North Carolina is known for the rural communities that make up much of its layout. As a result, nursing professionals play a very prominent role in North Carolina health care. Especially in areas where doctors are in short supply, nurses may provide patients with the education and basic care they need. The need for advanced nursing professionals is growing in this state, as nurse-midwife staffed birth centers pop up around the state. If you're interested in becoming an advanced practice nurse, it may be time to look into RN-to-MSN programs in North Carolina.
You may need to meet a set of prerequisite requirements before you can be accepted to a North Carolina RN-to-MSN program. Since you do not yet have a BSN, you will likely need a history of strong grades and academic achievement at the Associate's degree level. You may also need to have at least one year of nursing experience to qualify for an MSN program. Certain schools in North Carolina do require you to take the GRE.
Prior to starting courses in your chosen Master's degree specialty, you must get to the same educational level as a nurse with a bachelor's degree. That usually involves taking a short set of nursing courses like Improving Nursing Practice, Conceptual Bases of Professional Nursing Practice, and Community Health Nursing.
The courses you take as an MSN student are divided into several categories: professional courses, research courses, and clinical courses. Professional nursing courses include Health Care Policy, Advanced Practice Nursing Role, and Population Health & Epidemiology. Courses in the clinical path include Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice, Advanced Health Assessment, Diagnostic Reasoning in Primary Care, and Pharmacotherapeutics in Advanced Nursing Care. In the research part of your degree, you may take classes like Interpreting Research Reports and Translation of Nursing Evidence. The courses you take in each area may vary, depending on which nursing path you choose.
North Carolina is home to many large scholarship and grant funds for advanced nursing students. As you begin your financial aid search, you can look to nursing employers, government organizations, and nursing associations. The North Carolina Legion awards the Colon Furr Scholarship, which is worth $600 for selected nursing students. The Foundation for the Carolinas has many different scholarships, including the North Carolina League for Nursing Academic Scholarship. This scholarship is only available to graduate students. If you join the North Carolina Nurses Association, you may be able to apply for the scholarships awarded by the NC Foundation for Nursing.
Although nursing school is probably the biggest hurdle to clear in your new career, you're still not able to begin practicing as an advanced practice nurse until you get your license from the North Carolina Board of Nursing. Nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists must register with the board to be able to carry out an expanded set of duties. As a nurse practitioner, you must also have a relationship with a supervising physician.
Across all advanced nursing professions, job growth rates in North Carolina tend to exceed the national average, reflecting the state's dire need for highly-trained nursing personnel. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net hopes to see a 23 percent increase in nurse anesthetist jobs. The best job outlook goes to nurse practitioners, who may see a 37 percent increase in jobs in this time frame (O*Net, 2012).
Nursing salaries vary quite a bit based on career choice, experience level, and seniority. Nursing instructors in North Carolina earn an average salary of $59,300 per year (O*Net, 2013). Nurse anesthetists tend to have significantly higher salaries; O*Net reports a median income of $147,800 per year.
No matter which nursing career you decide to pursue, you may find that an MSN opens many professional doors for you. In addition to working in your chosen specialty, you may become a leader in your local nursing community.