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5 Reasons to Earn your MS in Nursing by 2025

Published on: September 25, 2020

The healthcare industry is growing, and employers need nurses to meet increasing demand. With the Baby Boomers aging, more people than ever need acute and long-term care — especially those who are managing chronic diseases.

That's not the only change we're seeing this decade. Nurses are retiring in higher numbers than ever before — some being members of the aforementioned Baby Boomer generation, but many in response to burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The healthcare industry needs nurse leaders who can lead others, contribute expertise in administrative roles, provide excellent patient care, and manage data and technology systems — and these nurses are needed soon.

So, if you've considered specializing or graduate nursing programs, now is the time. 

The benefits of a master's degree in nursing

Earning an MSN degree can be rewarding, but it requires an investment of time and money. As you investigate nursing programs in San Diego, California, and beyond, we're here to help you answer the question: is an MSN worth it?

The quick answer is yes! An MSN degree is more than just continuing education for nurses; it is a powerful tool to help you improve your career opportunities, expand your knowledge, and even increase your salary. 

Here are five reasons to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing degree

1. An MSN degree expands your knowledge through specialization

Earning an MSN can deepen your passion for nursing and establish you in a leadership role. You will increase your knowledge and improve your skills, which will ultimately help you determine the best possible care for patients. At the same time, you will build leadership skills, collaborate with faculty who are expert practitioners in their respective fields, and gain specialized knowledge in one of the following three tracks:

Although all tracks share a common core of knowledge, they each build specialized skill sets in their respective areas. All three emphasize theory, research, and practice. You will learn to do the following:

  • Apply theory and research to improve your clinical expertise
  • Enhance nursing practice, research, and education with applied information technology
  • Collaborate across sectors to improve healthcare delivery
  • Lead policy development and implementation to provide better patient care
  • Practice from an ethical and legal perspective
  • Meet societal needs in a rapidly changing healthcare arena
  • Promote health and quality of life for culturally diverse patients
  • Analyze emerging issues and enact societal change that fosters health

Nursing Informatics Student

For an in-depth look into USD's Executive Nurse Leader program, read our latest guide to Becoming an Executive Nurse Leader.

2. You have more career opportunities with an MS in Nursing

Upward mobility in the nursing field starts with an MSN degree. The skills and practical experience you gain while studying for your MSN will prepare you to take on new roles. If clinical practice is your calling, you can become a clinical care leader in hospitals, ambulatory clinics, or nonprofit and governmental organizations.

An MSN degree also prepares you for a variety of non-clinical nursing roles including Chief Nursing Officer, Executive Director of Quality, Director of Population Health, Clinical Analyst, and Clinical Information Systems Specialist. These roles allow you to make an even bigger impact on patient care through leadership, technical expertise, and/or policy work.

Depending on the track you choose, you may be able to seek certification from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) or Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) as well as certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Nurse Executive (NE-BC), Nurse Executive, Advanced (NEA-BC) or Informatics Nursing (RN-BC).

Credentialing through these organizations helps you stand out and creates even more job opportunities.

3. An MSN degree is the first step toward a terminal nursing degree

The MSN is the first step toward a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. If your ultimate goal is to contribute to critical research, improve nursing science, or enhance interdisciplinary collaboration around research and innovation, you may wish to consider a PhD in Nursing. You can accelerate your progress toward that goal with the BSN to PhD or MSN to PhD program at the University of San Diego.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree focuses critical research on health promotion, management of chronic illness, health disparities, and improving the outcomes of care. The development of nursing science, interdisciplinary collaboration, and dissemination of research and innovative ideas are also significant aspects of a nursing PhD program.

If your goal is to take your practice to the highest level of expertise, you may wish to pursue a DNP. You can accelerate toward that goal with our Post-MSN to DNP or BSN to DNP program.

The DNP degree prepares nurse practitioners, nursing informaticists and health systems leaders. While it is not currently a required terminal degree for NPs or advanced nursing roles, there is a growing effort in the industry to encourage education up through the doctoral level because many other health care related professions (pharmacists, dentists, etc.) require a doctoral degree for licensure.

DNP or PhD: Which Is Right for You?>>

4. Increase your earning potential with a MSN degree salary bump

Earning an MSN degree can immediately increase your salary and position. you for some of the highest-paying jobs in health care. Many organizations offer an immediate raise upon degree completion. An MSN degree typically gives nurses around a $20K bump in salary over RNs and BSN nurses, and that's on top of an annual mean wage of $104,860 in the San Diego metropololitan area for RNs. While some students take out loans to fund their education, the resulting rise in income can make this a worthwhile investment.

Both government and private lenders provide financial aid for nursing school to help you invest in your education. You may even be eligible for nursing school scholarships. One resources available is NursingScholarships.US, which may help you find scholarships that fit your needs and qualifications. The University of San Diego also has financial aid opportunities for qualifying students.

University of San Diego Campus

5. Find community and career support

At the University of San Diego, you will be assigned a clinical placement — no need to find your own. You can even meet nurses and fellow students from around the world through the Hahn School of Nursing's International Programs. International mission trips bring students to parts of the world where health care is less accessible. Students have the opportunity to treat patients, expand their knowledge of other cultures, and reconnect with the transformative power of medicine to change lives.

One of the most valuable benefits of attending any graduate school is the relationships you build there. Industry connections can do more than help you find your next nursing job; as a member of the powerful network of USD alumni, you would be connected with like-minded nurse leaders from around the world. Together, you have the opportunity to affect real change in the health care field.

Is nursing school worth it?

So, is graduate nursing school worth the time and money? If you want to become a nurse leader, increase your earning potential, and specialize your knowledge, the answer is yes.

The Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of San Diego can help you achieve these goals and more. By blending rigorous academics, state-of-the-art technology, and innovative teaching, USD is dedicated to giving you the tools and knowledge needed to be a fantastic nurse.

Want to learn more? Read our Guide to Achieving the Master of Science in Nursing at USD. Or, if you're ready to transform your future with an MSN at USD, we encourage you to request more information or start your application today!

A Guide to Achieving the Master of Science in Nursing at USD

The University of San Diego's nursing program ranks among the best in the nation. But that's not the only reason future students walk through our doors to pursue one of our graduate degrees. Download our guide for an in-depth look at the Master of Science in Nursing program and how our rich heritage of excellence in nursing education can help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

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A Guide to Achieving the Master of Science in Nursing at USD

For future Executive Nurse Leaders, Nursing Informaticists, or Adult-Gerontology CNSs.

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