A face-to-face interview was performed of a Masters prepared nurse, Mrs. H., to seek new knowledge about a role desired from the interviewer. Taking information from a practicing Masters prepared nurse will help the interviewer develop an understanding of opportunities, career advancement and the practice of someone in the Master in Science of Nursing (MSN) role. Review of the educational preparation, personal experience, and accomplishments of a Masters prepared nurse will be discussed. Mrs. H, describes her journey from Associates Degree in Nursing through obtaining her Master’s degree in education, and her post masters certificate as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. The interview will develop an understanding of the MSN in practice.
The interview chosen was the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Critical Care. The interviewer’s knowledge of this role is very limited. However, this role is viewed as an educator for a specific unit. The person interviewed holds a MSN in education and a post graduate certificate as a CNS. This interview was conducted due to not only the MSN in education, but excitement of the CNS post graduate certificate. These positions are held by respected members of the nursing profession and hold endless possibilities.
The interviewed, Mrs. H., has held a variety of jobs/careers in her life. Upon high school graduation, Mrs. H. obtained a job in retail as a sales associate. Through hard work and dedication, Mrs. H. worked her way up to management in retail. However, Mrs. H. quickly discovered that retail held long hours and no room for growth without an education. Upon self reflection, Mrs. H. made a decision to go to school and make a career change. Her decision was she wanted to help people and make a difference. Mrs. H. obtained her Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) in 1997. During this time, she continued to work part-time in retail on evenings and weekends to earn money. Upon completion of her ADN, she got a job at the local hospital on the medical-surgical unit. She quickly discovered her love of nursing and wanted to do more.
Thus Mrs. H. continued to work in nursing and went back to school and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) in 2002. Upon completion of her BSN, she transferred within the hospital to a Surgical ICU unit where she worked for a couple of years before deciding to pursue her Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN). However, prior to pursuing her MSN, Mrs. H. was required to take the GRE and get a good score to qualify for her MSN program. She spent months studying for her GRE. Eventually, when Mrs. H. felt she was ready, she sat for the GRE and was pleased to discover she received the number on the GRE she needed to get into her MSN program.
While continuing to work as much as possible, Mrs. H. went back to school and obtained her MSN in education in 2008. She recalls school, papers, maintaining a family life and balancing work being very difficult, but states it makes the reward of graduating even better. Her MSN has opened up many doors and opportunities for her, as her career responsibilities continue to grow. Mrs. H. became a leader on her unit and held the title of supervisor/educator for the Surgical ICU. The desire to continue to learn and grow and make a difference in healthcare continued to weigh on Mrs. H’s mind, thus she obtained her Post Masters CNS in Critical Care board certification in 2013.
Mrs. H. has a variety of experiences as a nurse. Presently, Mrs. H. is in charge of all patient, staff and student education on one of the critical care units. Furthermore, Mrs. H. helps change, write and build policies for her institution. In addition, she participates in several hospital wide committees aimed at patient safety, performance improvement and nursing engagement.
Mrs. H. describes her position as one that has changed from supporting nursing practice and interpreting information, to one that conducts research and develops pathways for care. She states she uses nursing theory, evidenced based practice (EBP), and critical thinking skills to change nursing care provided throughout the hospital. In addition to her full time role at the hospital, Mrs. H. teaches BSN classes at a local university. Mrs. H. admits all of this would not be possible without her education, commitment and determination in life. Her career opportunities “fell into her lap” as she describes it. However, Mrs. H. will also humbly admit that through her leadership skills and her educational background, she proved herself to be worthy of her opportunities.
On more than one occasion, Mrs. H. stated to never give up. When asked what exactly was meant by that, Mrs. H. stated to remember that no one is ever too old to continue their education. Furthermore, Mrs. H. encourages nurses to be the best they can be. Follow our hearts and don’t be afraid to speak out on patients behalf. Many words Mrs. H. said were interesting, but most importantly always seek to be the best at whatever it is in life.
Inspiring others and leading change are attributes of effective leaders that are crucial in preparing nursing students for professional practice (Adelman-Mullally, 2013, p. 30). Another important aspect of leadership is challenging the system to bring about desired change. Both healthcare and nursing education are experiencing change that creates unpredictability. Leaders recognize these challenges and have the confidence and courage to propose new ideas. (Adelman-Mullally, 2013, p. 32).
The profession of nursing and the advancement of healthcare are directly related to effective leaders in nursing who hold higher levels of nursing education, pursue excellence in nursing practice, and motivate others to perform to a higher standard. All of this is in line with Grand Canyon Universities mission of providing role models through education in order to be effective communicators, critical thinkers and responsible leaders (GCU, p. 1).
Adelman-Mullally, T. (2013). The Clinical Nurse Educator as Leader. Nurse Education Practice. 13(1):29-34. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22854312 Grand Canyon University (GCU).
Mission and Vision at Grand Canyon University. Retrieved from www.gcu.ed