One of the biggest questions facing a new Registered Nurse RN is whether or not they should further their education. It wasn’t too long after I had graduated from Nursing School that the question started to slowly come into my own mind on a serious level. After all, there are lots of pros and cons to going back to nursing school and getting a Master’s of Science in Nursing.
At this point in time, I have decided that I am not going to go on to get my Master’s (Nurse Practitioner). Instead, I am just going to focus on being an RN Nurse. I may go back in a few years, but it makes much more sense for me to just gain some experience and work full time at this point in time.
I have noticed that some of the people I graduated nursing school with have also struggled with this decision. In fact, some of my nursing classmates have gone directly into the Master’s program, completely bypassing working as a Registered Nurse.
There are plenty of pros and cons about going back to get your Nurse, and I thought I would list a few of them below.
Pros of Getting a Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree (Nurse Practitioner)
- Higher Salary–Many Nurse Practitioner’s make a very good income. Starting salaries can vary from state to state, but many start at around $50,000-60,000, and the average salary for a Nurse Practitioner with a few years experience gets up to around $80,000 or so. Definitely a very nice salary!
- More Skills–As a Nurse Practitioner, you gain a lot of skills in the medical profession. With this degree and license, you can usually write prescriptions, and do a lot of doctor-related skills. In fact, a Nurse Practitioner is practically considered a doctor in some settings.
- Better Career Options–With a Master’s degree in Nursing, you will also gain a better career advantage. This degree can give you the tools you need to advance to higher positions, or even teach nursing on the college level. So that is very nice.
- Employer Tuition Reimbursement–If you work at an organization as an RN before going back, many will sponsor you and pay part or all of your tuition to get a higher degree. Of course, you will also be obligated to work for this company for a set number of years (in most cases). But that is great that you can potentially go back to school and have most (and sometimes all) of it payed for by your employer.
Cons of Getting a Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree (Nurse Practitioner)
- More school–Ugh, after 4 years of very difficult studying, I am a little burned out at this point. It generally takes 1.5-2 years or so to complete the Masters of Science in Nursing program. At this point, school is the last thing I want to do.
- Lost Wages–If you have to cut down to part-time as an RN, or stop working altogether to focus on academics, it will cause a loss of income up-front. Of course, with the raise in salary that you can potentially gain, it will probably make up for it. But for those who are struggling financially, working may be a better option for now.
- More Responsibility–With a higher income also comes more responsibilities. You will have much more difficult work, and much more legal responsibility working as a Nurse Practitioner.
- Different Hours–Most Nurse Practitioner hours are typically the Monday-Friday 9-5 jobs. I am sure there are some positions that offer 12 hours shifts (like most Nursing jobs do), but the majority of positions I know about seem to be 5 day a week jobs. I do prefer the 12 hour shifts better. It allows me to get a full income, while still having some days off so I can pursue other hobbies & interests. So it would be hard to change from a 12 hour shift 3 days a week, to 5-6 days per week.
Conclusion: Nurse Practitioner is a Great Job, But I’ll Hold Off for Now
The nurse practitioner (Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree) is a great degree and career. There are lots of benefits to becoming a Nurse Practitioner, and many Nurses will find themselves going back to further their education.
As for me, I think I am going to focus on trying to really learn my job & be the best RN I can be. I can always go back in a few years if I choose to do so.