter, a chief nursing officer (CNO) earns an average annual salary of $155,833, but some can earn up to $260,000.

The following are popular roles for those with an MSN in Administrative Leadership:

  • CNO. A CNO is among the other chiefs in an organization and is often considered one of the highest-ranked nursing professionals on the administrative or executive team. Their crucial role is to be the voice of nursing to cultivate interdepartmental relationships. In addition, they provide the vision of nursing, practice standards and quality metrics.
  • Director of nursing (DON). A DON often reports to a CNO. They oversee staffing and operations, typically including all clinical services. Some may lead a facility, while others are responsible for multiple sites.
  • Service line director. These nurses are responsible for a specific population group, such as cardiovascular services, oncology or orthopedics. Their central role is ensuring patient care is coordinated and patient-centered within budget restrictions.
  • Nurse manager. Also known as nurse supervisors or clinical managers, these various terms describe a nurse leader over a particular clinical area(s), and they are responsible for care within a designated place, site or department.

Northeastern’s RN to MSN program options in either administrative leadership or nursing education ensure students receive the education and preparation to pursue career goals and benefits, regardless of their preferred specialization.

Learn more about Northeastern’s online RN to MSN in Administrative Leadership and online RN to MSN in Nursing Education programs.

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