Experienced registered nurses often ask the question, “Why do I need to go back to school for a graduate degree in nursing? I’m a nurse now and when I finish my degree I’ll still be a nurse!” What you may not realize is that in 2021 a graduate degree in nursing is required to compete for advanced nursing practice positions in such areas as nursing administration/leadership, nursing education, or as nurse practitioners in multiple areas of specialization.
I have been a nurse for over 40 years and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) has now taken the place of the BSN that was desired when I was first beginning my nursing career. At that time, the majority of new nurses were educated at the diploma (hospital-based) or associate (community college) level. When I was deciding on a nursing career I was advised to obtain a BSN, as this would make me more competitive for leadership positions.
Fast forward to today’s nursing practice and the MSN is now the required degree for advancement in the profession. As recently as 20 years ago, individuals seeking an MSN degree were deemed clinical specialists in an area of focus. Today the MSN offers nurses a wide variety of specialty choices, from leadership/administration and education focus, both tracks offered at Baker College, to clinical specialization with advanced practice nursing privileges in family health, pediatrics, neonatology, geriatrics, mental health, and acute care and emergency medicine (both offshoots of advanced family nursing) as well as nurse-midwifery and nurse anesthesia. Additionally, new specialties introduced within the last ten years including parish nursing, informatics, and forensic nursing specialties and the clinical focus keeps expanding.
At Baker College, courses for the MSN degree are offered exclusively online, which is ideal for the working nurse. All graduate nursing students take the first five courses in the program, known as the core, before choosing to focus on leadership/administration or education. Our courses are offered in 8 weeks terms, allowing students the flexibility to step out for a term if needed. Those students who take a course every eight weeks can look to graduate in two years with their MSN in hand, ready to meet the leadership demands of the growing healthcare industry.
If you’re a working registered nurse looking to expand your role and take the next step in your career, Baker College’s Master of Science in Nursing programs can help you reach your goals.
Dr. Morgan is the Dean of the Baker College School of Nursing and has 40 years of experience as a nurse in administration, education and clinical practice. She has been a Nurse Corps Officer in the United States Navy Reserve for over 30 years in her capacity as an operating room nurse. She has worked in the academic field of nursing for the past 15 years, since graduating from the University of Florida with a Ph.D. in nursing. In addition to her doctoral degree from the University of Florida, Dr. Morgan holds an MBA from the University of Miami, an MSN from the University of Florida, a BSN from Vanderbilt University and a BA from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. In her role as Dean, Dr. Morgan is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight for all nursing programs on all campuses within the Baker College System.