With projections of a health care crisis on the horizon, New Jersey leaders have welcomed initiatives to train and recruit nurses for the state’s nursing colleges, hospitals, and other medical facilities. A multi-million dollar campaign was launched in 2009 to address nursing faculty shortages, and similar efforts are underway to educate nursing leaders who can meet the state’s future needs.
One idea that shows promise for bringing new nurses into the fold is the direct entry master’s program. These programs allow college graduates from non-nursing disciplines to make the transition to a nursing career. If you already hold a degree in a field other than nursing, you may be able to apply some of your previous credits to a Master’s in Nursing program through an accelerated MSN program in NJ.
Take some time to look through the direct entry Masters in Nursing programs listed on our site and request more information from the programs you are interested in.
Although more than 114,000 registered nurses worked in New Jersey in 2012, the state had a staggering nursing shortfall of 17 percent. The vacancy rate for nursing faculty in those state reports was 10.5 percent, and long-term projections suggested New Jersey would have a shortage of about 40,000 nurses by the year 2020.
Many outside forces are likely to influence these trends, including the addition of a generation of aging baby-boomers and newly insured patients into the health care system. The average age of the state’s nursing faculty was 55 in 2013, leading some to wonder whether there will be enough teachers to train new RNs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that more than 2400 nursing applicants were turned away from New Jersey colleges in 2013, in part because of faculty shortfalls. By earning your Master’s in Nursing, you can help alleviate these shortfalls.
If you are a non-nursing graduate considering a nursing career, these workforce trends suggest there should be job opportunities for years to come. In addition, you may find the pay rates for nursing professions in the Garden State are typically higher than national averages. For a RN in New Jersey in 2013, the average annual salary was $77,360, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nurse midwives earned an average wage of $101,440, and nurse practitioners earned a yearly paycheck of $102,060 in that same report. Nurse educators’ salaries in New Jersey also were typically higher than in the rest of the country, with an annual average wage of $81,600 in 2013, the BLS reported.
If you don’t have an undergraduate nursing degree, you can still pursue your nursing career in New Jersey at nursing schools like Seton Hall University. The school offers a fast track to a new profession for non-nurses through its Master’s Entry – Clinical Nurse Leader Program. The full-time program is held on campus and takes two years to complete. It is New Jersey’s first direct-entry master’s program.
To qualify for admission, you should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college and a minimum grade-point average of 3.2 on prior college courses. You also will need to submit a personal statement about your career objectives and two recommendations. You must earn at least a “C” in prerequisite classes in human anatomy, microbiology, chemistry, developmental psychology, statistics, ethics and economics.
Once enrolled, your 80-credit curriculum will include topics such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, clinical role development, and ethical issues in nursing. The program runs through two summer academic sessions. During the final semester, you will be immersed in clinical experiences at hospitals and community agencies to prepare you for the job world. When you graduate, you should be prepared to take the national RN licensing examination as well as the clinical nurse leader certification exam.
The College of Nursing at Seton Hall offers more than $75,000 in nursing scholarships or grants, with varying requirements depending on the award. These scholarships range from $500 to $3000. The school also details a variety of awards with special conditions.
You might also consider investigating federal programs such as the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. If you work at certain critical shortage facilities after graduation, you may be able to have some of your student loans forgiven. By joining the program, eligible RNs can have up to 60 percent of unpaid nursing loans forgiven in the first two years of service and another 25 percent in a third year. For more details about how the program works, visit the Health Resources and Services Administration website.