Choosing a Master’s in Nursing Career Path
since there are more than 2,000 different Masters in nursing programs, many going by different names, it can be quite challenging choosing the specific one to meet individual needs. Generally speaking, many of the programs prefer prospective students that are currently registered nurses, or nurses that have already obtained a BSN degree. Some programs exist for people who have only met one of these criteria, and in some cases, neither. However, keep in mind that an RN already sporting a BSN degree will have the greatest range of programs available to consider.
Popular programs available include:
- Master Of Science In Nursing (MSN) or Master of Nursing (MN). This is the most recognizable term used for the specific advanced Master’s degree. Although the term “Master of Science In Nursing” is generally used, there are certain distinguishing tracks that lead in individual to obtaining a specialized distinction such as Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and more. Specialty training programs leading to an MSN or oftentimes distinguished by the population, or type of patients involved in treatment such as adults, pediatrics, family, etc. subspecialties also exist pertaining to different types of care affordable including psychiatric, women’s, acute and critical care plus more.
- RN To MSN Or Bridge Programs. The term “RN to MSN” has different meanings when used in a variety of different schools. In some situations, it is a program that accepts RNs will only completed either a diploma or an AND course of study. These programs are designed to advance the student through a course of study that grants them both a BSN and MSN degree at the same time. Some grant only the MSN degree at conclusion, and not the BSN degree. For individuals this happens to matter, it is important to question the school about its degree granting protocol. Also, many schools do not offer participation in all “specialized tracks” for students seeking to obtain an MSN when beginning with either a diploma or associate’s degree. Students entering without already obtaining a BSN may be limited to choosing between two or three different tracks. However, students entering having already obtained a BSN degree will more than likely have the full array of tracks offered by the school open for their enrollment.
Other schools may offer an RN to MSN program to registered nurses having received a diploma or ADN degree while also obtaining a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Still, there exist other programs offered to individuals who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in a different subject matter other than nursing and are not registered nurses. Furthermore, programs also exist for individuals who have received a bachelor’s of nursing degree but have never taken the licensing exam. Obviously, students for the BSN will follow a different course of study than individuals who have a degree in a different subject matter.
- Direct Entry Programs are designed, typically, for prospective students possessing a bachelor’s degree or even to its degree in a non-nursing subject but are not registered nurses. This particular course of study would include subjects found in a BSN program, also help repair students with a NCLEX while making sure they receive all the proper education leading to obtaining an MSN degree.
- Dual Degree Programs are ones that perform exactly like they sound, where individuals learn to Masters degrees, the MSN and an additional Masters degree usually an MBA (Master of Business Administration or MPH (Master of Public Health. These programs are targeted to students looking to prepare for specific executive management roles in healthcare institutions or programs. This course of study helps students to blend both clinical and public health work along with policy and administration education. Other degrees that typically combine the MSN include Nursing Administration, Health Informatics and Environmental Health. The overriding recommendation is to never get hung up on one particular program is called and simply take a look at missions requirements for the program. That offers a course of study that best suit your individual needs.
What Other Admission Requirements May Be Needed for an RN to MSN?
Typically, admission requirements for any Master’s program are going to be a lot more stricter than what is involved in a Bachelor’s program. Unless an applicant already has any type of bachelor’s degree, one admission requirement would be that said applicant possesses an active and current United States registered nursing license. Keep in mind that this license needs to be active in the state where anyone pursuing a course of study online needs to conduct the clinical portion of their education. Qualifying requirements also include any previous GPA as well as examination of coursework taken. Most schools, traditional as well as online, require that students have a cumulative prior GPA of 2.5 to 3.0, including two a B- or C+ to a B rating. Additionally, many schools require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, however this is not as common today as it once was. Additionally, most applicants for an RN to MSN degree program are required to have it least two years of prior work experience as an RN. Often, this needs to be in the area in which an act which is to specialize, for example, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program entry requirements may insist that applicants have experience in positions dealing with children and adolescents. Be sure to check with any specialized program requirements before choosing a specific school.