The nursing profession is widely respected and continues to be sought after by students with dreams of making a difference in the healthcare system and in patients’ lives. The popularity of distance learning and online nursing programs has expanded the opportunities for higher education to a number of people across the country who normally would have faced challenges achieving their academic goals. As a result, the healthcare industry is experiencing a much-needed surge of applicants to fill the wide range of job openings at various medical facilities.
Many students would be more than content with obtaining the skills and training to become a licensed RN but there are others who wish to take things the extra mile by going after an advanced degree. Such a decision shouldn’t be made too quickly, however. Below are just a few pros and cons that typically come with the territory when dealing with advanced nursing degrees.
Pro: Increased Likelihood of Getting Hired
It goes without saying that many nursing positions are just waiting to be filled by the proper, qualified individuals. The more advanced professions call for an even higher level of skill, training and expertise. Although there is a large pool of applicants waiting to jump into the more traditional nursing roles at hospitals, clinics and other facilities, the pool for more prestigious and demanding positions is much smaller. That means a greater chance to qualify, get hired and excel at this level within the nursing field.
Con: More Money & Time
Depending on one’s career goals, the path towards earning an advanced degree in nursing is generally very rigorous (and expensive). Those considering this route must be prepared to invest even more time into the education and training that comes with an advanced degree, as well as coming up with the funds to finance their additional schooling. The latter could mean the risk of taking on even more debt.
Pro: Higher Earning Potential
With advanced nursing degrees comes the promise of a more lucrative paycheck. And why not? Nurses who have completed advanced degrees have certainly earned it by investing the time, money and energy into becoming experts in their niche. Even though going after a higher degree means spending more money on school, securing a prestigious job improves the odds of being financially stable and in a better position to pay down any student debt.
Con: Higher Stress Levels
Not all advanced degree programs are the same but they aren’t known for being a cakewalk. Nurses immersed in an advanced program of study may find themselves taxed physically, mentally and emotionally. Some people are built to handle this type of pressure, while others are not. Did you struggle through the years it took to become an RN? Then taking on the challenge of a higher degree may not be the best move right now.
Getting an advanced degree in nursing isn’t mandatory but can be a huge benefit for nurses hoping to be at the top of their craft.