If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline but want to be a nurse, you don’t have to start from scratch. A direct-entry Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree was designed for people like you.
These programs are growing in number. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there were only 12 nationwide in 1990. By 2010 there were 65 and six more are under development.
The direct entry MSN program can be completed in as little as 24 months, depending on the institution. This change has truly changed the way that people view their degrees. Having the ability to change fields without have to obtain an entirely new bachelor’s degree has opened doors for students that have not been available up until recently.
- Simmons College - [email protected]' online RN to MSN program has a rigorous curriculum that helps prepare students to pass the FNP board certification exam on their first attempt and to become recognized as clinical experts, scholars, and leaders in their field.
- The Online RN to MSN program at the University of Texas - Arlington is an accelerated program allows you to earn your MSN in less time—and save more money—than if you complete the RN to BSN and MSN programs separately.
What is a Direct Entry MSN?
Direct-entry MSN is becoming a popular choice especially for people who want to go into advanced practice specialties such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist. Graduates also enter careers in education, research, management, and consulting.
The direct-entry MSN is an accelerated program that takes about three years to complete. Admission requirements are different at each institution, but usually a GPA of at least 3.0 in previous undergraduate studies is desired. Letters of reference and interviews are also common requirements. The nature of your previous coursework and your professional record may carry significant weight in the admission process.
The time commitment and curriculum depends on which track you take. Although some classes may be online, hybrid, or offered on evenings or weekends, clinical rotations are typically very time consuming and completed during daytime working hours—particularly for advanced practice specialties.
The Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree
Throughout a lifetime, it is not uncommon for people to change their goals and even their overall career desires. After completing a bachelor’s program, some individuals may decide that furthering their degree is the best option for getting the very most out of their education. Whenever these desires are drawn other fields, however, there are not many options for change for bachelor’s degree holders.
Over the years, educational facilities have accommodated those interested in the field of nursing. Since the medical field is one that continues to grow over the years, there are constantly positions that need to be filled. In response to the demand, universities provide direct entry MSN programs that allow bachelor’s degree holders to obtain a Master’s degree in Nursing, regardless of their current degree.
Choosing a Direct Entry MSN Program
Choosing a degree program is the first step to getting into the field of nursing. Different universities have different requirements for those interested in the direct entry MSN programs. Some schools require that students satisfy some of the prerequisite requirements of a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing prior to getting into the master’s program.
These requirements are sometimes integrated into the current program so that a master’s degree is completed within a quick time-frame. The direct entry program is designed to fast-track learners through the master’s degree process without having to engage in a BSN program.
Upon choosing a university, students can choose the MSN track from either the accelerated bachelor’s degree program or master’s degree program. It is important that students know that these programs are carefully designed for each path, so changing a path after its started can be tedious.
Since the direct entry MSN program is specifically for those with non-nursing degrees, some degree programs may require that students work full-time as a registered nurse while working on their MSN degree part-time. Since the requirements for institutions vary so greatly, it is vital that prospects research each program thoroughly before choosing one that seems fitting.
Online Direct Entry MSN Programs
Although nursing is a very hands-on field, there are online programs available. Higher level degree programs appreciate a student’s need for flex-learning. It is realistic that most individuals within this program need to be able to set their own schedules and work at their own pace.
Online Direct Entry MSN popular among adult learners
Both online and in-person learning programs provide the right amount of structure while still giving students the freedom they need to continue their careers. Traditional learning is still the most popular option for those seeking this type of degree, but online options are more realistic for busy working professionals. These online programs include the same curriculum as traditional courses, with the added bonus of flexibility and schedule management.
Online learning environment
While in an online program, students are expected to participate in classroom discussions, group projects, and complex exams. These courses are designed to give learners a sense of independence while learning, which will allow students to grow intellectually. Clinical training is still a requirement even in online courses. Clinical training can be arranged through local hospitals or medical facilities in designated areas.
Focus on nursing procedures
While in the direct entry MSN program, students will find that the curriculum is highly focused around the understanding and application of nursing procedures. The most important aspect of nursing is patient care, which is highly targeted in this program. However, at a master’s degree level, nurses will also qualify for positions at higher tiers, which will increase the responsibility of each professional. Careers in management positions or supervisory positions are common at this degree level, which intrigues those wanting to have higher paying careers.
Featured Online MSN Programs Accepting Applicants
The Online MSN Program
The MSN program also includes subjects regarding employee management as well as information technology. The importance of learning information technology goes alongside the general patient care requirements for this field. As technology continues to change the face of the medical field, nurses need to be up to date with the recent trends and programs.
These courses help mold a well-rounded nurse that is knowledgeable of the different techniques and applications of treatments as well as the business management properties that is needed for supervisory jobs and research. Throughout the program, students will be required to take part in vigorous clinical training, which requires students to work in hospitals or private practices while under the observation of instructors. This provides needed experience in the field that will contribute to a more effective nursing professional.
Career Options for MSN Graduates
Completion of a direct entry MSN program will deliver a plethora of opportunity to graduates. Nurses at the master’s level can work in a variety of fields, from advanced practice to research. Since bachelor’s level students are graduating a records amounts each year, it is important the professional nurses consider a path that will set them apart from the crowd.
The growth expectations are large for this field, meaning the potential for jobs will only continue to grow. There is no wiser choice for someone seeking a degree that will pay them back throughout their entire career. Financially, nursing is a field that is reliable and highly respectable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurses at a master’s level can earn anywhere from $66,640 to over $100,000 per year. Wages of this level are way worth the effort of getting into a higher degree program.
Master’s level nurses are needed in higher positions within medical facilities, providing supervision to lower level nurses and staff. Nurses are responsible for more than just patient care in most medical facilities. A nurse may be responsible for organization of treatment, office management, and employee conduct. Direct entry MSN programs provide exactly what a professional needs to excel in all of these layers of responsibility.
Featured Online MSN Programs Accepting Applicants
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About the Direct Entry MSN Program
Your first semesters may be spent taking bachelor’s level classes related to nursing such as anatomy and physiology, life sciences, nutrition, or pharmacology. Some programs require that you have these classes under your belt prior to admission. Typical MSN core classes include leadership, ethics, health information technology, and nursing theory. Electives are related to your specialty.
After you Graduate
When you graduate you will be eligible to take your RN licensing exam. You can learn more about this exam at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing . The board of nursing in your state has specific exam requirements and information. According to the AACN, practically all direct-entry MSN graduates pass the exam the first time.
Employers value MSN graduates because of their professionalism, maturity, and commitment. Despite a relative lack of RN clinical experience, graduates tend to be motivated to succeed and thus learn their jobs quickly. After a few years of experience in their specialty, those with an MSN are ideal candidates for a terminal nursing degree such as a Ph.D. or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).