Does the thought of putting on your medical scrubs and going to work make you want to crawl back in bed and hide under covers? Or are you struggling to maintain an upbeat attitude and enjoy things you once loved? Do you find yourself worrying excessively, or has your family noticed a change in your behavior or personality? If so, you are likely suffering from burnout. A common problem among healthcare professionals, burnout affects both new and seasoned nurses.
While it isn’t classified as a medical condition, job-related burnout creates a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion resulting from stress. It affects workers in every industry for a variety of reasons.
Among nurses, burnout is commonly a result of working long hours and not getting enough sleep. Staffing shortages, lack of social support, quick decision making and poor work-life balance contribute to burnout, as well. Throw in a global pandemic, and it should come as no surprise that many nurses have developed stress-related disorders and been on the edge of quitting their jobs throughout the last few years. Many have left nursing (or plan to do so soon) to embark on different career paths, furthering staffing shortages in hospitals and clinics throughout the United States.
If you’re struggling with feeling burnt out, don’t hang up your medical scrubs for good just yet! There are several ways to combat stress and fall in love with nursing again. Obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) opens up new opportunities and could help you find joy in your work again. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways an MSN can help mitigate nurse burnout.
- An MSN Opens Up New Job Opportunities
Direct patient care isn’t easy, and it can take a serious toll on your mental and emotional health. If working directly with patients is getting to you, earning an MSN could be a perfect solution. This degree opens doors to new roles outside and inside clinical settings. Your education will prepare you for leadership roles in which you can have a positive impact on employee health and patient care. You can use your knowledge and skills to mitigate burnout for other healthcare professionals.
As an MSN nurse, you will also be qualified for jobs that don’t involve direct patient care at all. You could work in clinical research, higher education or healthcare management and leadership. Breaking away from caring for patients directly allows you to continue the work you are passionate about while lowering your risk of burnout.
- MSN Nurses Earn More Money
Higher degrees lead to higher paychecks. If you’re feeling like you are working way too hard and dedicating too much of your life to a job that doesn’t offer adequate compensation, earning your MSN is a great way to boost your income. MSN nurses make about 44 percent more money than RNs.
You can earn even more if you decide to pursue a specialty (more on that next!). Depending on what program you choose, you can focus on specialties outside of routine clinical care, such as surgery, gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and oncology.
- An Advanced Degree Allows You to Work in Your Preferred Specialty
Going back to school for your MSN is a great idea if you want to dedicate your career to working in a specific specialty. Obtaining additional education broadens job opportunities, and specialization builds expertise. You may still need additional credentialing, but an MSN opens advanced practice areas, including nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, certified nurse-midwife and clinical nurse specialist. In addition to allowing you to devote your career to helping a certain type of patient, these jobs are some of the highest-paying options for nurses.
- An MSN Helps You Gain Access to Managerial Positions
When working toward your MSN, you’ll learn about managerial and administrative strategies in healthcare settings. Therefore, you’ll qualify for supervisory positions upon graduation (as long as you have the appropriate work experience). Moving into one of these positions could mean working fewer hours and enjoying a more consistent schedule. It also means you can play a role in developing new policies and easing burnout for your fellow nurses.
- Having an MSN Can Improve Your Work-Life Balance
If having a poor work-life balance is causing your burnout, an MSN could help. When you pursue a specialty area like research, writing or nurse education, your hours will be more regular and you won’t need to put in nearly as many late nights. As the healthcare industry evolves, working in these specialties could grant you more flexibility, enabling you to spend more time with your family.
Going back to school can be a scary prospect, but the benefits are well worth it! If you are already an RN, you can earn an advanced degree in as little as one year by enrolling in a BSN to MSN program. What are you waiting for? Lace up your men’s nursing shoes, and go apply to enter an MSN program. Just taking that first step can ease some of your feelings of stress and burnout.