Regardless of how long you've worked as a registered nurse, you probably have a good idea of how many different roles make up the nursing profession. Beyond registered nurses, who work with patients under the oversight of doctors, there are those who provide advanced care to patients, who conduct research in the nursing field, who lead other nurses and health care professionals, and who teach nurses at the undergraduate level.
If you're interested in any of these career paths, we recommend contacting RN-to-MSN bridge programs in Oklahoma to determine the best next step in your career.
Though there are many ways to use an MSN degree, you must choose one degree path before you start your classes. It's important to look at your skills and interests to choose a specialty that best suits your career goals. If you are a good teacher, nurse education may be the right field for you. Clinical specialties, such as nurse midwife and nurse practitioner, let you spend most of your time in patient care. In administrative tracks, you learn the skills you need to manage and direct health care facilities.
As part of your transition program, you have to take undergraduate courses to finish up your BSN. Courses that may be required in Oklahoma include Health Assessment, Nursing Leadership, and Community Health Nursing. Often, these courses can be completed online.
When you have your BSN, you can start your Master's-level nursing courses. The classes you take in your first semester of school are designed to make you think critically about health care policy, the role of nurses in health care, and ethics in this field. Required courses may include Nursing Informatics, Ethics and Health Care Policy, and Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing.
Later courses in your curriculum may focus both on theoretical understanding and practical clinical skills. In total, you can plan on completing over 600 hours of clinical work by the time you graduate. Use this time to build further connections in the nursing world and begin finding possible post-graduation employment opportunities.
There are many different financial aid options for nursing students in Oklahoma. Student loans may be an option, but you may want to consider other opportunities first in order to minimize your student debt. The Nursing Student Assistance Program provides students with loans, which can then be repaid through nursing service in Oklahoma. Local health care employers may also have scholarships for employees or community members. At Mercy Oklahoma, nurses can apply for scholarships and graduate incentives to further their education. The Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners supports aspiring nurse practitioners through scholarships and available preceptors.
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing has different licensing requirements for advanced practice nurses than for registered nurses. To start, you must keep your RN license valid at all times. However, you must also keep a valid advanced practice license, which gives you the freedom to carry out an expanded list of duties. This process can be lengthy, as you must pass numerous exams before receiving your license.
Though anticipated job growth rates in Oklahoma are slightly lower than reported national averages, they are still higher than average when compared to other careers. The slowest growing nursing job in this state is nurse anesthesia. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net predicts a 19 percent increase in job openings. Nurse instructors may see a 29 percent increase in job openings, the highest amongst all nursing careers in Oklahoma (O*Net, 2012).
In this field, salaries depend on your work setting, level of experience, and amount of seniority. O*Net reports that nurse instructors in this state earn an average of $52,500 per year. Their estimates show that nurse anesthetists earn an average of $165,800 per year (O*Net, 2013).
As a graduate-level nurse, your skills and education can have a major influence on your career fulfillment, your workplace, and the nursing field in general. You may improve health care in your community and act as an example to nurses around you.
To continue moving forward in your nursing career, compare the Bridge Programs near you to make the best decision.