Working as a nurse may provide you with job security, an increased earning potential, and the knowledge that what you're doing is contributing to higher health care standards in New Mexico. If you want to do even more with your nursing career, you may wish to consider earning an MSN. With RN-to-MSN bridge programs in New Mexico, you don't need to complete a bachelor's degree program before beginning your MSN coursework. Instead, you can spend three years earning both degrees and come out with an increased scope of practice and an intensive knowledge of one nursing specialty.
Over the course of three years as an RN-to-MSN student, you'll complete about 90 credits of coursework. You may begin with undergraduate courses that build on the knowledge you've developed as a registered nurse. Classes in this category may include Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice, Nursing Practice and Leadership, and Statistics in Health Care.
In the theoretical part of your advanced nursing training, you will likely learn about the advanced issues that face nurses throughout New Mexico. Theory courses you may have to take include Promoting Health Behavior, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Research. The information gained from these courses is necessary in practical classes like Nursing Field Placement and Advanced Patient Care Skills.
High-level courses are dependent on which specialty you select. Clinical specialties often require courses like Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Human Physiology, and Clinical Skills for Advanced Nursing. In nursing education, you may take classes like Curriculum Development in Nursing Education, Assessment in Nursing Education, and Instructional Techniques for Nurses. Courses required in administrative specialties may include HR and Financial Management in Health Care, Nursing Fiscal Management, and Health Policy in Advanced Nursing.
Each nursing specialty has its own clinical and practicum requirements. If you go into a clinical specialty, you may spend more time in clinical hours than those who go into administrative specialties.
Nursing scholarships come in many forms. There are nationwide scholarship programs, statewide, and even company-specific grants. In New Mexico, there are quite a few scholarship resources for master's-level nursing students. The New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council offers financial support to students who want to become nurse practitioners. They award the Candelario Garcia Scholarship and the Myrna Wood Founder's Scholarship. On a governmental level, the New Mexico Higher Education Department has the Nursing Loan for Service program. Upon completing your service agreement in an approved area, the loan is forgiven. The New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence offers financial incentives to nurses who agree to stay in New Mexico and education loan repayment assistance.
As you work your way toward your MSN, make sure to keep your registered nurse license valid. It's required for all advanced nursing licensure through the New Mexico Board of Nursing. If you plan on becoming a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist, you will need to get an advanced practice license before you can start your career at that level.
The job outlook in New Mexico is fairly positive, which is excellent news after working so hard to earn an MSN! Job openings for nurse anesthetists are expected to increase by 11 percent between 2012 and 2022, while nurse managers may see an 18 percent increase in jobs in this same time frame (O*Net, 2012). Jobs for nurse practitioners are expected to increase at the fastest rate, at a rate of 26 percent between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2012).
You may see an increase in your earning potential after you get a Master's degree in nursing. Nurse instructors in New Mexico earn an average of $62,500 per year, while nurse anesthetists have an impressive average salary of $118,100 per year (O*Net, 2013). Average salaries for other nursing professions fall in between these extremes.
No matter which type of advanced nursing career you're interested in, it's clear that taking your education to the next level can have many positive effects. With more education, you can contribute to excellence in the nursing field and ensure that New Mexico residents get the care they need.