The MSN: Why Do You Want This?

Can we talk frankly here?

Why do you want this degree? The MSN represents a multi-thousand dollar investment. Most will go into debt to achieve it; student loans, lines of equity. This is money that must be paid back whether or not you complete the degree.

It’s a serious investment of time and money, so let’s talk about what it isn’t going to do for you.

It isn’t going to make you rich.

As a matter of fact, you’ll probably make less money. Are you a staff nurse right now? Unless you stay, you’ll take a hit. It’s a rare hospital that pays education differentials.  Are you going to move into education or management?  My manager makes less than I do, working full time on the night shift. Why do you think there is such a dearth of nurse educators? Difficult work, long hours,and lousy pay.

No, if you’re looking for more numbers after the dollar sign don’t look to the MSN.

It isn’t going to impress anyone.

You come to work one day as a BSN and the next day you will be an MSN. You may get a few congratulatory comments from those who are aware.  And that will be that.

Be ready for a few colleagues who will roll their eyes at the new designation on your name tag. After all, it’s just “alphabet soup and an ADN is just as good, you know, sheesh, I have better things to do with my time!” Your patients won’t know, won’t ask, won’t know that they should care, really.

No one really gives a hoot what you have after your name as long as the work gets done, the patients are taken care of, “i”s are dotted, the “t”s are crossed and nobody incurs overtime.

It won’t make finding a job any easier.

All it will do is make you qualified for more jobs.

It won’t make the HR departments call any faster. It won’t make the 21st century custom of online applications any more palatable, any less frustrating, or any more personal. Oh, it looks good on your resume/CV, assuming someone takes the time to look at it, and gives a bit more flash to your cover letter.

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Why bother? Are you frantically looking for a “Comment” button so you can tell me a thing, or two? What? Do you want to tell me that it isn’t about the money, or your ego or the job market?

  • Are you telling me that it is about a hunger for learning, a passion for knowledge, an insatiable curiosity, a need to know?
  • That is is not just about professional growth (you can do that many ways), but about maturing as a professional?
  • That this is your way of assimilating decades of nursing experience and leadership into a quantifiable manifestation of professionalism, knowledge, critical thinking…

… caring?

For your patients? Your colleagues?

Your profession?

Is that what you wanted to tell me? It’s okay. I know.

I know.

That’s why I want the MSN, too.

Let’s do this.


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