Is a Dual MBA/MSN Worth It?


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Earning a Dual MBA/MSN requires a definite commitment of time and energy. But the end result? You’ll have a platform from which you can change the status quo.

If—while juggling patients or completing charts, chatting with your nursing colleagues or sitting through a staff meeting—you’ve ever thought, “There has to be a better way!” about the multitudes of tasks thrown at nurses daily, a dual-degree program could be for you.

Registered nurses (RNs) who are looking for a career pivot without abandoning the heath care field completely may want to consider returning to school for dual master’s degrees. Why an MBA? you might be wondering. Well, the subjects sound different—at odds, even—but business and nursing are actually quite compatible.

For starters, MBA/MSN dual degree programs pave the way for RNs to advance in their careers, take on new challenges, effect positive change for patients and earn higher salaries. Meanwhile, the depth and versatility you’ll gain while in school will provide you with the opportunity to lead, manage and grow all types of health care organizations.

In addition, MBA/MSN dual degree programs tackle curriculums that marry management skills with clinical work. This gives RNs the opportunity to bolster their nursing practice with courses in economics, finance, marketing, management and operations.

What to Expect from a Dual MBA/MSN Program

Generally speaking, topics in a dual-degree program cover leadership theory and application, management, accounting and business ethics within a health care environment.

As a result, graduates of master of business administration and master of science in nursing programs go on to take leadership roles such as nurse managers and administrators, health care and health information managers, directors of nursing, and chief nursing officers and executives. They may become home health executives, directors of disease management, case managers or directors of surgical services.

In addition to the career flexibility, you’ll have your choice of an array of environments in which to spend your days, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Local, state or federal health departments
  • Physicians groups
  • Community health centers and nonprofit agencies
  • Insurance companies
  • HMOs
  • Home health care
  • Consulting firms

Good Experience in a Great Field

Nurses who pursue a dual graduate degree have the advantage of real-world experience in hands-on health care. Because of that, they can give legitimate meaning to the policies and procedures that shape the health care system. A critical advantage that nurses bring to the management culture is that they know it’s the patient who should always be the priority.

With an MBA/MSN dual degree, you’ll get to have a bigger say in guiding decisions, dictating policy and advocating for patients and nurses on the front lines. While that seems like a lot of responsibility, you’ll be able to handle it. That’s because your studies will help you understand the financial, executive and organizational demands of the industry—inside and out.

But there’s an even bigger incentive to go to grad school: Health care jobs of all kinds are in high demand now.

Indeed, growth is projected at 19% by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the field adding more jobs than any other occupation. Nurses with advanced degrees earn, on average, six-figure salaries. What’s more, the wages for chief nursing officers can sometimes easily top $250,000.

As you can see, a dual degree not only increases your odds of finding a job, but finding the just-right job for you. Nurses with advanced degrees are highly sought after for their expertise, decision-making abilities and resourcefulness. The trick is finding the right MBA dual degree option for you.

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