If you have worked as a nurse for a while, you may have experienced a bit of tunnel vision. The 12-hour shifts start to blur together. You may begin to miss the forest for the trees as you forget to consider long-term goals within nursing. Long-term goals are important and the RN to MSN program presents an exciting career path.
Registered nurses (RN) have an incredible potential to advance within the field. Not every RN has a relevant degree, so they need to have options. The RN to MSN bridge program offers a practical solution.
In this blog, we will explore:
- What is an RN to MSN program?
- What are the benefits of pursuing an RN to MSN career path?
- What topics are covered in the RN to MSN program?
- How long does it take to finish the RN to MSN program?
- How much does an RN to MSN program cost?
- What are the requirements for RN to MSN programs?
- How do I choose the best RN to MSN program?
What is an RN to MSN program?
An RN to MSN bridge program helps if you don’t have your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). It allows you to go directly into a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program or finish your MSN and BSN simultaneously.
This program is expedited, so you don’t have to obtain your BSN and MSN programs at different times. If you want to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), and do so at an accelerated pace, the RN to MSN bridge program could help you!
What are the benefits of pursuing an RN to MSN career path?
You may enjoy your nursing career, but also feel a bit stagnant and wonder about the future. You may also feel that furthering your education could help you in your chosen field. If this is you, you may be a candidate to start on the RN to MSN career path.
There are many reasons for a nurse to decide on pursuing the RN to MSN bridge program. Below we have listed some of the benefits.
Potential for nursing leadership and independent work
Obtaining an MSN degree puts nurses in an excellent position to advance into a leadership position. Specifically, the MSN degree opens the door for research, teaching, administration, or legal consultation.
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have an MSN have an opportunity to provide primary care services independently under the supervision of a physician or within a healthcare team.
Growing demand for APRNs
The nursing field is a booming profession, and that’s especially true for APRNs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2019-2029 the demand for APRNs will increase by 26%–a much higher rate than other occupations.
This need is created by a growing older population and a shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas.
Ability to specialize
To specialize in an area of nursing, you must have an MSN. For instance, if you want to become a nurse practitioner, you need an MSN. Or, if you’re going to become a nurse educator, you will need at least an MSN.
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What topics are covered in the RN to MSN program?
The curriculum for this program typically blends nursing theory courses, clinical simulations, and clinical rotations in a healthcare setting. RN to MSN programs generally cover the following topics:
- Pathophysiology (study of abnormal changes caused by the disease process)
- Pharmacology (the study of medications)
- Health assessment
- Health care research
- Nursing skills
- Capstone project
Your curriculum will help guide you in taking care of a diverse population of patients.
How long does it take to finish the RN to MSN program?
If you are interested in this bridge program, it’s critical to know how long it takes to finish. Specialties that do not require direct patient care are shorter than those that do. Administration and education programs are typically available online and are often less than two years.
Programs that have a clinical component take about 2-3 years which includes the clinical hours.
How much does an RN to MSN program cost?
Tuition costs depend on the college and location, but generally, the range is between $20,000 and $60,000 for an RN to MSN degree. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for classes.
If you are worried about paying for the program, you can apply for federal assistance by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will allow the government to decide what scholarships, grants, or loans you are potentially eligible for.
What are the requirements for RN to MSN programs?
Every program has different requirements for a degree. Most direct entry MSN programs will require:
- A bachelor’s degree in nursing or an unrelated field
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Completion of prerequisite courses, generally within the last five years
- Letters of recommendation/professional references
- RN licensure
- Phone interview with the school
- Statement of career goals
- Completion of a background check upon acceptance
How do I choose the best RN to MSN program?
It can feel overwhelming to try and choose the best RN to MSN program. There are in-person, online, part-time, and full-time programs.
Every person has different needs, but there are some critical questions you should ask yourself before choosing a program.
- How much time are you able to commit to a program each day? Will you work during the program, or are you not going to work at all?
- Online versus in-classroom
- Do you prefer in-person instruction, or can you work independently online? Some people find that they have more discipline with in-person classes due to the accountability.
- Are you willing to take out student loans to pay for the program?
- Determine how much you are willing to pay and balance that with how much your desired program costs.
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