Why Do a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in Nursing?

It is often mistakenly thought that studying to become a nurse or to work in the nursing field is limited to a college diploma or Bachelor’s degree. However, there is also the Master’s and Doctorate degree! So what are the specializations, research areas and job opportunities? We talk about this with Caroline Larue, vice-dean of graduate studies for the Faculty of Nursing Science at the Université de Montréal (UdeM).

Although the UdeM’s Faculty of Nursing Science year after year accepts about 200 students to the Master’s program and a dozen doctoral students, higher education in this field appears to be little known to the public. “Perhaps it’s because for many people a nurse is primarily someone who provides care. But behind this care there are students, professors and researchers who reflect on the field’s application,” Caroline Larue explains.


Doing a Master’s or Doctorate degree in nursing science means learning to reflect on the profession, including conducting a research project that may relate to management or training. “For example, a student interested in management could do a research project on the prevention of burnout among nurses. Or a student could look into the contribution of therapeutic clowns in hospitals. Finally, a student with an interest in education could work to improve the problem approach used in a simulation centre.” In short, there are many subjects, both in terms of organization and practice: evidence of a field of research in health!


While a Master’s or Doctorate degree involves a research project, do they offer the same job prospects? “The Master’s degree often leads to a position as an executive or adviser, while the Doctorate leads more to a position of professor or researcher,” explains Caroline Larue. However, be careful not to confuse the Master of Specialized Nurse Practitioner (SNP) with the Master’s Degree in Nursing Science! “The first training includes an internship, earns a further medical degree and leads to positions involving 80% practice and 20% team support. The second training includes a research project and leads to positions where a lot more team support will be done than practical tasks.”

The person

At the end of the day, pursuing higher studies in nursing science means advancing the profession’s knowledge with the aim of improving the practice and providing better care to the public. In other words, it means taking care of the caregivers as well as the persons cared for…

Latest articles by

Jobs.ca network