Not everyone finds their ideal career right out of high school. In fact, the Huffington Post notes that 80 percent of people in their twenties would like to change career paths. If you want to become a nurse after already earning a Bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, you may be interested in direct entry MSN programs in Arkansas.
You can find all of the Direct Entry MSN programs available in Arkansas by reviewing the schools on our site. We also recommend comparing information from multiple schools to make a well informed choice about which program may be right for you.
You can often complete your MSN very quickly, so you don't have to spend another four years in school to begin working as a nurse. Direct entry MSN programs tend to be accelerated, so you attend full-time classes year-round to complete your degree. As a result, you may be able to graduate in as little as 15 months.
Since you join the degree program with a cohort of peers and take all your classes at the same time as them, you have to meet intense prerequisite requirements to be accepted. During your undergraduate years, you must have completed many science courses, including Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, and Chemistry.
As you begin your MSN courses, you may spend lots of time in BSN-level courses like Pathophysiology, Introduction to Nursing Fundamentals, Pharmacology, and Health Policy and Economics. Plan on completing several hundred clinical hours during this time, since you must meet the requirements of a BSN in just a few months! After that, you can begin your Master's-level courses. You can choose which career you're interested in—popular options include nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator, nurse educator, and nurse manager. Courses you may be required to take include Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing, Advanced Health Assessment, Healthcare Informatics, Evaluation in Nursing Education, and Primary Care of Adults.
Clinical work is a core component of Master's degree courses as well. Whether you shadow advanced practice nurses, nurse executives, or nurse instructors, you may spend up to half of your class hours in the field.
Arkansas is trying desperately to meet the demand for advanced practice nurses across the state, leading to the development of many scholarships and grants. The Arkansas Association of Nurse Anesthetists awards scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. You can also apply for a scholarship through the Arkansas Nurses Association, which awards the Dorothea Fund Scholarship and the Mary Gray Scholarship. The Arkansas State Board of Nursing funds the Faith A. Fields Nursing Scholarship and has a loan repayment option for nurse educators.
Before you can begin your advanced nursing career, you need a valid license from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. If you go into direct care, you may need a nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia, or nurse practitioner license. If you become a nurse educator or nurse administrator, you may simply need to maintain an RN license.
Arkansas generally offers a promising job outlook for post-graduate nursing professions. Job growth rates between 2012 and 2022 range from 18 percent for nurse managers to 45% for nursing instructors.
Salaries in this area tend to be slightly lower than the national average, due to the lower cost of living in the Midwest. Nursing instructors tend to earn lower salaries than other advanced nursing professionals, with a statewide average salary of $54,200 per year (O*Net, 2013). On the high end of the scale, nurse practitioners claim a median income of $89,500 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Though completing an accelerated MSN program can be hard work, it is worth it when you consider the benefits to you and to the nursing profession as a whole. Dedicating yourself to a career in health care can help you increase your earning potential and enjoy a more positive job outlook. Your new leadership skills can also help you explore a range of career options in Arkansas.
As the nursing field pushes for stronger education standards and a broader scope of practice for nurses, your MSN can help you lead the nursing field through upcoming changes. Learning about nursing research, advanced practice, and nursing leadership may give you the skills you need to promote positive change in health care.