How a Direct-Entry MSN Degree Can Kickstart Your Nursing Career


Does your current job situation have you considering a career change? In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, job-related burnout can be felt across many occupations. Over the last two years, millions of employees across a range of industries began reassessing their living and employment situations, many voluntarily leaving their jobs for better prospects, including better work-life balance and career development opportunities.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs, leading to 10.6 million job openings by the end of November 2021. This “great resignation” movement has opened doors to many new career-advancing opportunities, especially in nursing.

Because of an industry-wide nursing shortage, individuals with undergraduate degrees in other fields are using this unique opportunity to leverage their education to break into a career in healthcare. While the healthcare system across the globe is still feeling the pressure of an on-going pandemic, it is an employee market as the demand for qualified nursing professionals continues to grow.

For Bachelor’s degree holders looking to use their existing non-nursing degree to change careers, a direct-entry Master’s of Science in Nursing (DE-MSN) program can get you educated and working as a nurse in as few as 20 months. There has never been a better time to take the plunge if embarking on a new career path is on your radar for 2022.

DE-MSN programs specifically appeal to degree holders who are looking for a career change and want to apply their existing baccalaureate degree toward a master’s in nursing.  An accelerated program gives students the ability to transfer credits earned during their undergraduate studies, enabling them to obtain a nursing degree and an MSN faster than a traditional four-year program.

Since DE-MSNs are designed for individuals with no prior background in nursing, students receive a solid foundation in nursing concepts and practices and learn skills that prepare them for passing the NCLEX-RN while also earning an advanced nursing degree. Using a blended approach of both online and in-person experiential learning, students can pursue their degree through a program that better integrates with their lifestyles. DE-MSN students may sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) typically after 5 semesters of coursework. This allows qualifying students to work as an RN while earning their master’s degree.

Nurses at the master’s level can typically work in a variety of fields, from leadership and advanced clinical practice to research and academia, depending on their emphasis. General practice MSN graduates are prepared to lead in the delivery of competent, high-quality, outcome-focused patient care while leveraging technology, building upon research, and optimizing healthcare resources to serve diverse populations.

Master’s-prepared nurses who choose to specialize in non-direct patient care roles, such as research, writing, and legal consulting often experience more regular hours, giving specialized MSNs a better work-life balance. Outside of direct-patient care, jobs for master’s prepared nurses often bring more responsibility as well as higher earning potential and can include positions in hospital administration, healthcare management, clinical research, and higher education.

An increase in salary potential is another driving force for changing careers and advancing your degree. The BLS reports that, on average, MSN nurses make $117,670 per year, while RNs earn an average of $75,330 per year. While MSN-educated nurses tend to earn a higher salary, the range does vary widely depending on the specialty, scope of practice, and location where you practice.

Advanced practice nurses are strong contributors to the advancement of professional excellence through their ongoing preparation for licensure, certification, and continued education. Because of their dedication to life-long learning, advanced-practice nurses are instrumental in helping shape the future of nursing by informing policies, advancing technology, and raising the standards of quality care.

If you are considering a career change to a field in high demand, earning a DE-MSN degree can get you on the path to your dream career quickly.


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