Masters in Nursing Specialties degree programs are designed for current Nurse professionals seeking top opportunities to best expand their professional versatility. Earning a Masters Degree in a Nursing specialization may position you to potentially pursue several different specialty areas within areas in nursing that present potential career opportunities. Referred to as Master’s in Nursing specialty tracks, these masters programs are offered in a wide array of topics, and most often take from 1 to 3 years to compl ete.
Students develop a professional knowledge of their chosen specialty through a combination of didactic and clinical instruction. Admission to Nursing Masters Programs is a Bachelor’s degree, nursing experience, a resume, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and in some cases, proof that the candidate is a registered nurse. Some schools may require students to pass a drug screening and criminal background check.
By earning a Masters in Nursing Specialties, you are refining and honing your nursing skills and technical proficiencies you thus have the opportunity to become an expert in your field. This may allow you to provide complete health services to those patients that can benefit most from your knowledge base. Choosing to pursue a Masters in a nursing specialties degree involves both focusing and deepening your nursing practice.
With an increased demand for heath care services, a large number of newly insured patients due to legislative changes, an emphasis on preventive care and an aging baby-boom population, employment of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) is projected to grow 31% between 2014 and 2024.
Nursing Specialties cover a wide variety of areas; courses specific to each focus are usually incorporated into the curriculum of the Masters in nursing specialties program you choose. One of the areas that a nursing specialty may focus on is a certain body system or health concern such as cardiac care, diabetes or vascular nursing.
Master’s in nursing programs may also be concerned with a specific patient population like neonatology, pediatrics, women’s health or gerontology. These MSN programs may be a great fit if you are passionate about working with patients of a certain age or at a specific stage within the life cycle.
You can also find Nursing Master’s specialty degrees that focus on patient mental health or location of care delivery such as primary care, public health nursing or acute care nursing. In these programs, you will take Master of Science in Nursing classes that span patient conditions, disease processes and healthcare delivery topics.
Additionally, there are non-patient care specialty areas that you may focus on as you earn your Master’s degree in Nursing. These include nursing education, medical technology, healthcare administration and management, nursing research and health policy.
While there are many specialties aspiring students may pursue, here are some Masters in Nursing Specialties individuals may choose from:
Curriculums tend to vary greatly depending on students' area of specialty and focus, though general topics covered in an MSN program may include:
GradSchools.com has easy to use tools to help you find a nursing specialty program that aligns with your interests and learning format preference. Campus MSN programs offer face-to-face interactions, while Online Masters in Nursing programs are convenient in that you can study on your own schedule. Initiate a location search to yield results by city, state or country, or scroll through listings in each category. Some of these choices might include Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, MSN Nursing, MS Nursing-Forensic Nursing, though the list goes on.
We asked Lynn Cronin about how enrolling in a Masters in Nursing with a specialization helps your career:
"It is crucial for nurses to earn an MSN degree because it provides them with a more global awareness of healthcare, elevates their level of practice and introduces them to evidence practice and the role of nursing. I would recommend other nurses consider receiving their MSN degree to progress in our profession and to become part of the solution."
Lynn Cronin, MSN ‘11, Curry College, is Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton
Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), are other examples of nursing specialty professions. To qualify, nurses earn at least a master’s degree in one of the specialty roles. APRNs must also be licensed registered nurses in their state and pass a national certification exam. According to the BLS, job opportunities for specialized nurses are likely to be excellent, with nurse practitioners, there is a 35% employment growth projected between 2014 and 2024 and the median annual wage for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners was $102,670 in May 2014.[i] Nurse practitioners can find jobs in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, colleges and universities, as well as home health care services.
Earning a Masters Degree is a great way for RNs to improve and fine-tune their nursing skills and technical knowledge to potentially become an expert in your field. Certainly, all indications point to your proficiencies being in great demand. Why not search through the specialty nursing programs on GradSchools.com today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm | bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm