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9 Reasons to Pursue an MSN Degree

Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is a significant and crucial investment for nurses. This can advance their careers and allow them to gain more expertise in their respective fields. There are several reasons for you to consider pursuing an MSN degree, and we will explore each to see which resonates with you.

Career Advancement

As with any degree associated with higher learning, an MSN degree opens up new opportunities for nursing professionals. With an MSN degree, nursing professionals can take on more advanced roles. These include nurse practitioner, nurse educator, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse administrator roles.

There is an expected increase in demand for advanced practice registered nurses (RNs) by 45 percent from 2021 to 2031. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The increase in demand is due to the rapidly aging population and a shortage of primary care physicians in certain areas.

Higher Earning Potential

Armed with an MSN degree, a nursing professional can take on advanced roles with higher earning potential. According to the BLS, nurse practitioners took in a median annual salary of $117,000 in 2020. 

This is substantially higher compared to the median annual salary for registered nurses with only a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. BSN professionals took in around $75,330 in 2020.

Specialized Expertise

MSN degrees allow nursing professionals to acquire specialized expertise in their particular areas of the industry. This specialization can make nursing professionals more attractive in the job market. With their unique skill sets, they become more marketable to employers.

With a projected demand growth of 45 percent for all nursing professionals, MSN degree holders can expect to get job opportunities more easily than before. Some of the high-demand specializations include pediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, and oncology.

Leadership Skills

With an MSN degree, nursing professionals can develop critical leadership qualities and skills that are essential to advancing healthcare. These skills usually include effective communication, rapid problem-solving, impactful decision-making, and strategic planning. 

These are important qualities required in management and executive roles in all healthcare organizations. Nursing professionals with MSN degrees tend to have better leadership skills compared to those with only a BSN degree.

Research Skills

Nursing professionals tend to acquire improved research skills and enhanced knowledge after finishing their MSN degrees. Research skills are necessary contributions to the development of more evidence-based practices that enhance patient outcomes and healthcare quality in the industry.

As noted by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), better methods in nursing research can lead to the exploration and discovery of new treatments, advanced healthcare delivery models, and healthcare policy improvements.

Professional and Personal Growth

Acquiring an MSN degree can be professionally and personally fulfilling for many nursing professionals. Most graduates find the experience rewarding and enriching as the MSN programs challenge them to be better.

The whole program hones nursing professionals to expand their knowledge, enhance their critical thinking skills, and develop a deeper understanding of the entire healthcare industry. Consequently, an MSN degree can be a source of professional and personal satisfaction, as well as a sense of accomplishment.

Nursing professionals report that their MSN degrees have improved their confidence and job satisfaction, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). As a result, they tend to make a greater and more positive impact on patient care.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Nursing professionals with MSN degrees have more advanced knowledge and skills, enabling them to provide patients with high-quality care. As a result, they are more able to apply evidence-based best practices, provide advanced nursing interventions, and successfully lead interdisciplinary teams.

As published in JONA, a study found that nurses with MSN degrees had lower patient mortality rates. The same study also found that the group of MSN nursing professionals also had low percentages when it comes to failure to rescue. This suggests that an MSN degree allowed nursing professionals to maintain clarity of mind while responding to critical patient care.

Additionally, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that healthcare organizations increase patient outcomes by requiring more stringent qualifications. One of their suggestions was to increase the number of nursing professionals with MSN degrees to 80 percent by 2020.

Increased Professional Development

Acquiring an MSN degree is simply part of staying current with the latest developments in the healthcare industry. This can include the latest nursing best practices, as well as new and upcoming healthcare technology. 

MSN programs cover a range of topics, and nursing professionals can easily take advantage of these programs to update their knowledge and skills. Depending on their specialization, nursing professionals can dive deep into topics, such as nursing theories, health policies, informatics, leadership, research, and advanced clinical practices. 

Nursing professionals with MSN degrees are better suited to implement evidence-based practices by contributing to quality improvement initiatives and participating in professional organizations. Not only do patients benefit from these activities, but they also provide nursing professionals with opportunities to enhance their professional growth and personal fulfillment.

Maintain Balance and Flexibility

MSN programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. These programs typically are online courses with part-time options and weekend classes. These make it possible for nursing professionals to acquire their MSN degrees while working full-time.

As a result, nursing professionals taking up MSN degrees can maintain flexibility and balance when it comes to their personal and professional responsibilities. In addition, pursuing an MSN degree can allow working professionals to transition to a different specialty, such as moving into education, research, or leadership roles within healthcare organizations.


An MSN degree is a wise investment for nursing professionals looking to advance their careers and increase their earning potential. By developing critical skills and acquiring specialized expertise, nursing professionals deliver better patient care due to a sense of professional pride and personal growth. With the growing demand for advanced practice nursing professionals, an MSN degree will prove to be of extreme value in the years ahead.

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