With the growing nursing shortage in Montana, you may be wondering if you can use your RN degree to explore new career options in this field. Whether you want to become a nurse educator and help Montana colleges address the nursing shortage, provide care as an advanced nursing specialist, or work in an administrative capacity, you may be able to attend an RN-to-MSN bridge program in Montana to reach your career goals.
The curricula for RN-to-MSN bridge programs in Montana differ between schools. Generally speaking, however, you start with bachelor's level courses and finish the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. Once you've met these requirements, you can choose your master's degree path and take graduate-level nursing courses.
The bachelor's degree courses you take may include general education courses and high-level nursing courses. Nursing courses you may take include Nursing Leadership, OB/GYN Nursing, and Evidence-Based Nursing Practice. These courses build on the experience you've gained as an RN to make you a leader in your place of employment.
Some of the core courses you may take as an RN-to-MSN student include:
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Evidence-Based Practice in Advanced Nursing
- Statistics in Graduate Nursing
These courses prepare you for classes in your specialty. Available specialties may include administration, leadership, education, anesthetist, midwife, or clinical specialist. While working as a nurse, you may wish to learn about these different career paths and choose a school that offers your chosen specialty.
In Montana, you need to meet stringent clinical requirements to earn an MSN. If you go into a clinical specialty like midwifery or anesthesia, you may need to complete more clinical hours than those who go into an administrative specialty. Clinical hour requirements vary from 500 to 1,000 hours. You may be able to complete your clinical requirements at your current place of employment.
Montana schools have many different scholarships, grant programs, and loan repayment programs for graduate nursing students. Beginning your scholarship search early may help you minimize the amount of student loans you take on. Some scholarships are school-specific; for example, Montana State University students may apply for the Margy Burgess Peterson Scholarship, the Cathy Klingaman Scholarship, and the Alice Dahl Scholarship. Through the Montana Nurses Association, you can apply for a range of scholarships each year. The Montana Health Care Association offers quite a few scholarships to health care students, including the Donald E. Pizzini Memorial Nurse Scholarship.
The Montana Board of Nursing has fairly strict regulations in place for advanced practice nurses. You will need to provide proof of your education and pass advanced testing in your field of study. It's important to keep your advanced practice license up-to-date. However, you must also make sure that you keep your RN license valid if you wish to continue practicing in Montana.
Job growth rates in Montana are fairly positive, creating an environment in which you may be able to thrive in your new career. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net believes that job openings for nursing instructors may increase by 19 percent. Similarly, they anticipate an 18 percent increase in job openings for health services managers (O*Net, 2012). The fastest-growing career in this state is nurse practitioner. During this time period, O*Net expects to see a 31 percent jump in jobs.
In general, salaries in Montana are slightly lower than national averages. This may be because of Montana's rural layout or the lower cost of living. The lowest average salary in this state is $55,300 per year for nursing instructors (O*Net, 2013). Nurse Anesthetists have the highest reported average salary; in 2013, they earned an average of $138,600 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Enhancing your nursing education and career with an RN-to-MSN career can have a great effect on your life, both in the increase in income potential and the greater amount of responsibility you can take on with a Master's of Science in Nursing degree. With your advanced degree, you can play a major role in Montana's nursing industry. Use the school listings on our site to find the best RN to MSN program for you and request information to find out more!