How to Know if You are Ready for Your Masters in Nursing

May 5, 2019

As I graduated from nursing school in 2016 with my Bachelors, I told myself that I would be back soon for my masters. Then I started in my career and was so overwhelmed with learning how to be a real nurse that I put my love and desire for education on the back burner.

After about a year of being a nurse, I began to have confidence in my skills and self as a nurse. My desire to further my education began to fester at me. However, this was a time in my life where I started to care for my mother 100%: financially and physically.

I knew to support two full adults, one with a multitude of health problems, I could not afford to pay thousands of dollars to my education even if it was to a good cause. Instead, I began to seek other opportunities at work to advance. I started with obtaining my chemotherapy and biotherapy providers card and then went on to studying and ultimately passing my certification to become an Oncology Certified Nurse. During this time, I also step into becoming my units expert in wound care. I was reminded of how much I loved teaching and educating other nurses. (If you remember, I was a skills instructor at my nursing school for my senior year.) I always said that someday I would love to become a nursing clinical instructor or unit educator.

When I changed jobs and moved states, I thought that my longing for education died back down as I was trying to learn a whole new hospital system and drugs. However, as I was trying to find my way, I began to notice that my unit really lacked education and consistency. Since I am the newest member, I kept some of these thoughts to myself: I was trying not to be a “know-it-all”.

And then April happened where I attended my first ever Oncology Nurses Society Congress and I began bursting at the seems sharing what I was learning. My nurse navigator (who I randomly bumped into at the Congress) even began speaking to me about the idea of becoming an educator without even knowing this something I had always wanted to do.

So here I am at a crossroad trying to figure out if I could financially afford to entertain the idea of furthering my education. Not to mention that I have zero physical graduate nursing programs near me and will have to find an online/satellite university. As of right now, I haven’t settled on anything, but I will continue to share my process with you all. 

Deciding to pursue a master’s degree is both exciting and scary. Here are some things to know if you are ready (like me):

ONE// You have a burning desire to do more
Earning a masters degree will allow you to be seen as more of a leader. An MSN can open new opportunities apart from being a staff nurse allowing you to create change. A master’s in nursing education can also allow you to become a nurse educator for a hospital or university thus allowing you to impact new nurses. 

TWO//You are motivated by making a difference
One thing that sets masters prepared nurses apart from bachelor prepared nurses is that a higher degree typically accompanies more respect. You may find that your opinions become more valued after obtaining higher education. MSN shoes that you are an intelligent, driven, determined, and exceptional. All great qualities to possess. 

THREE// You know you might eventually want to become an NP or hold a PH.D.
You may not be ready to further your career by obtaining a doctorate at the moment, but a masters in nursing can help advance you into leadership positions to better equip you for when you are ready. 

FOUR// Personal Fulfillment
Similar to when you first graduated nursing school or became a nurse, it just feels great knowing that you are better preparing yourself for the advances in the medical field but seeking a higher degree. The sense of accomplishment that you will feel can help boost self-confidence and simply lead to a happier life. 

FIVE// You are looking for better pay
Although money should not be the deciding factor, it is true that nurses holding an advanced degree get paid more. Additionally, there are more job opportunities for nurses with higher degrees. 

Now I have not registered for any programs yet, but I am in the process of talking to some admission counselors. If you saw on my Instagram stories, then you know I created a spreadsheet of the data I am learning. I will be sharing this when I make my decision.

Not sure how to advance your nursing career? You might be ready to get your masters in nursing.

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