Nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing can take on a variety of different roles. The role of a nurse with their MSN primarily depends on the type of MSN they obtain —a Master of Science in Nursing – Education, or a Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner. Nurses with a passion for leadership, business and policy may also opt for a Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration dual degree.
The Role of the Nurse Educator
Nurse educators begin their careers by earning their Master of Science in Nursing – Education degree. The daily role of a nurse educator varies depending on the setting in which they choose to practice. Many nurse educators enjoy working in nursing units in health care facilities and in hospitals. These educators train and educate nurses who already hold nursing licenses. They help guide new nurses and help experienced nurses maintain current knowledge in nursing practices. In addition to sometimes offering career guidance for nurses, their daily tasks may include:
- attending meetings with directors and the unit nurse manager
- reviewing the educational needs of the nurses
- conducting educational needs assessments to identify areas of potential improvement in the unit
Nurse educators who choose to work as nursing instructors or nursing professors take on a different daily role than those working in hospitals. These educators teach classes on the nursing role in healthcare or the nursing assistant role. Their classes may be both online and in-person. Nurse educators may also supervise student nurses in their hospital clinicals. Some educators enjoy exclusively teaching clinicals.
Those teaching nursing classes prepare and teach lectures, develop written tests and conduct psychomotor skills tests. These dedicated individuals are responsible for educating the next generation of nurses and ensuring that they are competent in providing compassionate, safe patient care. Nurse educators teaching clinicals must coordinate with the educators teaching the nursing courses. Students may focus on a particular issue or topic each week, and have clinical report sheets that they must complete. Clinical instructors also complete student assessments to determine where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner
Nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner degree work as nurse practitioners. In their daily role, nurse practitioners assess, diagnose and treat patients, quite like physicians. The role of an NP, like nurse educators, depends on the setting and specialty in which they choose to practice. NPs are able to practice in a variety of different specialties and subspecialties. For example, a family nurse practitioner, or FNP, may choose to specialize in dermatology or primary care. The tests and education that they perform on a daily basis also depend on their specialty. NPs working in primary care clinics will have a list of scheduled patients each day, and may also see drop-in patients.
In a hospital or other acute care setting, nurse practitioners will participate as part of the patient’s care team, among doctors, pharmacists, nurses and different types of therapists. NPs in this setting typically perform “rounds” with the care team, visiting and assessing their patients each day. They then collaborate with the other members of the team to assess whether or not changes need to be made to the patient’s treatment plan according to changes in their condition. On a daily basis, NPs also respond to calls and pages from nurses and therapists notifying them of changes in their patients’ conditions, or if the patient has any needs that must be addressed.
Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration
Nurses who hold an MSN/MBA dual degree often find work as nurse managers and healthcare administrators. They may progress to fulfilling executive positions for hospitals and healthcare companies later in their careers. Nurse managers are responsible for managing the operation of nursing units, and stay up-to-date with unit finances. These managers must make sure that their nurses have what they need concerning staffing, education, and supplies in order to perform effective and safe patient care. Nurse managers collaborate with the human resource department to hire new nurses and address issues with staff members. Nurse managers frequently attend meetings with the managers of other units and the directors supervising the managers.
Accelerate Your Career with an Online MSN
Earning a Master of Science in Nursing is the first step toward achieving a dream of becoming a nurse educator, nurse practitioner, nurse manager or nurse executive. The option of earning an MSN is made highly accessible through Spring Arbor University’s online format. Students may take one course at at time, enabling passionate nurses to continue working full-time if they choose. Affordable tuition and financial aid options mean that achieving your career goals do not need to set your bank account back. Our dedicated advisors and admissions representatives are always happy to answer any questions you may have and get you on your way to a fulfilling career.
For more information please see How An Advanced Nursing Degree Can Help Resolve Hospital Problems and Why Get an MSN in Nursing Education?