BSN vs. MSN: The Benefits of a Postgraduate Nursing Education

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Students weighing the pros and cons of earning a BSN vs. MSN should have a clear understanding of what career options are available with each type of degree. When planning out their nursing education, students should note that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can help qualify them for basic nursing roles, while a Master of Science in Nursing can lead to advanced positions, including those that entail managing and supervising teams of nurses.

No matter which path a student chooses when making the BSN vs. MSN decision, numerous characteristics are common among all nurses. For example, each type of nurse is responsible for the health and well-being of patients; some nurses serve patients directly with hands-on care, while others do so indirectly by managing a team of health care professionals. Nurses at every level are working toward the same goal of providing patients with efficient and quality health care and treatment.

Why a BSN?

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing provides students with the necessary academic qualifications for entry-level positions in the field of nursing. While an associate degree in nursing, also known as an ADN, is the minimum requirement to become a registered nurse, an increasing number of jobs within the medical field require a BSN.

In addition to potentially leading to more professional opportunities, earning a BSN also has the potential to result in increased pay. According to some estimates, registered nurses with a BSN earn between $3,000 and $8,000 more per year than nurses with only an ADN. In addition, a growing number of hospitals and clinics are looking to hire nurses with at least a BSN.

Potential Career Options for BSN Graduates

Staff nurses may spend their time working in a physician’s office, clinic, or hospital and are tasked with providing treatment, administering medication, filling out paperwork, informing patients on the types of treatments they are receiving, assisting physicians during diagnostic testing procedures, and other medical duties. Staff nurses may also be responsible for managing and supervising nursing assistants, vocational nurses, and other nurses.

Critical care registered nurses treat patients with life-threatening ailments. Critical care registered nurses work under the management of a doctor while maintaining life support equipment, administering treatments, and providing various medications. These nurses are often positioned in emergency rooms and intensive care units and typically focus on fewer patients at a time than other nurses do because of the increased level of attention that critical care patients require.

Why an MSN?

While a BSN can open many doors within the medical field for registered nurses, students looking for advanced positions in the health care industry should consider pursuing an MSN. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing is the first step toward qualifying for several types of nursing jobs in higher positions that would not be possible with only a BSN.

Potential Career Options for MSN Graduates

Clinical nurse educators are very important in the nursing field, as they are responsible for training and educating recent nursing school graduates and other new medical staff members. Clinical nurse educators are tasked with developing a curriculum with which to educate students enrolled in nursing programs, as well as providing orientation to recently hired employees.

Students looking for a multifaceted nursing career may want to consider becoming a nurse researcher since the position consists of varying tasks and responsibilities. Unlike other nursing professionals, nurse researchers spend much of their time conducting research. They not only aim to develop cures and new methods of treatment for a wide array of medical ailments but also work to improve existing forms of medication. Additionally, nurse researchers may assist during clinical trials or be tasked with studying medical journals while trying to improve or develop medications and forms of treatment.

BSN vs. MSN: Choosing the Right Path

An MSN may lead to more professional opportunities than a BSN, depending on the type of nursing career each student wishes to pursue. Before students decide on an academic path, they should determine their career goals and know which degree they will need to achieve them.

Learn More:

For students who aspire to an advanced career in nursing, Ohio University’s online MSN program helps students gain the skills and experience necessary to take their nursing careers to the next level. Learn more about Ohio University’s online Master of Science in Nursing.

Recommended Readings:
What Can I Do With a Master’s Degree in Nursing?
Choosing the Right Online Masters in Nursing Program
A Look at the Nurse Shortage

ANA: American Nurses Association
Ohio University: Online Master of Science in Nursing