Nursing is a growing field in the United States, but there are still many unfilled positions, as evidenced by the country's nursing shortage. In California, this nursing shortage is particularly pronounced. As a working registered nurse, you may already be doing a lot to change the nursing field in your area. However, you can do more! By attending an RN-to-MSN bridge program in California, you can earn your BSN and MSN at the same time. An MSN is a versatile graduate degree that may allow you to work in many different nursing specialties, so contact the California nursing schools that offer these programs to find out which is the right degree for you.
One of the first decisions you have to make as a potential MSN student is what you want to study. While you complete some basic coursework in all nursing specialties, you study one specialty extensively while earning your degree. You may choose to study nursing education and teach ADN/BSN students. If you would prefer to keep working with patients, you may study nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia, or nurse practitioner. Nurse administration is another option for management-minded students.
RN-to-MSN programs in California require the completion of approximately 60 credits, although some clinical paths do have higher credit requirements. If you attend school full-time, you may be able to graduate in three years.
The curriculum for your program may vary based on which nursing specialty you choose. Nursing education students may take courses like Conditions of Learning and Instruction, Curriculum Development in Nursing, and Theoretical Concepts in Nursing Education. In a clinical path, courses you may take include Family Theory and Clinical Experience, Theories and Roles of Advanced Practice Nursing, and Advanced Physical Assessment in Nursing. Courses that may be part of a nursing administration program include Administrative Theory and Clinical Work, and Human Resources Management in Health Care. Each of these paths has clinical requirements that you must meet as well.
In a large state like California, you can apply for a huge variety of nursing scholarships and grants. The California Board of Registered Nursing offers numerous financial aid opportunities, including the Nursing Scholarship Program. Those who want to go into nursing administration or nursing leadership may find relevant scholarship opportunities through the Association of California Nurse Leaders. A good resource for nursing students in all specialties is the California Nursing Students' Association.
California is home to the California Board of Registered Nursing, a licensing board that oversees regulations for registered nurses and other nursing professionals. Those who want to work as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or clinical nurse specialists must obtain a special license from the Board of Registered Nursing.
The job outlook in California varies, depending on which specialty you decide to work in and which part of the state you work in. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net anticipates a 20 percent increase in jobs for nurse anesthetists. The fastest-growing field in nursing is nurse instruction, for whom O*Net anticipates a 36 percent increase in jobs.
Across the board, nursing salaries in California are higher than national averages. Those who go into nursing education earn an average salary of $85,100 per year (O*Net, 2013). Nurse anesthetists report an average annual salary of $167,200 per year (O*Net, 2013).
It's clear an MSN may be the key to expanding your career options, serving the health care community of California, and using your nursing skills to their full potential. Check out RN-to-MSN programs near you to get started!