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Should an RN with just 1 year of work experience get a master’s degree?

Dear Donna,

Do you think it’s too soon for me to pursue a master’s degree? I finished a BSN program in May 2014 and have been working on a medsurg unit. Do you think it is too soon for me to pursue a master’s degree? I’m hearing different opinions and not really sure what is best.

New Nurse Who Wants to Go Back to School

Dear New Nurse Who Wants to Go Back to School,

It you feel ready and motivated to return to school, then I would say go for it. Some will advise that you wait to be more clear on which direction your career will take but more time won’t necessarily help you see into the future. The very act of pursuing higher education actually exposes you to more people, ideas and information. It can lead you in a direction you never even knew existed or had ever considered.

Others believe solid work experience should be obtained before furthering one’s education beyond entry level. Again, I do not see any particular benefit to waiting. The educational/student process enhances any career situation. The two go hand-in-hand and support one another.

Our circumstances can change in the future, making it harder to pursue goals if we put them on hold. I’ve often met nurses who say they are waiting for the so-called perfect time to do something. But so much can happen while you’re waiting. So do it when it is right for you and while you have the chance. I believe the expression, “You’ll never have more time than you have now.” Also, you may never have more motivation than you have now. So, just do it.

If you’re going for an MSN, choose a concentration (education, management, informatics, etc.) with coursework and curriculum you find interesting and exciting and start the process. What matters in the end is you get that masters degree. Which track you opt for is less important. Any of the above-mentioned concentrations, and many others, will serve you well in any nursing role.

You may find these articles helpful: “Go back to school and change your life” and “How to get back to school”.

By | 2021-05-07T09:25:12-04:00 July 23rd, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs, Nursing Education|1 Comment

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

One Comment

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    Judith Simmons August 17, 2015 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Donna, can a private nursing schooled, new R.N. in. California make it in a busy ICU without prior med/surg floor experience?

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