Are you wanting to advance your nursing career but still haven’t found your niche? Perhaps one or more of these little-known masters in nursing (MSN) degrees will spark your interest!

1. Forensics/Law

Have a penchant for crime solving, or want to become an advocate for victims of crime? Look no further. Forensic nursing usually requires a master’s degree in nursing with special training in law, evidence-gathering, ethics, psychology, physiology, criminal justice and other details. Expect to be employed by law firms, prisons or hospitals to address the needs of victims OR perpetrators. Forensic nurses also may have the ability to become self-employed, functioning as independent contractors for their services.

Some nurses choose to obtain a doctorate degree directly in law and function as RN/JDs (juris doctors). These nurses can function as both nurses and attorneys.

If you are interested in medical law but do not wish to obtain a higher degree, consider legal nurse consulting. Several certificate programs exist in the USA, and they require minimal class time and monetary investment. Legal nurse consultants (LNCs) help both prosecution and defense lawyers determine case timelines and deviations from nursing standards of care.

2. Informatics

Nursing informatics was obscure just five years ago, but with all the recent implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs), this degree has become rather popular. With this master’s degree in hand, expect to be in high demand as healthcare becomes increasingly digital. The best part? An informatics degree often requires fewer clinical hours than standard MSN programs!

3. Research

This degree specialty may be hidden within generic descriptions such as “Master of Nursing Science” or “Doctor of Nursing Science.” These degrees can be tailored to include heavy involvement in new or current research studies. Courses about obtaining research grants or designing research studies add valuable insight. Study the available courses list from your desired school to determine if a research emphasis is possible. As a research nurse, you may or may not have any contact with clients.

4. Holistic Care

Alternative medicine is big business here in the USA as clients with chronic health problems seek solutions that involve fewer medications and invasive procedures. Holistic care focuses on healing the person as a whole instead of just treating signs and symptoms. This nursing specialty was officially recognized in 2006 by the American Nurses Association. Become a holistic nurse practitioner or a certified holistic nurse by completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in nursing, then applying for certification through the American Holistic Nurses’ Certification Corporation (AHNCC).

For more information, contact your state holistic nursing association (if available) or peruse the information on the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) website.