Benefits of the MSN in the ICU

Are you interested in working in intensive care units? If so, you may be considering getting a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN).

While the MSN isn’t required for ICU work, it will provide you with invaluable benefits.

But why should you go to the effort to get an MSN if it isn’t required for the work you want to do? Keep reading to find out about some of the benefits of having an MSN while working in intensive care.

Additional Experience and Knowledge

You gained a lot of great experience and knowledge while you worked on getting your RN license. Your learning doesn’t have to stop there, though, so why limit yourself?

The work required to get your MSN will prepare you for the rigors of working in the ICU day in and day out. You’ll have additional skills beyond what was required when you obtained your RN, and additional knowledge never hurts.

The MSN requires classes regarding upper-level nursing skills, such as leadership skills. When applying for jobs, hospitals and other health locations that offer critical care will see that you’re a cut above the rest.

More Career Opportunities

There are many different career options within the ICU. You’re not limited to traditional nurse duties if you have an MSN.

Nurses holding an MSN are able to participate in administrative and educational roles. Critical Care Nurses can operate as either Clinical Nurse Specialists or Nurse Practitioners.

The skills you’ve learned while gaining your MSN will help you perform the vital functions of these roles. These functions include assessing the health of patients in a comprehensive way, making medical diagnoses, put interventions in place, and ordering diagnostic tests and procedures.

Focused Education

Graduate studies allow for more flexibility and specialization than undergraduate degrees. While you learned many important skills as an undergrad, grad school is the time to hone those skills and drive them in the direction of your choosing.

If you’d like to pursue a career in nursing in the ICU, then you can gear your graduate experience to match that goal.

While a general MSN will help with your work in the ICU, an MSN specifically focused on critical care is even better.

You may need to be an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in order to work in the ICU of your choice. This depends on the hospital’s preference.

The base qualification for critical care nursing is still an RN, but hospitals and other locations may require more if they wish.

To become an APRN you need to have at least a master’s degree. You’ll also need to obtain the appropriate certification. Once you’ve done that, you’ll meet the requirements of just about any healthcare location that offers critical care.

Greater Income Potential

An MSN allows you to work in more and higher-level capacities than an RN or RSN. Depending on the positions you pursue, this can really make a difference in your income level.

Specialists and administrators simply make more than standard nurses. While your focus should be on supporting doctors and performing other nursing duties, the additional funds are a nice perk to getting that MSN.

Show Your Dedication

If you hold an MSN, potential employers will instantly see that you’re dedicated to the work of nursing. You’ll give off the impression that you care deeply about bettering the lives of those you work with and that you want to make a difference.

While an RN is admirable in its own sense, an MSN is a cut above. It shows you take your job seriously and that you want to be taken seriously in return.

It also shows you’re up to taking on the more difficult roles in nursing. Add an MSN to your credentials and peers and employers will know you’re a reliable person to turn to when something needs to be done.

A More Well-Rounded Education

Whether you end up using everything you study or not, the path to becoming an MSN is full of learning you don’t want to miss out on. Here are some of the things you may learn more about while getting an MSN:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health assessments
  • Collaborative management
  • Oncology
  • Surgery
  • Cardiology

While you’re learning about these things, you can focus on one of them if you take an interest in the specialty. If you’d like to focus on ER or trauma work, you can. That will prepare you even more for work in the intensive care unit.

Prepare for Higher Level Learning

An MSN doesn’t just prepare your ICU work. It also sets you up for a higher level of learning.

The work required to obtain an MSN and the experience you’ll gain working in the ICU will prep you for working on a Doctorate degree, should you decide to pursue one. By the time you start this prestigious degree, you’ll have considerable knowledge in ICU and other nursing work, and you’ll be a pro when it comes to working hard.

Go for that MSN if You Want to Work in the ICU

You can work in the ICU as an RN, but why stop there when you can obtain an MSN? The work required for you to obtain that degree will undoubtedly prepare you better for ICU work.

Once you’ve obtained your MSN, you’ll show potential employers that you mean business. You’ll soon be working in the unit of your choice, where you’ll work to save and better lives — as all nurses do.

Interested to learn what your salary may be as an ICU nurse in your region? Click here to find out.

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