What is a Direct-entry MSN?
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.
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.
Find Direct Entry MSN Programs in Your State:
About the program
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.
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).