Masters in Nursing (MSN) Jobs & Careers
Master of Science in Nursing Jobs
Traditionally there have been four areas for advanced practice nursing as defined by the MSN degree: nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist. Those four fields have expanded vastly into areas of specialization; there have also been non-clinical specializations folded into most MSN degree programs. Nurse anesthetists today are not normally included in a standard MSN program but are educated in a separate academic track that often is based in a medical school environment. There are perhaps six areas of specialization for nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist that are commonly taught, and additional options that are available at the largest nursing schools. The non-clinical options have expanded from nurse educator and nurse administrator to include such areas as nurse leadership, nurse executive and clinical nurse leader. Our list of jobs is a sampler of the most common MSN areas of practice.
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner provides care for patients who are suffering from severe illness or injury. Often these professionals are found in intensive care units or emergency rooms responding to the most serious cases. This area of specialization can be stressful; also many acute care nurse practitioners may be on call for emergency situations as well as working an eight hour shift.
- Family Nurse Practitioner is the NP that works alongside internists or MDs in general practice, most often in a doctor's office setting. Family nurse practitioners see adult patients and children, make diagnoses and when necessary call in a physician for consultation.
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner usually works in a pediatrician's office and in many cases has an established roster of patients. MSN graduates in this specialty will often see children with minor illnesses or injuries, freeing up the MDs in the practice to see patients with more serious problems. This field involves a lot of parent interaction and education.
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner jobs may be found in public health clinics, social service centers, hospitals, prisons, or in large medical practices. Much of this work is educational, working not only with patients but with family members who need to understand the illness that is impacting the patient and those who live in the same house.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist is the general description for advanced practice nurses who opt for careers in a clinical setting, working in specialties that are generally positions found in hospitals and health clinics. Some clinical nurse specialists opt for additional schooling to become cardiovascular or neurological specialists, working with medical specialists in clearly defined fields.
- Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist is the nurse in charge of an intensive care unit or a trauma center or perhaps a triage unit in an emergency room. This specialty often leads to a de facto role as a clinical educator, training RNs in the treatment of serious illness or injury and in the use of treatment technology found in acute care settings.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist/Oncology is a specialist who works with cancer patients in a hospital or within a medical practice dedicated to oncology. This is another advanced practice nursing area where educating family members is usually part of the job description. Managing post-operative care for cancer patients is another job option for those working in a large medical services facility.
- Nurse Midwife is a MSN specialty for nurses who want to work in obstetrics and women's health. Most nurses who complete this degree will become the primary provider for pregnant women throughout a pregnancy and during labor. The professional role extends far beyond the birth of the child.
- Nurse Educator is a popular non-clinical MSN option, especially for nurses enrolled in an online MSN degree program. Nurse educators are qualified to teach in a clinical setting, in continuing education courses, and in many cases will become instructors in nursing programs offered in a community college or nurse training facility.
- Nurse Administrator is a job for nurses who would prefer to relinquish the daily patient contact position for work as an administrator or nurse manager. Nurse administrators may work in hospital management at some level, may find employment as a health clinic administrator, or may work directly in an oversight position for nursing staff in a department, on a hospital floor, or within a doctor's office.
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