Congratulations! You Earned Your MSN. Now What?

You made the right decision to further your education by earning an MSN. Your education has given you experience, skills, and knowledge that many others don’t have, which you should be able to leverage into an advanced position in nursing.

Here you’ll find what types of jobs you can pursue with a masters in nursing, where you can work, and ways to improve your nursing resume.

What Are Jobs with a Masters in Nursing?

What you decide to do after earning your MSN depends on a number of factors. One of the biggest is what your concentration was while earning your MSN. For example, those who earned Health Systems Management masters will have different career options than those who earned an MSN with a concentration in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.

Depending on your concentration and clinical experience, some of the careers you can pursue, some of the responsibilities for each role, and the median annual salary in 2016 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are:

Nurse Practitioners:

- Serve as primary and specialty care providers
- Prescribe medication
2016 Median Annual Salary: $100,910

Nurse Anesthesiologists:

- Provide anesthesia before, during, and after procedures
- Monitor vital signs and adjust the anesthesia during procedures as necessary
2016 Median Annual Salary: $160,270

Public Health Nurses (Epidemiologists):

- Teach public about health and disease prevention
- Increase health of community and manage health crises
2016 Median Annual Salary: $70,820

Nurse Educators:

- Develop programs and materials to teach people about health
- Teach people how to manage existing health conditions
- Mentor for students looking to enter field of nursing
2016 Median Annual Salary (Postsecondary Nursing Instructors): $69,130

Nurse Midwife:

- Provide prenatal and postpartum care
- Provide care during childbirth
2016 Median Annual Salary: $99,770

Nurse Administrator:

- Manage nursing personnel
- Improve quality and efficiency of patient care
2016 Median Annual Salary (Medical and Health Services Managers): $96,540

Where Can You Work?

Your MSN concentration, and the career you want to pursue, will impact where you can work. This will also impact your exact responsibilities.

For example, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) working in a hospital will usually work in shifts that may include overnights, weekends, and holidays. Some positions, such as a nurse midwife, may even have to be on call and respond to emergencies.

On the other hand, nurses who work at a private physician’s office typically work during normal, or close to normal, business hours.

Some of the places you may work after earning an MSN are:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Home health care
  • Independent practice
  • Schools or universities
  • Physician’s offices

...

Ways to Improve Your Nursing Resume

Now that you’ve earned your MSN, you should still be looking for ways to improve your nursing resume. In fact, even after finding a job, you should always be looking for ways to improve your resume.

After all, it is a living, breathing document that many experts, such as Keith Carlson, a registered nurse and nursing career coach, suggests updating every time we change the clocks.

However, if you’re not participating in activities or joining organizations to add, there won’t be much to do. Some of the ways you can improve your resume include:

#1: Join professional organizations

There are all types of nursing organizations. Some are national organizations with local or state chapters. Others are for specific types of nurses or those with a certain nursing degree. Ask your managers at work to find out which organizations they’re members of.

Most of these organizations have conferences, courses, or other events to keep you up to date in the latest trends and best practices in your field. Plus, it gives you the chance to meet and network with other professionals in your specialty.

#2: Pursue advanced degree

Yes, you’ve earned your MSN, but that’s not the terminal degree, which means that you can further your education. You can choose to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice, otherwise known as a DNP. While this degree builds upon your MSN, it can go more in-depth and may prepare you for an even more advanced career.

Deciding between a NP vs a DNP, and choosing which is right for you, can be challenging because of the time commitment and stress.

Some students choose to pursue a DNP or even a PhD in nursing immediately after earning their MSN. Others rejoin the workforce and focus on their careers for a couple of years before pursuing a doctorate.

#3: Volunteer

Among many others, O*NET, a free online database, says that one of the most important skills for a nurse to have is a service orientation, which means you actively seek ways to help people.

One of the best ways to show your current and future employers that you have this skill is to volunteer because it proves that you care about others and not just the paycheck attached to your actions.

There are many organizations you can volunteer with, including the American Red Cross or the MS Society, which can use your skills as a nurse. However, you could always volunteer at Goodwill or your local food bank to help others without using your nursing skillset.

Find What Certifications You’ll Need

The first step, which only applies to those who earned a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than nursing, is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to certify you to practice nursing in your state.

If you’re already licensed to practice nursing, you don’t have to worry about that. In fact, the only reason you’d need to take the NCLEX again is if you want to practice nursing in another state. However, there are certifications for certain nursing fields, which depend on your nursing specialty.

For example, some of the certifications are:

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center for Nurse Administrators
  • American Midwifery Certification Board for Nurse Midwives
  • National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

There may be a number of other certifications depending on your field and career. Hopefully, while earning your MSN you spoke with a counselor about which you’d need in your field. If not, there are plenty resources available, the most reliable of which is your state government and professional organizations.

Continuing Your Nursing Career

Now that you’ve earned your MSN, you have plenty of career opportunities. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of APRNs to increase 31% during the ten years 2016 to 2026.

For your own career, you could be looking at more responsibility and leadership positions where you can guide a staff. Or, you may decide to open your own nursing practice to treat patients. Regardless of which career you pursue, job prospects are good, especially in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.

Don’t forget to keep looking for ways to improve your resume to make yourself more appealing to future employers or for promotions. And keep reading to learn about five things that successful nurses do differently.


 

Salary statistics for this article can be found at https://www.bls.gov/.