Certain colleges and universities are now offering dual degree programs, allowing students to work toward their master of science in nursing and Juris Doctor degrees at the same time. The benefit is that students can receive both degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately. But what can someone do with both law and nursing degrees? As it turns out, there is a wide range of opportunities.
Choosing Between Nursing and Law
A master of science in nursing prepares a student for a career in the rapidly growing nursing industry. As the American population ages, the demand for skilled nurses increases every year. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nursing is expected to be the No. 1 growth job through 2014. Clearly, an MSN degree is a sound investment on its own. An equally sound investment is the Juris Doctor, which allows its holder to enter the high-profile, high-pay legal world. Most JD holders practice as lawyers in private firms, government offices or nonprofit public interest enterprises. A person with both nursing and law degrees could pursue either path at the expense of the other, but interesting options exist where the nursing and legal worlds converge.
Opportunities to Use Both Degrees
The health care industry has unique legal challenges, and a person with both MSN and JD degrees is well-equipped to meet them. Some dual-degree holders work as practicing lawyers in private firms, specializing in health care cases and drawing on their nursing knowledge. Some work as medical consultants, advising the management of hospitals and medical organizations on high-level decisions. Some find jobs in health care strategic management, focusing on growing businesses. Other opportunities for holders of nursing and law degrees include peer review and quality assurance, credentialing, and health care organizational structure. As the health care industry continues to expand in the 21st century, expect holders of MSN and JD degrees to find opportunities wherever the medical and legal worlds meet.
Schools Offering Dual Degree Programs
Nursing and law dual-degree programs are a relatively new concept, so prospective students will need to target those few schools that offer such programs. Schools with MSN/JD degrees in 2009 included the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland and Capital University, in Columbus, Ohio.
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