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5 Nursing Careers that Require a MSN

Career News November 4, 2013

The General Job Outlook for Nursing Jobs

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a February 2012 economic news release confirmed that choosing a career as a Registered Nurse (RN) remains one of the wisest choice an individual can make, if they are seeking job security. As one of the top 30 careers with an anticipated job growth of 26 percent throughout the decade 2010 to 2020, a nursing career can promise regular employment to individuals educated and licensed as registered nurses.

The “much faster than average” anticipated growth in this field stems from three different sources. First, Baby Boomer nurses are retiring from their careers at a rate faster than newly graduated nurses can replace them. Second, the aging of the Boomer population as a whole has created a greater demand for nurses as the profession’s scope of practice has changed to embrace a larger patient population. Finally, the significant bottleneck in creating new nurses is the lack of PhD-prepared nurse educators to instruct and educate students in the discipline.

5 Nursing Careers that Require a MSN

Although registered nurses can enter their careers with an associate degree, most leadership and specialized fields in the discipline require a bachelor’s degree at the very minimum. All of these careers pay extremely well, with higher salaries associated with private services. Five nursing careers that require a master’s degree in nursing are noted below.

Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

Nurses, who complete the academic requirements to earn a Master of Science degree in nursing (MSN), and also complete additional clinical training and education in the field of gerontology, are qualified according to most state’s nurse practice laws to work as a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner. All GNPs are capable of independently prescribing medication, treatments, therapies and durable medical equipment. Depending upon the state, however, a nurse qualified as a Gerontology Nurse Practitioner may work entirely independently of any physician supervision while other states may require some degree of minimal supervision. While GNPs can work in any type of medical facility, they are most often used in nursing homes, retirement communities and assisted living environments.

Certified Nurse Midwife

A career as a certified nurse midwife requires completion of the academic requirements necessary to be awarded a master’s degree in nursing, in addition to many hours of academic and clinical training in obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, family planning and a healthy reproductive system. Most of geriatric or gerontology nurse practitioners concentrate on the latter years of patients’ lives; a certified nurse midwife concentrates on the beginning years of life for children and the reproductive years of women between the beginning of menses and menopause. Again, depending upon a specific state’s nursing scope of practice, a certified nurse midwife may work in a hospital setting, a clinic environment or within a family’s home for a planned home birth and delivery. Physician interaction may be collegial or supervisory in nature. Certified nurse midwives are particularly charged with informal counseling and education to families to promote healthy pregnancies, oversee healthy reproductive systems and avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Certified and Registered Nurse Anesthetists, also known as CRNA’s, work independently of physician supervision within operating rooms to provide every type of anesthesia utilized including intravenous, gaseous, spinal and any combination of these three. According to a website devoted to this specialty, 36,000 CRNAs provide necessary anesthesia in 32 million medication situations per year and are the only available healthcare providers of this type in most rural US hospitals. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists work in hospitals, outpatient surgery clinics and dentist offices at times.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners are independent or semi-independent healthcare professionals who provide care for individuals throughout their life spans, from birth to old age. Depending upon the scope of practice laws in the state in which he or she works, they may have partial or unlimited prescriptive authority. Nurse Practitioners may become the nursing version of a Family Practice or General Practice physician, or they may choose to specialize in areas such as gerontology, midwifery or anesthesia. These professionals usually work out of clinic or physician practice venues where they assess, treat and prescribe for patients they see during the day.

Nursing Informatics

A position in Nursing Informatics is perhaps the least well known to the medical community as well as the general public. The need for this specialization has developed since health care has increasing relied on computerization and information technology. According to the website, the specialization of informatics is defined by the American Nursing Association as a practice “that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice.” A Nursing Informatic Specialist obtains a master’s degree in nursing, computer science or both following undergraduate work. After a minimum amount of experience and continued training, applicants can sit for credentialing, certification or both.


Independent practice, leadership, educational roles and specializations have all begun to require a master’s of science in nursing to serve in these roles. Continued professionalization, education and credentialing have begun to change the image of nursing from that of a trained blue-collar worker to a professional specialist.

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