MSN- Master of Science in Nursing

A Master of Science in Nursing is an advanced level degree after Bachelor of Science in Nursing for registered nurses. It is an entry-level degree for those who want to work as nurse managers and educators. It is a degree that can also prepare a nurse to get a career in the following areas: 

  • Health policy expert 
  • Nurse administrator  
  • Clinical nurse leader  

Educational requirements for an MSN

A BSN degree is an average of a four years degree. You can start studying for a BSN degree directly, although many are those who start by earning an Associate’s degree and become nurses after two years it takes to complete the degree. They then join an RN to BSN program that completes in two years. Other nurses gain a BSN degree, become an RN then enroll for a BSN program that takes two years to complete. 

There are options to study part of full time for those who want to study and work. 

Paths to Earn an MSN degree

There are many different paths for students to take to earn a Masters Degree in nursing. The current academic level determines the path that makes someone illegible for an MSN program.  The most common types of masters program are for registered nurses who already have a bachelors degree from an accredited nursing school. 

However, there are still programs that accept   RNs with an ADN, but it is becoming rare as entry level for most nursing jobs is now a BSN. Others accept an ADN degree holder to their MSN program on condition that the applicant has a Bachelors degree in another non-nursing field.  Applicants for all these cases should posses an active unrestricted RN license for universities to consider their application. 

Masters programs might have different names at various nursing schools, but most fall into one of these categories showing different paths for students to pursue an advanced degree. 

BSN –MSN program:   Many people refer to this program as a traditional MSN program. It accepts RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Most BSN-MSN programs consist of about two years for those who enroll to study full-time. Students who pursue this option should expect to take the core courses for their graduate level. The courses are about general nursing concepts like pharmacology, physiology and advanced health assessment. They also study specialized courses relating to their degree specialty. 

There are many different paths for students to take to earn a Masters Degree in nursing. The current academic level determines the path that makes someone illegible for an MSN program.  The most common types of masters program are for registered nurses who already have a bachelors degree from an accredited nursing school. 

However, there are still programs that accept   RNs with an ADN, but it is becoming rare as entry level for most nursing jobs is now a BSN. Others accept an ADN degree holder to their MSN program on condition that the applicant has a Bachelors degree in another non-nursing field.  Applicants for all these cases should posses an active unrestricted RN license for universities to consider their application. 

Masters programs might have different names at various nursing schools, but most fall into one of these categories showing different paths for students to pursue an advanced degree. 

BSN –MSN program:   Many people refer to this program as a traditional MSN program. It accepts RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Most BSN-MSN programs consist of about two years for those who enroll to study full-time. Students who pursue this option should expect to take the core courses for their graduate level. The courses are about general nursing concepts like pharmacology, physiology and advanced health assessment. They also study specialized courses relating to their degree specialty. 

MSN Program Formats

There are different formats in which schools offer MSN programs. Some offer traditional on-campus education, while others offer online instruction

  1. On-campus program 

Students in the on-campus program must attend all the courses in person, be on campus for instruction and at any associated labs. Student can interact directly with their lecturers and have a face-to-face discussion. The physical interaction is not present in online education as students do not attend classes at the nursing school. They interact with members of the faculty through emails, chat rooms and VOIP. Students in on-campus education engage in more peer interaction that their counterpart in distance learning programs.  

 2. Online MSN programs 

Online programs are those that offer instructions over the internet without requiring students to visit campus. They can even complete the entire coursework over the web. The most fitting definition of an online program is that which requires three or fewer visits to campus. However, most of the online MSN programs require students to complete clinical hour requirements under the supervision of preceptors at a health care facility within their locality.  

 3. Hybrid MSN Program 

Some nursing schools offer hybrid programs. They include a mix of fully on-campus and fully online courses. Others feature courses with a campus-based and online component. Many online MSN programs will supplement online courses with one of the few campus sessions. Students get a chance to meet with the faculty and their classmates. The students often receive hands-on training relating to their course material. First time BSN students who engage in hybrid programs spend valuable time with others while working in clinical practice sessions. 

Some schools offer both campuses based and online MSN program enrollment. Others provide just online or full-time on campus program. It is up to the students to review the program requirements and their time commitments to choose the best programs for their needs. A full-time MSN program takes fewer semesters, but students in online programs can accelerate their studies by taking larger course load for each semester. 

Nursing is an ever-growing career field, especially   in current times when employers are interested in hiring more educated nurses to put an advanced practice workforce in place. MSN degree holders can take more advanced responsibilities and roles of a physician. 

The new responsibilities make them earn a higher average salary than BSN holders.  For instance, MSN degree holders in the United States earn an average of $62,281 and $195,743, but Bachelor degree holders get a lower salary. They earn between $42,343 and $81,768. 

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