Complete Guide to Getting a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Complete Guide to Getting a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a popular option for graduate nurses hoping to broaden their clinical skills and become leaders within their field. When you enroll in an MSN program, you will have the opportunity to specialize in your preferred sector. For instance, an online MSN FNP is designed to equip students with the skills and experience required to become a licensed family nurse practitioner. Earning an MSN qualification such as an online MSN FNP is a significant commitment, but the qualification can bring about some fantastic benefits, including higher earning potential and wider job opportunities. This has made courses such as an online MSN FNP hugely popular with nursing professionals hoping to expand their expertise and excel in their careers.

Earning an MSN requires time and money, and you shouldn’t make the decision to enroll in an MSN program lightly. Deciding to complete an MSN is an exciting milestone in your nursing career, although many students feel anxious about starting the course. If you’re considering enrolling in a program such as an online MSN FNP, then here is everything you need to know about studying for an MSN.

What is an MSN?

An MSN is a postgraduate qualification that is designed to teach registered nurses the advanced skills needed for leadership or senior positions. Many nurses choose to enroll in an MSN program after completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). According to, completing a BSN requires roughly four years of full-time study. Once you have earned a BSN, you can apply for a license to become a registered nurse. In most cases, graduate nurses must complete an examination to demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge to practice in a clinical environment safely and efficiently before being granted a license.

An MSN qualification is ideal for any nursing professional intending on pursuing an advanced role, i.e., a specialist nurse. The main advantage of completing an MSN is that you will have the opportunity to specialize in your preferred area of nursing. So, a registered nurse hoping to become a family nurse practitioner can complete an online MSN FNP to prepare them for the role. Earning an online MSN FNP will advance your nursing skills and give you a competitive advantage over other nurses in your sector.

What are the benefits of an MSN?

Completing an MSN requires substantial time, money, and effort. Nevertheless, earning an MSN qualification can bring about a multitude of amazing benefits. By studying for an MSN, you will advance your nursing skills and become an expert in your chosen field. You will have the chance to specialize in the area of nursing that you find most interesting and rewarding, i.e., by enrolling in an online MSN FNP. Completing an MSN is a great way to invest in your professional development and take your career to the next level. Some nursing specializations require an MSN. For example, a family nurse practitioner must have a higher qualification, such as an online MSN FNP. Even if your chosen role does not require an MSN, it may still be worth investing in the qualification to improve your career outlook. Experts at advise that “many prestigious hospitals and healthcare facilities give preference to nurses who have their MSN.” Nursing professionals with a higher qualification, such as an online MSN FNP, typically have access to wider job opportunities, along with higher earning potential. Skilled nursing professionals with advanced qualifications are also in high demand across the globe. This means that nurses who complete an online MSN FNP generally enjoy attractive compensation packages and excellent job security.

Master of Science in Nursing

How long does it take to complete an MSN?

Earning your MSN typically takes a minimum of two years to complete. Fortunately, many course providers offer online programs that can be completed alongside work. For example, an online MSN FNP offers the flexibility to study from home and fit coursework and assessments around your current routine and commitments. Online qualifications, such as an online MSN FNP, has made advanced nursing certifications far more accessible. This means that nurses have more opportunities to invest in their professional development and advance in their careers. It may be possible to earn your MSN faster by completed an accelerated MSN program. Most MSN programs require you to hold a BSN degree and a registered nurse license. Keep in mind that some programs also require a minimum amount of clinical experience. You should always contact the course provider to check the MSN entry requirements before applying.

What areas can I specialize in?

As discussed earlier, an MSN allows you to specialize in a particular area of nursing, i.e., an online MSN FNP focuses on family care nursing. The MSN specialism you choose will have a significant impact on your future career, so you must choose the right specialization for you. Make sure that you take your skills, interests, and future career goals into consideration. It is advisable to complete work placements and internships to gain hands-on experience in the different nursing sectors. This will help you make a well-informed decision when you select your MSN specialization. Here are some of the most popular nursing MSN specializations to consider.

