You may be fresh out of college with your Bachelor's degree in nursing, or perhaps you've been using your Bachelor's degree for several years in a local clinic or hospital. Regardless of what experience you bring to the table, you can deepen your knowledge base and serve the health care community even more with a Master's in Nursing degree. Nursing schools in Arkansas are responding to the call to encourage RNs to further their nursing education by offering a good selection of Master of Science in Nursing programs across the state. Take a look at the offerings, and request information from those schools that have the MSN programs you are interested in.
The admissions requirements for a Master's in Nursing can be fairly rigorous. Arkansas nursing schools may look at how well you did in your Bachelor's degree program, and many schools now require some amount of clinical work experience.
Choosing the right Master's-level program is key to starting a career you'll enjoy. Available programs in Arkansas include nurse education, clinical nursing, adult health nursing, mental health nursing, and nursing administration.
Most MSN programs require two years of full-time study. If you plan on working while you're in school, you can attend part-time classes year-round and still graduate in about three years. Curriculum requirements range from 35 to 45 credits. You may take courses in nursing research, evidence-based care for patients of varying ages, and nursing leadership in different settings. As you move throughout the program, your classes will likely cover advanced aspects of your specialty.
Much of what you learn may be based upon the skills gained at the undergraduate level, so you may want to prepare by going over old research papers, practicing skills you haven't used in a while, and becoming familiar with new nursing terms.
The scholarship opportunities found in Arkansas can help make your education more affordable. The Arkansas Nurses Foundation awards the Dorothea Fund Scholarship and the Mary Gray Scholarship, both of which are awarded to graduate students. The New Careers in Nursing Scholarship, which is awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students, is worth $10,000.
Take the time to contact the Arkansas schools that offer the degree program you want, in order to get more detailed information about classes, requirements and costs. Once you have found the program that works best for you, you can begin shaping your nursing career future!
The state of Arkansas offers many career opportunities for nurses who have their master's degree. Two of these career opportunities are a nurse educator and an informatics nurse specialist.
As a nurse educator, you have the opportunity to teach nursing students seeking a nursing degree, or in a hospital setting, ensuring that nurses are getting the proper training and updated information. Those employed as a nurse educator can make approximately $55,300 per year, based upon the 2014 median annual salary in Arkansas (O*net, 2015). In addition, this career field is predicted to have tremendous growth in Arkansas between 2012 and 2022, with an increase of 45 percent (O*net, 2015).
Working as an informatics nurse specialist you will get the opportunity to help develop and troubleshoot digital healthcare documentation systems. This a newer nursing career that more and more nurses are seeking a MSN degree for. Based on the annual median salary of informatics nurse specialists in 2014, nurses in this specialty can make approximately $68,000 (O*net, 2015). This career field is also expected to grow by about 15 percent between 2012 and 2022 (O*net, 2015).
Earning a Master's degree can put you at the forefront of many exciting changes in the nursing field, many of which are spearheaded by the Arkansas Campaign for Action. Over the coming years, you may be part of greater collaboration between nurses and doctors, a growing body of nursing research, and expanded duties for advanced practice nurses. Working in nursing research, leadership, education, or direct care can help you contribute to the culture of nursing excellence in Arkansas. The Arkansas Health Care Association notes that Arkansas is the only state that consistently scores above average in 15 different areas of health care quality research.
For more information on earning your MSN and working in these career fields, contact the schools listed on this page.