As a registered nurse, there are many ways that you can further your education and improve your reach in the world of health care. Missouri has many prominent health care centers that serve millions of patients each year. By earning an MSN through an RN-to-MSN bridge program, you can take on more responsibility in your nursing career.
Completing an RN-to-MSN bridge program can be quite a commitment, since you must earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in one degree program. Most RN-to-MSN programs last about three years. The first year of the program focuses on your bachelor's degree courses, while the last two years include master's-level courses.
While you are working toward your BSN, you take general education courses to fulfill the requirements for a bachelor's degree. You also take slightly higher-level nursing courses that build on your associate's degree education. These courses may focus on more in-depth nursing concepts like leadership, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and oncology.
Once you get to the master's degree portion of your degree, you choose a specialty. The specialties you can choose from vary between schools, so make sure that the school you choose has your specialty of choice. Options you may be able to choose from include nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse administrator, nurse educator, and nurse researcher.
The core courses you take as an MSN student may include:
- Informatics for Advanced Nursing Roles
- Quality and Safety in Advanced Nursing
- Policy in Advanced Nursing
- System Leadership in Advanced Nursing
- Evidence-Based Practice
Most programs also require high-level coursework in Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment, and Advanced Pathophysiology.
Clinical requirements may be very intense for RN-to-MSN bridge programs, since you have to meet the clinical requirements for a bachelor's degree and an MSN degree. You may only need to get a few hundred clinical hours to get your bachelor's degree. However, depending on your specialty selection, you may have to earn over 700 clinical hours to get your Master's of Science in Nursing Degree. Clinical specialties have more aggressive clinical requirements than administrative or education degree paths.
Taking the extra step to earn an MSN may qualify you for a wide range of scholarship, loan repayment, and grant programs. The Missouri Nurses Foundation Scholarship awards five $500 scholarships every two years. The Marsha's Angels Scholarship Fund provides for those who are obtaining a nursing degree. The average award is $2,000. Through the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, you may be able to get a low-interest or forgivable loan of up to $5,000. Scholarships of $750 each are available through the Missouri Public Health Association.
Since you're already a registered nurse, you may be familiar with the Missouri Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing has extensive requirements for nurses going into advanced practice. On top of keeping your registered nursing license active, you must earn and maintain an advanced practice license. This process requires you to complete testing in your area of study and register as an advanced practice nurse.
Overall, the job outlook in Missouri is very positive. All job growth rates reflect anticipated growth percentages between 2012 and 2022. O*Net anticipates a 21 percent increase in jobs for nurse practitioners and a 16 percent increase in job openings for nurse anesthetists. A 32 percent jump in job openings is expected for nurse instructors (O*Net, 2012). In this time period, O*Net expects a 14 percent job opening increase for medical services managers.
Salaries in this area vary greatly between nursing specialties. Nurse Instructors have the lowest average salary; O*Net reports an average annual salary of $63,700. O*Netclaims that nurse anesthetists earn an average of $145,600 per year.
Though earning an MSN can take you several years of education, going through the hard work required for this degree can have a great impact on our career and your life. Not only can you increase your earning potential and explore more career options, you may be able to contribute to great change within the nursing field and influence coming generations of nurses.
If you are ready to commit to furthering your education, request information from schools on our site to find the best program for you and your career goals!