Nursing Career Options
Here we discuss some of the career options for graduates of a master's degree program in nursing. We'll also cover coursework and specializations available in nursing graduate programs.
A registered nurse may become an advanced practice nurse upon the completion of a master's degree program. Advanced practice nurses then may either work independently or alongside physicians to provide medical care to patients. The roles of these nurses may vary by state, though it's generally accepted that advanced practice nurses may prescribe medicine to patients.
There are multiple types of advanced practice nurses. Nurse practitioners serve as primary or specialty care providers. They may specialize in a particular population of people, such as geriatric or mental health. Nurse midwives care for women and newborns. They deliver babies, provide prenatal care, perform gynecological exams, and more. Clinical nurse specialists provide direct and indirect patient care in a specialty area, such as pediatrics or psychiatry. They may also take on leadership positions and educate other nurses. Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia and care for patients undergoing surgical procedures. During the procedure, they help monitor vital signs and adjust the anesthesia as needed.
A master's degree may also allow a registered nurse to move into a career in healthcare administration. In this role, a nurse may work on consulting, quality assurance, policy development, and marketing for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and insurance companies.
Nursing Master's Degree Overview
Nursing master's degrees often include specialization options in the field. These may include HIV/AIDS, oncology, developmental disabilities, nephrology, and cardiovascular nursing. In addition, students may earn a master's degree focused on nursing management in order to take on a managerial role. Classes in a master's degree program often depend upon the specialization. Some of these courses may include health systems, nursing research, pharmacology, nursing theory, professional practice, and issues in nursing management.
Graduates with a Master of Science in Nursing can land positions as advanced practice nurses who can work independently or with physicians and prescribe medication. Specific job titles include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists, but students can also pursue a master's program to prepare for a career in healthcare administration.