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) – A FNP provides healthcare to individuals and families of all ages. They typically work within doctor’s surgeries or small healthcare facilities. To become an FNP, you must complete a higher qualification such as an online MSN FNP. Nurses with an online MSN FNP are in high demand as the need for community nurses is growing. A nurse with an online MSN FNP will earn an average annual salary of $95,625, according to Payscale.
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – A psychiatric nurse practitioner focuses on mental health. They are responsible for diagnosing and treating a wide variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders, depression, and personality disorders. Psychiatric nurses may provide therapy or prescribe medication to help patients overcome mental health conditions or substance abuse.
  • Midwife – Midwife nurse practitioners specialize in women’s health and reproduction. They support women during pregnancy, labor, and post-partum. Their role is to ensure that the mother and baby are healthy before, during, and after birth. Recent statistics by the BLS show that job opportunities for certified nurse midwives are expected to grow by an impressive 44% by 2029. This is significantly higher than the average expected across all other occupations.
  • Anesthetist Nurse – Anesthetist nurses are responsible for administering anesthesia to patients during surgery. They also help to prepare patients for surgery, assist with surgical procedures, and provide patients with discharge information following surgery. Nurse anesthetists play a crucial role in the healthcare system and enjoy some of the highest salaries in the nursing sector.

Can I study for an MSN online?

Many nurses choose to study for an MSN online rather than attending a campus-based course. The main reason for this is because registered nurses are often in employment and want to complete the qualification alongside their workload. Remote courses like an online MSN FNP are also a great alternative for nurses who have children or other family commitments. The biggest advantage of enrolling in an online MSN is that you will have full autonomy over your learning. You can choose when, how, and where you study and fit learning around your existing routine. For instance, you could complete an online MSN FNP in your spare time while continuing to work and care for your family.

Distance learning offers some huge advantages over traditional campus-based programs. That being said, you should be aware that remote learning has its drawbacks. In particular, many distance learners find it difficult to find the motivation to study without a clear schedule and structure. For that reason, nurses enrolled in a course like an online MSN FNP must be extremely organized and able to work independently.

Tips for completing an online MSN

Tips for completing an online Master of Science in Nursing

Earning an online MSN can be challenging, although there are dozens of ways to ensure that you are prepared. Proper planning will help you stay on track and get the most out of your MSN experience. Here are five tips to help you achieve success while studying for a remote nursing qualification like an online MSN FNP.

Tip 1: Create a study schedule

Distance learning gives you the flexibility to study at a time that suits you. This can be extremely beneficial, but it can also make it easy to fall behind on your studies. With that in mind, you must create a clear study schedule to guide your learning. Before you start your program, read the course description carefully, and make a note of key deadlines and examinations. Then, determine how much time you need to allocation towards your learning each week. Aim to complete assignments early and avoid leaving things to the last minute. It is also advisable to get into a consistent routine and study a set times each day. There are loads of information guides advising on how to create an effective remote study schedule.

Tip 2: Eliminate distractions

Another challenge of working remotely is that you are more likely to become distracted. If you are studying at home, there are likely to be many potential distractions, including televisions and social media. Family members can also act as a distraction while you are trying to study from home. Try to remove all potential distractions from your learning environment and choose a study space that is quiet and calm. This will help you stay focused on your learning tasks and achieve academic success.

Tip 3: Adopt healthy habits

Students can quickly fall into unhealthy routines and habits while trying to balance a demanding study schedule with other commitments. Your health should remain a top priority regardless of how busy you are. Maintaining good habits will help ensure that you are healthy, happy, and able to perform well academically. Here are some important healthy habits that remote learners should adopt.

  • Ditch junk food in favor of healthy power snacks like popcorn, apple with peanut butter, trail mix, frozen yogurt, and boiled egg.
  • Drink at least two liters of water each day.
  • Get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Include exercise in your daily routine. Experts recommend setting a goal of doing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.
  • Prepare healthy meals in bulk so you can reheat them during the week.

Tip 4: Connect with distance learners

Studying at home can be lonely, and you won’t get the social interaction offered with traditional courses. That said, there are loads of tools and platforms designed to connect distance learners. For example, many colleges create Facebook groups where students and teachers can connect, ask questions, and share ideas.

Tip 5: Don’t forget to relax!

Studying for an advanced nursing qualification like an online MSN FNP is hard work, and you are likely to experience stress occasionally. You must take some time for yourself and find ways to relieve stress and restore feelings of calmness. If you are studying for an online MSN FNP, then ensure that you factor sufficient downtime into your schedule and enjoy relaxing activities such as socializing with friends or reading.


Overall, completing an MSN can be an excellent option for any nursing professional intending to grow and excel in their career. An MSN will advance your clinical skills, and you will have the opportunity to specialize in the field of nursing that you are most passionate about. For instance, students hoping to become family nurses can complete an online MSN FNP to help prepare them for the role. Generally speaking, MSN nurses benefit from higher salaries, wider job opportunities, and more responsibilities. Earning an MSN is a big undertaking that will require a substantial amount of time and effort, but the potential rewards should make it worthwhile. If you’re considering completing your MSN, then make sure that you research different programs and choose the right MSN course for you.

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