Both the campus and online MSN degree program (Master’s of Science Nursing) offers additional skills to nursing professionals who would like to develop their knowledge in a specific area, or who have an interest in taking up a leadership position. There are often several entry requirements that need to be met before admittance onto this higher level degree program is given, though the most important would be to hold a bachelor’s honor in nursing, or a similar subject such as health sciences.
The majority of MSN degree programs also dictate that applicants should be a Registered Nurse prior to gaining admission, the position of a RN requires the completion of a national licensure exam. There are a select few schools who overlook the need for a RN license, but these programs are likely to have other entry requirements. Students can be asked to submit GRE test scores, and present letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
MSN Education Training
Students who enroll can choose to study courses relating to administration, education, informatics, adult health, family care, pediatrics, or midwifery. Those individuals who do not have a baccalaureate can take a pre-masters course in subjects such as nutrition, biology, or anatomy to increase their chance of being accepted.
Regardless of a chosen concentration area, most students enrolled for this degree would be expected to begin their studies with a number of core nursing courses. These non-elective modules would cover foundation topics such as nursing theory, current healthcare issues, research, advanced practice, and clinical healthcare. There would also be a need to commit to a number of credit hours that involve actual clinical practice.
An MSN masters degree can take up to three years to complete. Alongside the non-elective subjects, students can focus their efforts on developing knowledge relating to their own field of interest. Elective courses may include ethical and legal issues in healthcare, community based care, clinical pharmacology, human pathophysiology, symptom management, epidemiology, disease control, patient stress management, drug therapy, and physical assessment. The scheduling of classes is usually flexible in nature so that students can continue to work at the same time as studying.
Upon completion of an MSN degree, graduates would be expected to be a leader and expert in a nursing related field. Being able to provide an advanced level of care to patients, and also act as a guide to other nurses would be possible. Skills can be developed relating to critical thinking, problem solving, assessment, communication methodology, intervention, teaching, and leadership.
Estimated Income and Projected Job Outlook
The career that can be pursued upon graduation would primarily depend upon what specialization was followed during the term of the degree. The US Department of Labor has released data that shows that in 2010, the median income of nurse practitioners stood at $81,000, nurse anesthetists earned $135,000, nurse midwifes $82,000, and nursing administrators $73,000. The figures do vary dependent upon whether employed in a public or private healthcare organization.
The median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in 2010 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10% earned less than $44,190 and the top 10% earned more than $95,130. In addition: Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners averaged $71,490. Earnings were as follows:
- General medical and surgical hospitals; private – $66,650
- Offices of physicians – $62,880
- General medical and surgical hospitals; local – $62,690
- Home health care services – $60,690
- Nursing care facilities – $58,180
The employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26% from 2010 to 2020. The highest number of opportunities will be available to those professionals who have specialist knowledge such as CRNA specializations in the MSN degree.